When awareness blossoms, petals of change unfold.

Submitted into Contest #45 in response to: Write a story about change.... view prompt




He looked weak, exhausted and shattered. Perhaps, his silence protected the pain his beautiful little eyes were holding for so long. He must be dealing with trials that were tiring for him to bear at the age of ten. He must have lost hope for the good to come as everyone in this world does when one is left alone to fight. I could not find the least bit of smile on his face like the pure and brightest smiles of children that can never be bought. His time-worn hands were the survival lines of his too short life.

The boy was stitching clothes besides the master tailor who kept a sharp eye at him and would often beat him if something went wrong. I wanted to ask the little child if he went to school or not, though I knew for sure he did not. I asked myself “why” I would be asking him anything….

I looked deep into his eyes which were dull, gloomy and helpless. Mayhap, he had stopped crying by then, for sometimes your eyes do not let the tears to pass, or perhaps, he had thought of it as a sign of weakness. It was not only a face I was looking upon. It was a million stories that I could read, each of which got sad and remorseful to the extent that I felt myself breaking and my heart drowning. I wanted to ask him what had happened, why he had not contacted any welfare organization that might have helped. But how could I? Talking to him, expressing any solidarity or listening to his story would certainly mean to disown the heedless society I live in. they would say, “Oh! Forget it! They make up stories of their own. Who knows if his mother is actually blind? Or... who knows if his father is actually dying?”

I kept thinking back when suddenly a young girl entered and begged for money. Before I could respond I heard an officer bellowing at her, “Oh! Just shut up and get lost! Who are you to beg for the sake of God? You people do not even believe him. You liars! You spend all nights gambling and you call yourselves needy.” The woman went away without saying a word but I could see her eyes becoming watery. Yes they were watery as I fear calling them “tears” in a society that does not care! Even if she was lying, this was not the right way. Undoubtedly, there are those who lie; however, how can we cease to remember the seeds of injustice, inequity, corruption, repression, partisanship and ignorance we have sown as a society!

I was once again stuck to see the one sitting in front of me. I wanted to ask the little man what he would get at the end of the day. I wondered if he had ever dreamt of becoming an engineer, pilot or doctor like my little brother does. I wondered if he would ever be laughing with his friends on silly things. I wondered if somebody would bring him a new pair of sandals and he would try them so excitingly. I wondered so much and all answers to my unending enquiries were inscribed on his face in the most legible writing ever if only someone had the eyes to see. I was about to cry when he came near me, his eyes staring down at the plain floor as life seemed to him, and said, “Madam, your clothes are ready.” I tried to smile, to thank him but I could not. I felt I was part of the injustice occurring to him and many more. I couldn’t….

On the way back home, I could notice nothing but those little children everywhere giving up their own dreams. I saw one wiping the mirrors and windscreens of cars… and another selling roses… and another serving tea at the hotels… and another repairing the vehicles… and another collecting rubbish. Their gloomy faces, hopeless eyes and blackened hands got stuck in my head. It felt hard to breathe where many die every day for a living.

I started going to the shop often for some work or the other as I wanted to see him. I would stare at him each day but it did not happen even for once that he talked, smiled, or looked at anyone around. It killed me inside and I asked myself would I be able to ever count the broken pieces of his heart. 

One morning, I went to the shop very early. There was nobody in the shop except for him. He had a newspaper in his hand. I was surprised to learn that he could read for he seemed not only looking at it but reading it deeply. It killed me a bit more… and I asked myself who was more restless? Either me fighting myself or he who felt defeated.

 I wanted to cry, to speak, and to shout but nobody would hear. I spent the nights and days thinking but I was unable to find “someone” hearing to the unheard stories.

It was then that I understood why he had stopped expecting any good from this world. He found “nobody” while searching for “somebody” who could change the way he lived; rather he was forced to die every day. It was that moment that I began to recognize the way a change is brought only by changing yourself and your mindset towards the situation.

I was a bit relieved the next night. I slept. It was a dark room. In front of me stood a lady whom I recognized as Mother Teresa. Her face glowed with righteousness.

Crying hard I asked, " Why is this world so cruel... so much discrimination, so many differences?"

She replied smoothly,

“Do not worry about why problems exist in the world. Just respond to people’s needs.”

" Am I able to?"

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

I continued crying and said,"I don't understand why this brutal distinction exists between people. There are those who live luxuriously and those who starve to death!

She replied with a sigh,

“God does not create poverty; we do, because we do not share.”

"This requires a great change. I alone cannot do anything. This pain is killing me."

She gently held my hand in hers and smiled, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

I woke up comforted for now I knew the direction to move in.

The journey of my grief to happiness taught me that there was no way out other than being at the forefront to bring a positive change in the lives of others, otherwise the life we are given goes wasted as Rumi says,

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

I had learnt that stepping out of my comfort zone, choosing the odd and learning by exposure is the way I can transform myself to grow and change. Changes in the world can only be brought if you are flexible enough to be changed for the better.

The next day I went to the principal of the school I had studied at and briefed her with everything. At first, she didn’t look agreed. Anyway, I forced and convinced her with all those weighty thoughts I had been having for a month. We met the child and it was the first time that I talked to him. However, he didn’t say much. I held his little hands in mine and smiled. He didn’t smile back. I saw a painful fear in his eyes. We met his parents and ensured that he would study for free.

His mother wanted him to work for there was no one else. His father got very ill two years ago after a heart attack. This was worrying. What else would an illiterate, poverty stricken woman do? Finally, we reached an argument that he would work in the evenings and at weekends. Eventually the mother looked so grateful. Things were getting better but I could not find his smile that I was desperately longing for. He had started looking at me but with doubt and uncertainty. He was supposed to go to school after two days. I went to school, the morning he had to appear in grade three. As I stepped in the corridor where his classroom was, I heard someone saying, “Oh Ali, How are you? I am so happy seeing you at school again. Has your father get well and returned to his job? I missed you so much in the past two years.”

He paused for a second and said, “I am sad we are not able to share the same grade since you missed two years but I am so glad you are back. We can still remain friends.” 

I went nearer to him and gently placed my hand on his shoulder who might have lost his confidence to speak. Tears ran down my face when I heard him saying, “No, my father is still sick but I can study hard and I might do something for him.”

He turned his face back and smiled at me. 

June 11, 2020 16:08

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05:32 Sep 01, 2020

Such a powerful story!


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Renata Srečić
16:32 Jun 19, 2020

Very inspiring story. If more people helped just one person in need, the world would be a much better place.


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