Friday, September 30, 2016

10 Motivational Stories

1. 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.

2. The Power of Education

Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon


Shama woke up early in the morning to give grass to the buffaloes. “After the cattle have eaten, they don’t make a mess while I milk them.” Her father, Abdul Shakoor, used to say this to her. Shama was responsible for providing food to the cattle before her father woke up and milked them.

While Shama fed the cattle, her mother, Rashida, made tea. “If I drink tea before I milk the buffaloes, I can milk them better.” He always said this to his wife. Like her daughter, the mother was given the responsibility of making tea early in the morning. The man had limited both women to only chores.

Shama did these chores all day. She had been admitted into school, but her father would not allow her to attend classes. Her friend, Neelam, used to tell her every day what went on there. “Shama, yesterday the principal announced the date of exams. Are you going to take them or not?” asked Neelam.

“I must appear for the exams at least. I must complete my matriculation. I know my father won’t allow me to study further in college. What about the stipend? When will they give it? My father asks me about it every day. You know I have made him greedy with the stipend, that’s why he allowed me to enroll.”

“Yes, poor sister. I know your story. Well, there is no talk of the stipend in the school so far.” While they both were talking, there was a rattle at the door.

“Open the door, sister. The cattle have returned,” said Kalam, her younger brother.

“Give buckets of water to the buffaloes; they are thirsty,” shouted Abdul Shakoor, as he came in from letting the cattle graze.

“Asalam-o-Alaikum, uncle,” Neelam greeted him.

“When will the government give you money? I think they tricked the villagers into getting girls enrolled in the schools,” said Shakoor without replying to Neelam’s greeting.

“No, uncle. They will give the stipend soon.”

“If they don’t give it this month, my girl won’t study anymore.”

“Uncle, she doesn’t study. You just make her do the chores.”

“That’s our wish. You’d better go away before I call your father.”

The month passed, but the girls did not receive the stipend. Shama’s father didn’t allow her to take the exams. She and her mother continued to do the chores and live under orders. On the other side, Neelam continued her education with the support of her parents.

“Father, I feel bad for Shama. She couldn’t appear for the exams,” Neelam said to her father, Fatah.

“Why?”

“Because of her father, you know.”

“Oh, poor Shama! In our Sindh, the government does take measures for girls’ education. However, there is a need for awareness as well. For centuries there have been barriers for girls in our society. Neelam, I couldn’t get a degree, but I know the importance of education. I want you to work hard, study properly, reach a good position one day. And be an example for people like Abdul Shakoor.”

“Yes, father. I will make your and my dreams come true. I want to help Shama, but I know if we intervened, her father would fight us. And he would say as always: “I will decide my daughter’s future for myself. It is none of your business.”

“Yes, Neelam. That’s why I am silent. Otherwise, I would have talked with him.”

Days kept going by, Neelam had finished her intermediate education and had gone to study at a university in Islamabad.  As soon as she completed her education, she was offered a job in the government sector. She returned to her native city Larkana after nine years.

“Neelam has changed everything for her family. They are richer and powerful than before. I wish we had sent our girl to school too,” Rashida said to Abdul Shakoor.

“Fatah had fewer buffaloes than me. Even then he could afford the expenses of his daughter’s education. I would never have guessed the power of education. Now that I have seen Fatah driving his big car, I do understand that knowledge is powerful,” Abdul Shakoor repented.

Neelam came to see her old, childhood friend Shama. Abdul Shakoor was amazed to see Neelam beautifully dressed. He looked at Neelam and Shama. Tears rolled from his eyes, and he fell on the ground. As Shama saw her father falling, she ran to him. “Father, father, are you alright?” she asked.

“Yes, I am. Forgive me, my obedient daughter. I have destroyed your future. In fact, I have destroyed the future of our whole family.”

“No, father. It wasn’t my fate. You have done nothing wrong.” Daughters like Shama, always respect and value their fathers; no matter whether they are right or wrong. The girls of Sindh, the poet Latif’s land, are always simple and humble.

“I can make your future bright, uncle,” said Neelam.

“It is too late,” commented Rashida.

“It is never too late. If you will allow Shama to live with me in Islamabad, after some years she will be like me. “Shama” means a beacon. If you ignite the beacon, it will light up the whole room. And if you extinguish it, it will cause only darkness.”

Shama’s father thought he had already made a big mistake, so this time, he should be open-minded. He thanked Neelam for the offer and happily allowed Shama to go to Islamabad and study from scratch.

