This piece today may be the hardest one I have penned to date. The easiest one being the modus operandi for the Atlas, way back in the beginning when we were still piecing together the dreams and mission for our new publication. I remember sitting in the sun-strewn canteen, light filtering through the musty green shade overhead. The sights and sounds are so familiar yet so far away, but I can hear the shouting, the laughter, and the mirth. The hushed whispers of secrets being shared and the ranting about the unfairness of the system. The content, tone and the wording were wholly different, varying past age, past year group, and past department. The only thing common to the personalities milling around my rickety bench was the fact that everyone had a story to tell, a story in their own voice.
A college experience is enhanced by broadening perspectives, by meeting and embracing different personalities and allowing your stories to merge, and grow together. But in the chaos of getting ahead, in the madness of finding a way ahead academically, where was the time to sit and listen? Where was the comfortable silence of discovering that new piece of your puzzle, and feeling the neuronal circuits which lay dormant and neglected surge with renewed energy?
It was missing.
When Shahzeb and I decided to put together the Atlas team and find those like-minded people who shared our desire for creating that creative outlet, we weren’t aware of the snowball effect it would have. We never expected the avalanche of poetry, prose and visual art that came our way. More than that, the quality of the pieces we pored over, not only enamored us, they fueled the idea that this was a void that desperately needed to be filled.
It isn’t missing anymore.
The Ziauddin University Atlas maps the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the hundreds of students sitting within its walls. It has managed to share so much, in such little time and grow at an exponential rate. I am most proud of how open the submissions are, it is a glimpse into the soul of our colleagues.
I am no longer at the helm of the new team, but I am honored to have served a small role as Chairperson of the Atlas Board. The people who are picking up the reigns have proven themselves to be mirrored to the passion, devotion, and intent that the Atlas mission hopes to support. Our editors, production and marketing teams, I wish you well, and I hope your pens remain ever ready, to document and to chronicle every step of the way. Enjoy it.
Shahzeb Najam, my partner in this endeavor and my fellow dreamer- as co-Founder and co-Editor in Chief for the first team- thank you for dreaming with me, and for that cup of coffee that started all of this. It’s been a true pleasure to have been able to work with you to achieve the Atlas’s success. I relinquish my position as Chairperson over to you, no one can honor it better than you.
And to you dear reader, I remain your advisor – for you and for all the cartographers to come – as we continue to graph uncharted territories of both the heart and mind.
Dr. Wajeeha Mahmood,
M.B.B.S., Batch XVII,