The Other Way Round ‘Me’

Jun 18, 2012 by     Comments Off on The Other Way Round ‘Me’    Posted under: Non-Fiction

Remember me?

I am not an unusual face. I might be the most ignored one too. You find me everywhere. On the roads, streets, signals, bus-stops and entrances to malls. Begging, selling petty items, cleaning your windshield without asking, and then demanding payment for it. I am the most annoying part of your journey; an irritating addition to your long list of daily problems. Once in a while, you drop a coin or two in my outstretched hand, out of pity for my miserable state or just because you want to get rid of me. But sometimes, when you are out of change or if you spot too many of ‘me’ on the other side of the street, you refuse. You show me the palm of your hand. I persist. You start getting frustrated and ask me whether I have any manners or not. After turning me down numerous times, you ask me ‘Nahi ka matlab nahi pata kya?! (Dont you know the meaning of no?)’.

I do. Actually, ‘no’ is the only word whose meaning I am exactly familiar with, and that I learned it as soon as soon as I was born into this world. Whatever I want to do. Wherever I want to go. Whatever I want to be. The answer always was, and will always be no. I never went to a school. No teacher or parent taught me how to respect elders, or how to behave properly. Neither did anyone tell me that I should stop asking the same question once it is answered.

But how does this concern you? It’s not your fault I never went to a school. It is the government’s responsibility to teach poor children Neither is it your fault that I was born poor too. Again, you have nothing to do with it. You have problems of your own. You are living a miserable life. You have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a school to go to. But THAT is not enough. Pakistan is not the right place for you to be. It is full of distraction and misery. Life here has no meaning.

It takes the life out of you, when things in the city go wrong and your loved ones are out. You pick up your phone and start dialling numbers. Your heartbeat only returns with the knowledge of their safety. Ever wondered what do I do in such circumstances? I have no place to go to. I am the witness of the harsh realities of the streets of Pakistan; when innocents are shot, public property is set on fire, and people fight like animals. I am always there, hiding somewhere, terrified, starving with hunger and thirst, and crying under my voice. I see it all with my eyes. And the next day, when things get back to normal, I am sent straight back to ‘work’. I don’t ask for a break to recover from the shock, because I know the answer would again be: ‘No!’

But yeah! None of this concerns you. To you, I am just another nobody. One more good-for-nothing individual looking for easy money. You work hard, You deserve your money. I don’t. All I do is roam around the streets in ‘merriment’ under the punishing sun, ‘shamelessly’ asking you for your money; money you earned the ‘hard way’. People often dub me a ‘professional beggar’. What they miss out on is one basic point. Professions are for adults. They are not meant for little kids like me. I beg, because I have to. Because if I go home without a minimum amount of cash, I get sent to bed without dinner and sometimes when the man at my home is in a bad mood, I get a fair amount of beating too.

This world works on a mechanism, where each life is connected to others. Whatever you have, whatever you get; it is never wholly yours. You will have to share His gifts, with those among His creation who are deprived of the blessings you have. The more you have, the more responsibility you shoulder. It is not God’s fault that people over the world like ‘me’ suffer hopelessly. It is because some of the responsible ones among ‘you’ don’t want to give us our share of His gifts.

The Author

Ali Qamber is an engineering student at PNEC, NUST. He is a certified maila from St. Patricks High and lives, loves and wastes his time in Karachi. Besides writing useless stuff such as above, he also enjoys the finer things in a Karachiite's life, like night-cricket, hangouts at the beach and strikes. Find him on twitter (@qamberger) or facebook (saliqamber).

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