3. Self-imposed Limitations
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

It was a working day, professor Qurban was getting ready for college early. Last night, when he was looking at the Student Learning Outcomes / Specific Learning Objectives (SLOs), he thought about a topic related to beauty. “My students will like this topic since they are grown-ups. I remember when I was in my Intermediate, I liked such topics, too,” he whispered to himself. Qurban opened the Internet and searched for some audios about the topic “beauty”.

As Qurban reached his class, he looked lively and passionate as always. “How are you today, dear students?”

“Fit and fine, sir!” replied the students in unison.

“Okay, today we are going to have a listening class. So let me first distribute the handouts of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs).” After distributing the papers, Qurban asked the students to listen to the audio first. When the track ended, he allowed the students to read the MCQs for two minutes. “Now I will play the track for the second time. After that, I will give you 15 minutes to answer the questions. Got it?”

“Yes, sir!” said the class.

After teaching the class, the professor went to the canteen to get some tea. One of the students, Junaid, followed him and met him on the way to the canteen. “Sir, in the track, we were told some tips to be beautiful. The speaker talked about how to get white skin and how to get a beautiful, strong physique. Sir, I have neither a white skin, nor a strong body. Will any girl ever like me?”

“Of course! I’m surprised how you asked this.”

“I asked you this because I’m always feeling inferior.”

“Oh, come on. You’re not inferior to anybody. Look, Junaid. Physical beauty is not everything. Some girls and boys believe that having white skin is a must. That’s why they spend lots of money on beauty parlors, to get attractive looks. However, the most powerful form of beauty is simplicity and humbleness.”

“As long as you have a good heart, good intentions, and a passion for doing anything, you will achieve anything you want. Come with me, let’s drink tea.”

They both talked about the importance of beauty and simplicity while sipping the tea. “Let me tell you about myself. When I was your age, I was surrounded by beautiful and rich girls in my classes. Well, none of them could win my heart. The girl who became the queen of my dreams was a simple, country girl. She had no formal education. She didn’t even know what a semester was. I married that girl and I have a happy family. It was her simplicity, her humbleness which inspired me. Above all else, physical beauty doesn’t last forever.”

“Sir, John Keats said: A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

“Well, he was a romantic poet. The romantic poets live in an imaginary world. Poets rarely accept reality; they just say whatever they want whether it is true or not.”

Qurban understood that Junaid had low self-esteem and that it takes time to get oneself out of it. “Look, when I was your age, I used to feel that way too. I considered myself mediocre. In fact, I was the most efficient student in my English class. I was a tall boy with a charming face. The reason I thought little of myself was that my classmates bullied me all the time because of my height. They used a lot of derogatory terms like “camel jockey” and “potato”.  It was because of all the bullying that I felt inadequate. However, with the passage of time, I developed self-respect and self-confidence. Because of those boys, I had confined myself to the classroom. I never played on the playground. I would sit in the classroom even during the breaks. See, if you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect and value you?”

“You’re right, sir.”

“We will talk about it next time. It is time for me to go and teach another class. Now then, let’s head back to the college.”

The next day, it was Sunday. The college was closed. After jogging early in the morning, Qurban sat on the grass in the lawn and logged into Facebook on his smartphone. Once online, Junaid messaged him. “Good morning, sir,” said Junaid.

“Good morning! You’re up early.”

“Yes. I couldn’t sleep well last night.”

“Why?”

“Sir, I want to get an A+ in English this year. Is it possible?”

“Great! Yes, of course.”

“How? For the last three years, I haven’t ever gotten an A in any subject. I’ve always felt that getting an A in Agha Khan Board is impossible for me. This examination board is so difficult, you know.”

“Junaid, in this world nothing is impossible. We just need to work harder and harder. We might fail two or three times, but that doesn’t mean we’ll always fail. Thomas Edison failed several times when he was working on the bulb, but he eventually invented it. Before Edison, the bulb was something impossible for many people.”

“Sir, I will study seriously from now on.”

“You must! This is how you will get an A+.” After Qurban’s comment, Junaid went offline. For the first time in his life, Junaid had decided to work on his weaknesses: his low confidence, low sociability, low goals, and low self-esteem. He felt lucky to have found someone who could understand him.

It was spring season, and Qurban went into the class on time as always. “Before I end the class, I have to make an announcement. As you know, the winter is over, so in March, the college will celebrate the annual Sports Week. You all should register in different sport competitions within three days,” the professor said to the students, then left.

In the evening, when Qurban came out of the teachers’ hostel, for jogging, he saw Junaid in a kit. “Hello, sir.”

“Oh, Junaid. Looking great!”

“Thanks, sir.”

“I guess you’re going to participate in the Sports Week.”

“That’s right. I have never participated in the past, but I would like to this time.”

