Sunday, December 27, 2015

THE BOAT BOY

THE BOAT BOY
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Hoping to catch a big fish, young, innocent Ahmed threw his net into the river with his little hands. While he was sitting and waiting on the bank for the fish to swim into his net, he saw light across the levee coming from the city streets and houses. He had been to the city once. He had a memory in his mind of a school bus, which he had seen when his father had taken him to sell the fish there. Ahmed was still thinking about the city, when a fish gave him a start by jumping up and down in the net.

Running like the wind to his boat, he screamed, “Mother, mother, look, I have caught a big fish!”

His mother with a smiling face said, “Bravo son! You will be a good fisherman like your father.”

At supper time, when Ahmed’s mother served him his meal with fried fish, he inquired, “Mother, have you ever seen a school bus?”

“Um, well, I have seen a bus, but I really haven’t seen a school bus,” replied his mother. “I guess that must be for school children.”

Ahmed continued, “I saw one when I went to the city with father. There were children of my age in it wearing strange clothes. Father told me that it was a school bus. Also, he told me that school is a place where a man they call ʻteacherʻ instructs these boys and girls.”

“Really?” his mother queried.

“Yes, mother.” Ahmed replied.

Ahmed kept talking about the city. While Ahmed was still talking about the city, his mother drifted off to sleep.

The next day, when Ahmed’s father was preparing to take the basket of fish to sell in the city, Ahmed told his father that he wanted to go with him, too. His father told him to seek permission from his mother. At Ahmed’s constant imploring, his mother gave him the permission.

On the way back to the river, Ahmed said to his father, “Father, why don’t we live in the city? I want to go to school on that school bus with those children.”

Darkness was falling and the cattle, making noise with their bells around their necks, were moving toward the town. Ahmed’s father said, “See, son, it is now getting late. We must move fast to get to the river. We will talk about it tonight, when we are in the boat.” Ahmed’s father pondered the question as they headed toward the river.

At night, when the three of them were in the boat having supper, Ahmed’s father said to Ahmed, “Son, I want to answer your question now. God made this world. He made Adam, the first human on the earth, from the dust. Eve, the first woman, was Adam’s wife. All of us humans living in the world are offspring of Adam and Eve. If we all were rich, living in cities, studying in schools, no one would be doing the work, and the world would become unbalanced. So, God made some people rich and others poor to keep the balance of the world. If we are living here in a boat on the bank of the Indus River in Akil, it doesn’t mean we are inferior or that we are not worthy humans. No, we all are worthwhile humans. However, God has chosen us to be poor and play our role among the poor in His world which he runs solo. One cannot have all the joys of the world. We here living and working on the bank of the Indus are living our life happily. Our source of livelihood is fish, and we are thankful to God for this.”

Ahmed thought it was the will of God that the world is the way it is. He also believed that it is the will of God that people are the way they are; so he never thought about the city again. He lived happily and enjoyed fishing and playing with other boys on the river bank.


---------------------------------------------------
Respond to the story:

Why did Ahmed want to live in the city?
Was Ahmed’s desire to get educated wrong?
Who do you think was right, Ahmed or his father?
One has more chances to earn money in the city, so do you think the decision that Ahmed’s father made was right?
How convincing do you think Ahmed’s father’s explanation was? Was it just an excuse to silence the child to get his basic rights?
What is the moral of this story?
If you were Ahmed, what would you have done differently? Would you have just played on the bank or you would have raised your voice against the decision?
You must have seen many children deprived of education, and engaged in child-labor. Have you ever tried to help them get education?
Post a Comment