Young Leader's Conference – An experience of a lifetime! - Day 1.
By Farkhanda Qaiser
Dates: 1st-6th July 2011
Venue: Sheraton Hotel, Karachi
10:00 AM - Departure from Lahore.
11:45 AM - Arrival in Karachi.
1:00 PM - Arrival at Sheraton Hotel
2:00 PM - Lunch
4:00 PM - Official inauguration of YLC
5:30 PM - Informal session with corporate champions
6:15 PM - Asar Namaz
6:30 PM - Rules of the game – align everyone to the YLC way. (By Kambha)
7:30 PM - Maghrib Namaz
8:30 PM - Bank Alfalah – the caring dinner.
9:00 PM - Theatre Performance.
10:00 PM - Isha Namaz
10:30 PM - Quiz regarding stay in Sheraton.
11:30 PM - Putting I first (by Kambha)
1:00 AM – Treasure hunt (by Umair Jaliawala) team names n slogans.
“Emaan, Ittehad, Tanzeem…Inqilaab” This was the slogan of the 10th YLC 2011, being held at Sheraton Hotel, Karachi. It made little sense to me until we learned to live by these words in the 6 days of our stay at YLC. We were given seemingly impossible tasks like 20 people standing on 4 chairs, having dinner with our hands and feet tied and eyes blindfolded but we emerged successful every time because we had faith in ourselves; we stood united and last but not the least we were disciplined. Through this famous quotation of Quaid-e-Azam, we hoped to bring revolution in Pakistan. Not a bloody revolution but a revolution in the mindset of people which is indeed the biggest and the most long-lasting revolution there could ever be.
On day 1, this concept was explained to us by the YLC champs, Maalik Khaskhley, Bilal Nazar Sibtain and Namreen Akhter Syed – the trio who had made this entire conference possible. Their conviction about bringing back life to these words really moved me. The motivation had been awakened but the courage was still missing which came gradually. All the 363 participants from 34 cities of Pakistan and a few foreigners were given these green YLC shirts having the YLC slogan. We had to wear these shirts 24/7 excluding the nap time which had been reduced to an average 4-5 hours. At first, I had been disgruntled to hear this. I mean, seriously, what about all those lavish dresses that I had carried from Lahore? When would I wear them? A lot of girls shared my feelings. But slowly, we understood the logic behind this too. Wherever we went in Sheraton Hotel, we were identified by the YLC shirts. People staying in Sheraton were raising eyebrows and were curious to know this vibrant group of youngsters and what they were upto! Moreover wearing the same shirts, carrying the same YLC bags and the YLC dairies, we felt united and part of the same family. So ‘ek teer se do shikaar,’ as we were spreading awareness of our purpose and also experiencing a feeling of camaraderie thanks to a common uniform.
After that we were introduced to the sponsors of the event as well as of the students. As the registration fee had been Rs. 39,900 therefore majority of the participants had been sponsored by brand names and companies like Bank Alfalah, Djuice, NBP, EBM, Dawn in Education, Mobilink etc. I had been sponsored by Qavi Engineering for which I’m particularly grateful to Mr. Arshad dad, the CEO for making it possible for me to attend such an amazing conference…! We also held an informal session with these corporate champions in which we asked them probing questions regarding their success and how we could achieve it too. Moreover it was very encouraging to see that these organizations were fulfilling their social responsibility by helping out the youth and enabling them to tap their leadership potential.
To make this ‘leadership event’ more potent, the participants had been divided into teams consisting of 20 members each and headed by a Youth Facilitator (YF). Each team was identified by a scarf of a certain color. My team color was Rust Sussi and my YF was this cute little guy, Asad Chohan. He may have been short but he talked big and we were all really impressed by his leadership skills. Later on, we devised our own team name which was ‘Inqalaabi Pataakha.’
Having been teamed up and introduced to the major players at YLC, now was the right time for the entry of ‘the great Kambha!’ He is the founding director of ‘School of Leadership’ and is also the director of Navitus*. He has a way with words and can mesmerize any audience. He believes in PPRR to initiate any task.
P = Practical
P = Possible
R = Realistic
R = Relevant
For those of you who are still confused about his name, let me elaborate by saying that Kambha is short for Kamran Bhai as his name is Kamran Rizvi. He has also authored a few books, one of which he was kind enough to gift us autographed and for free! The name of the book is ‘Reinvent Yourself’ and I haven’t yet started reading it but judging from all the sessions that we had with him, I can bet that it’ll be an ‘eye opening’ read for sure…!
“Use you Ara to build relationships,” we were told. You see, a lot of acronyms are used in the world of motivational speakers and trainers. Ara is one such acronym which stands for Acknowledge, respect and appreciation. I saw the YLC team practicing this Ara and was also inspired to follow suit. I learnt to acknowledge people for the little favors they may have done for me then to respect them for who they are and lastly to appreciate anyone and everyone for their good deeds. These deeds could also include asking an interesting question after a session, making the right comment or mini speech or even citing verses of poetry (one brother from Peshawar always had an appropriate Urdu sher to recite after every session)
Another equation that we learnt was H + R = Love. The combination of honesty and respect always leads to love. If you respect someone and are honest about it then he will start loving you as a person. Mind you, this is not the “Indian Movie romance” that we are talking about. It’s the love of each other as human beings or rather spiritual beings having a human experience.
However our learning experience had not yet ended. We were told the rules for stay in Sheraton in a quiz form. At first, I thought this an absurd exercise but the wisdom was revealed when most of the participants seemed to be making the wrong choices regarding keeping valuables in the YLC bag or the suitcase back in the hotel room; having the bed sheets and towels changed everyday or on alternate days and more such questions and answers.
And then finally came the time for me to don the sari that I’d especially taken along for this occasion – the formal dinner when the girls wore saris, shalwar kameez etc. and the boys wore their suits. This dinner had been sponsored by Bank Alfalah – the Caring Bank. After that, a group of theatre artists put up a great show in which they highlighted the major problems of Pakistan in a satirical yet comical way. Issues like loadshedding, insensitivity of public towards national tribulations, immense viewership of Indian soaps as well as bad direction and production of Punjabi movies and what not…! It was definitely a great laugh and a food for thought. This theatre group is known by the name of “Zahrsss” and also has its fan page on facebook. I’d definitely recommend everyone to like this page because this was one very talented group of people. Amazing acting, great direction and innovative production, they had it all…! Hats off Zahrsss!
However this long day seemed to be having no end at all…! We were all immensely tired as most of us were up since sunrise to catch our early morning flights. And now it was past midnight. Yet one session still remained. Groans all around, sleepyheads and painful body parts…but all this was changed by a magician and wise wizard. Yes, none other than Umair Jaliawala…! The crowd roared with enthusiasm to welcome this great man. I simply could not understand why as I had not even heard of him before. But all the confusion sorted itself out as pearls of wisdom and motivation came forth from the mouth of UJ. He is a trainer by passion, an entrepreneur by profession and a social worker by persistence*. He gave us all a wake up call by a treasure hunt which included finding crazy things like X men, a knife, red rose, atm receipt, discount card etc. And also making videos of a cat fight, a human tower of 3 steps, YLC written by human bodies and a picture of each team flying in air. After having done all these activities, we were miles far from sleep but at 2:00 AM, the time had finally come for us to collapse on our beds after a long, long day. The Day 1 of YLC 2011 had ended. But it had given us hope to look forward to extremely busy yet interactive and fun-filled days ahead.