“That’s wonderful!”

Junaid had become enthusiastic and joyful. He now understood that every chance, every event was important. His teacher played his role to make Junaid an enthusiastic, energetic student. Many of us impose limits on ourselves without any reason. We all must take some positive steps like Junaid so that we can live a memorable life.



4. The Fearless, Featherless Fliers
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

In my ten-year experience of teaching, I have seen many students. From hard-working 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 20 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.
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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?

5. CHAPTERs OF INJUSTICE
 
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon
Chapter: 1

It was a sunny day. Robbi was so delighted to win the prize in her class for an essay competition. Her teacher told her that he was sure that one day Robbi would become a great woman.

Robbi said to her teacher, “God willing, I will become a doctor.”

The teacher replied, “God wills that. I know because He has given you all the abilities which a successful doctor should have.”

Robbi went home and showed her mother the prize. Robbi’s mother was happy too, but her father didn’t seem very happy about it. Robbi’s father was a drunkard; her mother had to pay for her education. Financially, she made ends meet by doing needlework. Besides going to school, Robbi also helped her mother with household chores and with needlework.

Years passed and Robbi eventually made it to grade nine. One night Robbi’s father said to her mother, “Robbi has now grown up.”

Her mother said to him, “No, she is still young, but why do you say that?”

He said, “Now Robbi won’t need to go to school anymore.”

Her mother said, “No, she still has to study. She wants to be a doctor.”

“A doctor, impossible!” he said.

“She is the most clever girl in the class, why can’t she be a doctor?!” asked her mother.

Her father replied, “Because the time has come for her to go to her real home.”

“Are you thinking about Robbi’s marriage? She is still too young,” she said.

“Well, sooner or later she has to go; the sooner the better.” said Robbi’s father. He added further, “I have already talked to my old friend. He has a son who works in the fields, that will be better for her. I don’t want to talk about it anymore; that’s final.”

In the morning when Robbi was getting ready to go to school, her mother said to her, “Stay at home today.”

Robbi said, “Why, dear mother?”

She said, “I have a lot of work today and I want you to help me.”

Robbi said, “Alright, if you say so, I am not going.”

So on that day her mother told her that her father was going to get her married. Robbi’s heart was torn into pieces. Her mother said to her, “It is inevitable. I can do nothing; nor can you refuse. If we go against your father’s will, we will both be in trouble. So it is better to be quiet and endure.”

Robbi’s dreams were shattered. She felt a storm inside her, and she wanted to cry so loudly that her voice would break the sky. She fell asleep weeping and sobbing.

In a few days, Robbi’s father married her off. Now she wandered aimlessly through life as if she were already dead.

Chapter: 2

Robbi was only 14. She was studying in the hope of becoming a doctor when her father married her off. She was married to Zaman, who worked in the fields. All of Robbi’s dreams were shattered before they could come to fruition. Her husband treated her as if she was a servant or slave. He punished her, abused her, and harassed her. He commanded her to look after the buffaloes and cows. She milked them and grazed them near the bank of the river a short distance from the fields where her husband worked.

Robbi gave birth to Rabia at the age of 15. Robbi and her daughter were weak due to Robbi’s pregnancy at a very young age. Early marriage led to many detrimental effects upon Robbi’s health. It had been more than a year since Robbi had seen her mother. Robbi’s father never allowed Robbi’s mother to visit Robbi; neither did Robbi’s husband.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months turned into years as Robbi continued to bear all the injustices that her husband administered to her. In rural areas of Sindh, a province of Pakistan, it is common for men to treat women in this way. Very few women raise their voices against the oppression. Robbi would never resist, but she had decided that she would never let her daughter fall victim to this abuse.

One night, Robbi said to Zaman, “Saeen, Rabia is now five. We need to send our daughter to school.” (In Sindhi the word ‘Saeen’ is used for someone who is admired or respected.)

“School? Don’t you know in our village girls are not allowed to attend school? She will never go to school,” her husband replied.

“But Saeen, she must get a primary education, at least, so that she can read and write our native Sindhi language.”

“I don’t like your explanations and answering back. I said she will never go. Now get out of my sight!” he shouted angrily.

Young Rabia was watching and listening to her parents arguing about her from the window. In her heart, Rabia hated her father because she had seen him beating her mother many times. One day, Robbi went to graze the cattle, as usual. Normally, Rabia would stay at home with her grandparents. Her grandparents had never cared much for Robbi or Rabia because they had been disappointed when Robbi did not give birth to a boy. On this particular day, Robbi decided that she would begin to take her daughter out with her to graze the cattle. Robbi had learned reading and writing in Sindhi when she was a child, and she also knew a little bit of English. She decided that she would educate her daughter herself while the cattle grazed.

