March, 23, 2017: a day I never wish to forget. Well, the story starts from a couple of days before March 23rd. It started with a call from my aunt. She told me, finally uncle has been able to get his hands on passes for defense day parade for 2017 so I had to come to attend, as I was the one who had been pushing him to get them for past 3-4 years. Imagine my happiness! Yup, my heart jumped and leaped, well, as much as it could, within the confines of my rib cage. Anyway, I knew I just had to be there, somehow. And telling my family wasn’t an option. Mum and dad would never have permitted.
Some days later I got another call from my aunt, telling me that I have to be in Rawalpindi on March 20 because I got the invitation for the full dress rehearsal on March 21, instead of the actual parade on 23rd. The news put me off a little bit because I wanted to experience the real thing. But whatever! I’ll take whatever I get. My “agile” mind started planning. It decided to leave for Rawalpindi on 20th and to come back to Lahore on 22nd, as if nothing had happened.
The morning of 21st, I couldn’t contain myself. Went to the parade venue with my aunt’s sister in law and her kids as they had divided the 10 of us into two groups. One that would attend on 21st and the other on 23rd. I was among the ones down for 21st. I went there, and loved every little bit of the ceremony. But the most amazing thing was the air show by Pakistan Air force and Pakistan Army Aviation. It was simply mind blowing. The way the fighter planes soared high above our heads, the way they “twirled” and “teased”….. It was quite impressive! Impressed, I accepted for an “nth” time that I was still very much in love with the armed forces. And that love was increasing by the minute.
Afterwards, even on reaching home, I could hardly control my excitement. The downside of not being able to witness the actual thing on 23rd couldn’t even mar my excitement. I had to leave for Lahore the very next day. But me, being MAe, I couldn’t get myself to leave so soon. So I decided to stay for a bit-yet again. (Maybe I should stop pre-planning my departure dates from Islamabad-Rawalpindi, as I never, EVER leave the twin cities on the days I actually plan on leaving!)
On 22nd, my cousin decided that she didn’t want to go to the parade and I kept thinking, why did she have to be the one who got the pass to actual thing when I was the one dying to see it?!
But, then an idea hit my devious, devilish mind. Why not, go on her place for the day and be her for one day. After all, it won’t harm any one. So, I did. Initially, afraid that the organizers would refuse to let me in. But once I was inside, I thanked Allah!
So, I was finally there-a big YAAAYYY!!! Again ready to be impressed, and rightly so. The “Sherdils(Lion-hearts)”of Pakistan Air force didn’t disappoint me. The skies of Islamabad witnessed the “Cuban 8” maneuver, the “muscle climbs”, the “Barrel rolls,” the “Shaheen cuts,” the “High Aplha Pass” and “free falls” by different jets that filled the air with different colours. Before that day, I didn’t know these terms either. So it was a fun filled learning experience, alhamdulillah!
The sound of JF Thunder, piercing the skies and making our hearts race in unison as excitement coursed through our veins, it was a “high” I want to experience every single day! With each dangerous maneuver displayed by the crafts, the love of those courageous pilots increased ten folds in my heart. By the time things ended, my heart was beaming and my eyes smiling and I could not wipe off the silly grin that was plastered on my face. I want to treasure each and every second of that memory forever, and EVER! And those who haven’t had the chance to witness it first hand, try for the next time. You would not be disappointed. If it were up to me, I would never want it to end!
My friends have been a disappointment again but I should probably get used to them not making an effort to see me anymore, by now. I need to work on this- really hard! Anyway, I’m finally going home for a bit. I hope mum doesn’t hold a full-fledged inquisition. I hate it when I have something to hide and she unleashes her inquisitive assault, in full throttle!
Anyway, we are about to enter my home town, so I need to run!