Reflections on the Amana Foundation’s big launch event at the Anchor Mill on April 19
There was always some small part of my mind that wanted me to get into charity work. But like any other teenager I was drawn to exciting colours and other mundane activities we kids get into these days. But when I first noticed the ambition and the passion my sister had for charity work, it left me feeling awe-struck. She would get up every weekend and sacrifice her time to help other charities and those who are in need of our help. She was truly an inspiration, just like my uncle.
So, of course, we were all anxiously waiting for the 19th, the hours, minutes, and seconds diminishing and leaving us all shaking with excitement. We were so frazzled and confused by all the hectic planning that it went down to actually making sure we had our shoes on right and not wear two pants by mistake. I woke up early on the big day, doing chores that were not needed to be done just to get the hours going. My cousins and my little sister had gone over the list so many times it was incredible. I would be surprised if they didn’t know about all the dust bunnies hidden under the sofa.
When we marched down to the Grand Venue; all wearing our Amana T-shirts with such pride and honour, as we carried our stuff for the stalls, I remember watching drivers slow down just to look out their windows, their faces carrying such curiosity that it made me smile. I was giddy with excitement. We all were. By the time we got there it was pure hectic. I remember seeing just a blur of green and black by the T-shirts, a blur of happy and confused faces, all mixing together and forming an image in my head that was too special and genuine. I had wanted to capture the moment on camera, just to have the image in my head and remember that what we were going to do today would have made my uncle so proud.
Amana Foundation consisted of a mixed variety of people, all who were close families and friends. I loved how we were all from different race and ethnic groups, but yet we all came today, standing as one, as a family, to celebrate the beginning of a revolution. Yes, Amana Foundation is going to be a revolution. The spurting energy and youth from the baby Amana’s (as Muzahid Khan would say) and the determination and passion from the volunteers is what made Amana happen.
When we were all placed behind our stalls I could see on all their faces how nervous they were about what was to come. If I had known what a great and spectacular experience it had turned out to be, I would have shrugged my shoulders at them and say “relax guys, just do what I do; smile and nod. Just smile and nod”. But of course I was a nervous wreck just like them and found myself getting refills of my drink. When the flurry of people walked in, all holding the same curiosity as the drivers, I braced myself for what was to come, and could practically feel all the other volunteers doing the same. It was as if Amana had fused us together as one, our breaths and hearts beating as one, as cheesy as the idea sounded.
Unexpectedly, a lot of people came, which surprised me a lot. It boosted my confidence and I took my own advice of smiling and nodding, though I was sure I was making a few people uncomfortable, much to the amusement of my fellow volunteers. Little children had run to the samosa stands, their eager eyes taking in all the pizzas and chicken my family had provided with, their blissful youth so ecstatic over the cakes and the sweets, and the lucky dip and face painting. I remember finding myself agitated because I had wanted to join those kids and win something, and eat cake until I felt sick. The whole event looked so spectacular, that it was even making me want to participate in the games.
Alas, I did not have a chance as I was busy with my own stall selling my mother’s handmade headbands. Though, I did get to read my poem out and also listen to inspiring and emotive speeches made by my niece and nephew, Syra and Mohsin. To think that someone as young as them would have held so much love and respect for a person is just so incredible. They truly are their grandfather’s children. I had sat there at one point, taking everything in and feeling so exhilarated by everyone that it left me feeling emotional. Everyone had come for my uncle; everyone had wanted to become a part of his celebration. Family, friends, colleagues and even stars such as Shobna Gulati all came to celebrate the start of something new. We were not mourning over a loss, but celebrating an amazing life, which we were blessed to have with us. Amana foundation will continue the legacy of my Uncle, the late Mabaswir Khan, and I am proud to say that I am a part of it, and a part of this new family.