Noor Ahmed Chowdhry's Stories

Noor Ahmed Chowdhry (C70)
Editor's Note: Noor Chowdhry was the undisputed life of the class. He was the jokester, clown, and the comedian who kept all of us laughing. He had two other memorable traits. First, in conversations, he often referred to himself as 'Aap ka Bhai'. Second, he seemed to be obssessed with finding love and a girl of his dreams. He would often plead: 'Aap apne bhai kay liye koi larkee dhoondain'. His stories below reflect the playfulness, the longing, his pursuits, and the mischief-making that he was known for. Characters in his are real but most of the names have been changed to protect the cast from any notoriety. (H J Ahmed)

Her Saree was the Tabahee (Ruination)

Noor Chowdhry's facial likeness cropped from a 1967 picture and used above with his permission

Rebecca (real person but fictitious name) was one of the girls in our 1966-70 batch of students. I got along well with all the girls. She was not in my C70 class but we talked often. She was aware of my quest for a nice rishta for myself.

It was probably September, 1970 when Rebecca called me in the canteen. When I reached her table, I saw Rebecca sitting with her friend Maheen (non-NED). Rebecca invited me for a drink and I sat and chatted with both the ladies. A couple of days later, Rebecca asked me to visit Maheen's home as her family wanted to see me in person. A date was arranged for visiting the family.

On the day of the visit, Rebecca and I hailed a rickshaw and asked the rickshaw driver to go to Tariq Road where Maheen's house was. When we reached near Metropole Hotel, we noticed a car was following us. When the car came closer, we recognized the two senior NED students in the car. Rebecca and I asked our driver to stop and we got out and waved to the car. The car stopped and one of the senior boys asked me smilingly: "Where are you both going?" I told them frankly that we were visiting a common friend. They said they would also come along with us. We hesitantly agreed.

We left the rickshaw, boarded the car and we started moving towards Tariq Road. Both of the senior students were smiling at their success in catching us 'red-handed'. We arrived at Maheen's home and knocked on the door. Maheen herself came and opened the door. She was looking stunningly beautiful with makeup and a new dress. The senior students were very pleased at their good luck.

We were asked to sit in the drawing room. While Rebecca left the room to chat with the ladies in the back, Maheen's two brothers entered and asked for our introductions. One of the senior students was Nooruddin (real name). As I was very thin and slim they took the other Noor to be the 'candidate' and focused their full attention and hospitality on Nooruddin, saying: "You are not eating cake and biscuit" etc. Suddenly, Rebecca returned to the room, saw the situation and corrected the brothers by pointing to me and saying: "Yeh Noor haen jin kee maen nay baat kee thee". Immediately the smiles and the focus of attention pivoted towards me and they started saying: "Aap nay kutch khaya hee naheen?". I replied I had already taken everything without being asked. The smiles on the senior students had now turned into dismay. Needless to say that both senior students begged their leave and fled. Rebecca and I stayed on.

Then Maheen's entire family joined us and we had discussions about our families. I told them I am Punjabi and my mother did not speak speak any Urdu. They said they had no objections and that they rather liked Punjabis. They asked me to visit us along with my parents.

When I talked to my mother she said that we were not in a position financially and that my younger sister should be married first. I said that Maheen's family would consider me a deceitful person. My mother finally said: "OK I would go only to save your face". We all planned to visit Maheen's family but my father got sick and my brother-in-law (elder sister's husband) accompanied us.

We reached Maheen's house where they greeted us with open heart. Maheen was wearing a saree and looked stunning. Her family belonged to Nagpur in India and they were very sophisticated about clothes. She was wearing the saree in such a delicate way that my heart fluttered. Her mid-riff was half-exposed and showed off her nazuk waist. My mother's reaction was very different. She instantly started cursing me in Punjabi. Maheen's mother asked me what she was saying. I told them that my mother was delighted that they were so sophisticated. It was late afternoon, and they served tea and many dishes.

Finally we left and returned home. My mother was very angry. The drop-scene was that my mother refused. I informed Maheen's family about my mother's refusal. They were taken aback and could not fathom the reason for the refusal. I did not elaborate that wearing saree with a naked belly was the reason of my mother's refusal. I still wonder what would have come about if ...

In 2016, I talked to Rebecca about the first visit to Maheen's family. Interestingly, she could not recall the events.

