Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Fearless, Featherless Fliers

The Fearless, Featherless Fliers
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

In my ten-year experience of teaching, I have seen many students. From hardworking to lazy, from young to old. But I had never dealt with blind students.

On February 15th, 2015, after taking my two classes as usual, I came to the teachers’ office to take a break. Before long, as I stood up to go home, sir Zahoor, the administrator of the institute said, “Sir, don’t go anywhere. You have a third class from today.”

When I entered the class, it was full, with about twenty students. Three were blind: Salman, Jhangir, and Bilawal. At first I was confused and worried about how I would be able to teach these blind students. However, after a few days, I felt just as comfortable with teaching them as I do with normal students. Their life, hard work, and regularity became not only an inspiration for me but also for the rest of the class.

As the days went by, I learned new things from them. Especially Bilawal, who had become my role model. His spirit, and the ideas he shared, had such an impact on my mind and philosophies. His thoughts, so full of life, hope, and enthusiasm gave me goose bumps.

One day, we had a party in the class. I said to the students, “Today we’re having a party, so we won’t discuss grammar. I want you to tell me more about your lives and your plans. Let me start by asking you two questions. How was your life in the past? And are you satisfied with your lives in the present?”

Every student answered one by one sharing their past happy and sad experiences. Bilawal, the blind student replied, “Sir, in the past I felt inferior. I spent many years feeling this way. But as I have grown up, I have realized it is the will of God. And I am content now with whatever I am and whatever I have. I cannot see the people, but I am grateful that I can hear them, talk to them. I cannot see the landscapes, but I am grateful that I can walk on them.”

Bilawal’s optimism and view of life was inspiring for the whole class. I remember once he told us that he went to the library regularly. I said to him, “How do you manage to get to the library? There is dreadful traffic in Larkana. Aren’t you afraid of being hit by a car?”

“Sir, life and death are in God’s hands. If I didn’t go to the library because of the fear of getting hit, I would not be able to do anything by just sitting at home.”

He had a goal to serve humanity. One Eid, I asked them, “What did you ask Allah for in your prayers?”

Bilawal answered, “Sir, I do not ask for anything from God but to bless me with anything through which I can help others.”

Though Bilawal was a blind student, he had such spirit, plans, and wishes which I hardly ever find in other students. I have always believed that if you have dreams, you can make them come true with your struggles and perseverance.

Respond to the story:

What does Bilawal (the blind student) ask for from God?
Do you consider disabled people inferior to you?
Why was Bilawal not afraid of traffic?
What do you learn from the lives of disabled people?
How do you utilize your life, eyesight, feet, hands, and mind for the betterment of humanity?
Good health is a precious gift of God. Explain.
What is the author’s message to the readers in this story?
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