Friday, July 8, 2016

Fate or Choice?

Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Our decisions shape our future: sound decisions can secure a bright tomorrow; unsound ones can lead to harsh consequences. Mukaram was 2 years younger than his elder brother, Karam. At a very young age, Mukaram learned that in life, if one could not help oneself, nobody else would. At the end of the day, when one has to face the consequences of one’s decisions, one may be led to believe that such things have been fated to happen. However, it is ultimately our decisions that can lead us to prosperity or to hard times. He also realized that prosperity is only possible through good education.

Both Karam and Mukaram were given the responsibility of running a shop by their elder brother, Muhataram. Karam was happy with the responsibility, but Mukaram thought it was not the right time for him to work. It was time for him to study and learn. However, he was not able to say anything to his brother Muhataram. At the age of 12, he had a good understanding of how to persuade their customers and how to make deals with them. He thought a lot about his future, although he never shared his thoughts with anyone. “I don’t want to be a shopkeeper when I grow up. I need to do something for my education. I will have to make my own way. If I keep going on the path that I am given, I will end up being an uneducated shopkeeper,” he thought.

Mukaram lived in a village called Akil in Sindh, a province of Pakistan. He went to a local government school that did not provide proper education. Due to the abortive check and balance system of the education department in the province, many teachers did not perform their duties well. In Sindh, still there are thousands of lazy teachers who continue to earn their salaries every month, while completely neglecting their responsibilities to teach their students. There are many ghost employees, whom the students have probably never met in person.

It was not easy for Mukaram to leave the shop completely. He went to the school every morning, but he did not really learn anything. After school, he ran the shop until nightfall. He waited up until his 8th grade, but nothing changed. “I will have to take some steps myself now. Otherwise, I’m going to waste more years,” he said to himself, while he washed the potatoes for the shop.

One afternoon, when he came back from school, he said to Muhataram, “I want to enroll in a coaching center in Larkana City. Going to school here is nothing but a waste of time. I don’t want to run the shop for the rest of my life. I want to attain a higher education and become a lecturer.”

Muhataram was aghast when he heard this. He went silent for a moment and then said, “I don’t know much about coaching centers.”

“I have already chosen an institute. It won’t cost much. You just have to go there with me once. It will only take an hour or two.”

Mukaram was admitted to the institute. He went to school in the morning for one or two hours, then he returned to the shop and sat there until around 2 in the afternoon. Afterwards, he went to the coaching center, which was a good distance away. He had to cover some of the distance on foot. He would reach the city from their village riding vans that were very old. He found it troublesome to sit on the vans and to walk on foot, especially in summer, but Mukaram put up with all the hardships and continued attending his classes.

His brothers could not stop him from doing what he wanted; they could not distract him away from his dream of completing his studies. Once a man decides to do something for himself, persistence makes it easier to achieve his goals. After some months, Mukaram joined the computer center too. At that point, he had become confident enough to take further steps on his own. He spent very little time working in the shop late in the evening, much less than he used to. After a year, Mukaram also started teaching the children in his neighbourhood, so he did not have any time left to spend in the shop. Karam used to fight with Mukaram because he did not dedicate more time to the shop. If Karam had done like Mukaram, Muhataram could have somehow managed the shop himself. Sometimes because of financial problems parents want their children to earn money. While good education can be difficult for parents to afford for their children, they should still make extra efforts to educate them so they won’t have to live their entire lives in poverty. It is the duty of every parent to ensure good health and education for their children.

After ten years, the three brothers went their separate ways. All the three were married and lived separately. Muhataram became a government teacher; Mukaram became a writer and a lecturer; and Karam remained a shopkeeper. Among all the students from Mukaram’s class at the village school, he was the only one who made it into a university. Almost all the children from Mukaram’s school had to earn and work. Mukaram was not an exception, but he changed his future with his good decisions. His classmates said it was his fate, but to him, that wasn’t the case. He said, “it was my decisions and efforts that determined my fate.”

In life, you may not be given a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. Nevertheless, you still have to exert the effort to change things for yourself. After all, it is your life; you need to take care of it because no one else will. One day everyone has to take his/her own way. With time, you have to carve your own path to reach your aspirations and achieve your dreams. Aim high and never lose the passion and desire to learn and explore new things. This will bring you success and will make you an inspiration to many. 
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