As usual I keep whining about how much work load I have, how many projects are pending, how I don't have any clothes to wear, etc.
But what I know now that I don't have, something that I lost that brought tears to my eyes the lost opportunity, one that will never come back and one that I didn't realize I had till I had lost it.
On a university trip to one of the hill stations, we saw many children selling many things, one of them was a mute boy selling flower tiaras, our bus stopped only briefly due to traffic and the girls in an attempt to look cute bought those flower tiaras, and I was one of them.
When I asked the boy how much it cost, he pointed 2 first and then made a zero with his blistered hands. I took one of the tiaras and started looking for money, I had no change and suddenly I started to panic thinking what if the buses started to move and I couldn't pay the little boy, I looked at him and shouted out to my friends to lend me 20 rupees, for some reason the only money in my wallet was notes of 1000 and 500, and even with all that money I felt poor, felt like I had little.
Somehow the cash was collected and the boy- all this time his pain stricken face was even more serious, even more cautious, anticipating something that could go wrong. I won't lie- for a split second I even thought it might be funny if the bus moved without having paid the boy, but just for a split second, after that moment and till now I'm ashamed such a thought even crossed my over-privileged mind.
When I handed the money to the boy, his look of pain changed to one of relief. A look that was priceless, and with that one look the boy thought me a lesson I hope I remember for the rest of my life, I hope so because it's usually the good lessons life teaches us that we tend to forget. He said with those deep, worldly eyes of his, as if with gratitude – you've given me something. Those unsaid words may seem inconsequential to some, but for a petty person like myself to have given something to someone, one who is always at a receiving end from ALLAH SWT, family and life... to give someone something was an achievement for me. Although the money was not mine, the decision to use it was!
When I came back and even today, when much time has passed, the only thing I remember well from that trip is that boy, the only thought that still brings tears to my eyes, not because I pitied him. The funny thing about privileged people like us is- we think we can for some reason have pity for others. I don't pity the boy, I respect him. He was half my age and had double the experience of the world than I do. He was small and tired but big and brave in the eyes of anyone who saw him. He was mute yet he could tell tales with just one look. I respect him because he was trying to earn an honest living, and what brings tears to my eyes is again a selfish reason. A lost opportunity as I said before. The opportunity that I could have bought more tiaras from that boy at the very least. If buying one of them gave him something, buying 10 more wouldn't break my bank- but it may have given him an hour of rest, or maybe one decent meal. At the end I was the one who lost, lost the opportunity to do something good that I could have easily managed but didn't have the courage to.
Later on when I went and spend much more of food and small things, it's funny how I didn't even think twice, but to buy a flower tiara- I thought many times- maybe for whole two minutes- the longest and one of the most costly two minutes of my life. They cost me an opportunity that I had, that I could have availed easily but was too miserly to.
There is no bringing back lost time, but an opportunity like this may repeat itself and I hope that time I'm brave enough to avail it, and I hope everyone reading too can open their hearts and spare a little change for the opportunity to see that smile on that little girl or boy's face, that priceless rare ornament that shows itself just for second, but is well worth it!
University Of Management And Technology Umt Lahore
Punjab University PU Lahore
Punjab University College Of Information Technology Lahore
Allama Iqbal Open University Aiou Islamabad