Note: We chose the name 'Rebecca' for a reason. It seems to be Noor's favorite name. Around mid-2016, when we established contact with him he was using 'Rebecca' as an alias for his email address. Some of us asked him multiple times where this name came from but no explanation came forth. Let us hope there is another story behind the name which Noor will write about in time.

Aaram Say (Go Easy)

Noor Ahmed Chowdhry (C70)

We had finished NED, had received our degrees, but my sharartaen (mischiefs) were not quite done.

This story involves a fellow 1966-70 NED alumnus. I will call him Mirza though it is not the name he is usually called. He was a very good student, studied hard, but somehow he left others feeling that he looked out for himself first. At times we studied together for our exams.

Mirza excelled in his class in the final year. After our graduation, he received a scholarship for studies abroad. This was his first time away from home and he was feeling uneasy. When I went to see him off at the airport, he seemed overwhelmed with the prospects of separation from home and family. In addition, this would be his first experience of air travel and he was scared of flying. I stayed with him for a long time trying to make him feel better. Well before the boarding announcement, I left for a few minutes, and then returned to tell him that I had personally spoken to the pilot and had asked him to 'Aaram say jahaaz chalaye ga' ('fly the plane easily/smoothly') and the pilot had agreed. This seemed to comfort Mirza a lot. He left, still looking uneasy but better than before.

We exchanged a couple of letters while he was overseas. I talked Hussain, one of our classmates and a mutual friend of ours, into playing a joke on Mirza. We concocted a love letter to Mirza, purportedly from a young lady. Hussain, one of the top students, was a very sober, quiet and very shareef individual but had a sense of humor. The letter expressed feelings for Mirza which, according to the letter, the lady was not able to express in person due to her shyness. Hussain copied the draft version of the letter with a very beautiful handwriting. The letter was doused with some perfume and mailed to Mirza.

I do not know if the letter reached him. We did hear later that Mirza chose not to continue at that university and had moved on. He has been living overseas for several decades, and I am glad that he is doing well. After a few decades, I recently got reconnected with Hussain who clearly remembered writing the letter. Looking back, I am surprised that Hussain got involved in such an act, but again, my company was always a catalyst for mischiefs.

Cherished Friends

Noor Ahmed Chowdhry (C70)

This part of my write-ups is not about any mischief or about any misadventure. The characters and the names are all real and what I write here is a reflection of my feelings about our NED class fellows.

Our classmates were marvelous. We kept on teasing each other all day but we were all laughing. I will specially praise Mirza Zaheer Baig with whom I studied combined in his home in Model Colony near Airport. I still remember his father and brothers who were all totally out of the world. Jamila Salahuddin was very special, she was always laughing and never took anything serious. Sibte Mujtaba Kazmi, Ghous Munir, Zaheer Qadri and Muqtadir - I could not find this stock anywhere. I lived in Lahore, Islamabad, Baghdad and had many friends but no one was so broadminded as our classmates were. May Allah bless them all with all the happiness of the world. Friends are blessing of Allah and He showered upon us so abundantly.

In Lahore, if I crack a joke on any young man he would have thrashed me but the patience of my classmates was at the highest level. They tolerated me and helped me survive.

Red and Blue Sweaters

Noor Ahmed Chowdhry (C70)

This story is around 50 years old, and took place in 1966 during our first year at NED.

She immediately attracted attention of boys because of her looks and fun-loving nature. She was naughty and full of life. Her name was Perveen.

With the inclusion of Perveen we had 6 female students in 1966 batch. Because she resembled me in nature, both of us being mischievous, we became friends.

One day we were attending a laboratory class. It was winter of 1966. Whenever the demonstrator turned towards us focused on the girls especially Perveen who was on that day was wearing a red sweater and hence prominently attracted eyes. The demonstrator was the gazer of highest order. Suddenly I asked Perveen to exchange her sweater with mine which was blue. She nodded and we exchanged the sweaters. We wore the exchanged sweaters while the demonstrator was working on blackboard.

When demonstrator turned around to have a good look at Perveen instead his eyes caught me red-handed. This time he was taken aback. His face was reddened in anger and he asked me to stand up.

Demonstrator: "Why are you wearing this sweater?"

Noor: "Sir, this is mine".

Demonstrator: "This is not yours"

Noor: "How do you know, Sir?"

Demonstratotr: "Get out of my class"

I obeyed but still was not clear why he did not ask Perveen to get out. We both had done the same offense. Perhaps Perveen had been the feast of his eyes.

(Note: Unfortunately Perveen left NED within a year due to her marriage to a senior NEDian).