One night, Robbi called her daughter, “Rabia? Rabia? Where are you?”

“Ami, I am here with grandpa.”

“Won’t you let me read you a new story tonight?”

“Oh, yes.”

That night Robbi told Rabia about her plan. Robbi had originally thought that Zaman would do the same for their daughter as Robbi’s father had done for her. “At least I have gotten my primary education. I have to do something for my daughter, otherwise in this male-dominated society my daughter will be deprived of even basic education,” she whispered to herself.

The next day, as usual, Robbi woke up early, milked the buffaloes, churned the Lassi, and fed the cattle. When she served breakfast to her husband, she told him, “Saeen, I want to take Rabia with me. She will learn grazing the cattle and cutting the grass. She is not going to school, so she better learn the household chores.”

“All right. Keep a close eye on her,” he agreed.

After Zaman had gone, Robbi and her daughter left to graze the cattle. Along the way, she gave Rabia two hundred rupees, which she had earned by selling the milk. The money was used to buy two pens, (one red and one blue), a notebook, and a first grade text book from the village general store. Robbi also gave her a palm straw bag, in which she packed her lunch. Rabia purchased all these things and put them in the bag.

When they reached the river, the cattle started grazing, and they both started the lessons. On their first day, Robbi taught her daughter some letters of the alphabet of their native language. For five years they studied in this way; hiding their books from everyone. Usually, children do their homework at their homes, but Rabia did hers at the river bank. Rabia eventually learned to read and write the Sindhi language, and a little bit of English.

---------------------------------------------------
True to his nature the man closed one more chapter of injustice with Robbi.
I wonder how many Robbis would yet be killed, sold and kidnapped etcetera! That so called civilized man should know that the woman is also a human. She breathes the same way as he does. Her heart beats as his, and like him she has emotions, too. Let her live her life!
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Respond to the story:
Should Robbi have raised her voice against her father’s decision?
Are men superior to women?
What is the message of the story?
As a male, do you treat women like Robbi’s father and husband did?
How can women be equal to men in a male-dominated society?
What impact does this story have on you?
What can you say about the author’s efforts to support women and prevent oppression by men through these stories? Write an email and tell the author at this address RizwanAhmedMemon@gmail.com

6. A Dream that didn’t come true
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

A true spirit of serving humankind makes one so brave that one fears nothing and nobody. People who risk their lives and do dangerous work to benefit human beings are real friends of God and His beloved mortals. Ronak, a social worker, had also put his life at risk. He worked for women’s education in Sindh province of Pakistan, where education was considered something that spoils girls.

Ronak started his struggle in Larkana. His target was the rural areas of Larkana. He took his necessary electronics, like a projector, laptop, mobile, and a calculator. He would conduct seminars at Otaqs (guest rooms in villages where people sit and chat in their free time). He would raise awareness among villagers about women’s rights and their status in Islam.

Ronak reached a village named Dahani, where people were not interested in education at all. The men would stay at home and make the women do the chores, graze the cattle, work in the fields, and look after the children. Ronak had never seen this kind of rule anywhere else before. He wasn’t even allowed to enter the village because no strangers could enter the village. He saw that most of the men wore Sindhi caps and had beards. He couldn’t find anyone who could understand or help him.

He was sad and tired. Around the village were gardens of olives, so he decided to go into a garden and eat some of the fruit. He plucked some olives and sat under an olive tree to eat and relax. He saw that some buffaloes were grazing, but there was no one with them.

“Hey, who are you? And what are you doing here?” asked a woman who was in the top of the tree under which Ronak was sitting.

Ronak got spooked at first. He looked around, but there wasn’t anyone to be seen. The women threw an olive at him.

“Hello! Look up.”

“Oh, sorry. I am Ronak. I am new in this village.”

“Go back to wherever you have come from! Strangers are not allowed here. If any man of this village sees you, he will kill you in the name of honor-killing. He will think that you were chasing me, and even he might think that there was an affair between us, he will kill me, too.”

“I am a social worker. I work for the education of girls.”

“Oh, really? I had a dream in my childhood of getting education, but that didn’t come true.”

“Oh, why?”

“That is a long story. Well, my name is Roshni. In our tribe girls are not allowed to go to school. That’s what I have been hearing since my childhood,” Roshni said to Ronak.

“But I can admit you to school.”

“I am now too old to go to school.”

“There is no age limit for learning.”

“Well, there must be different values in your tribe. That’s very contrary to the rules of this village. I will have to leave this place before anybody sees me.”

“Listen, wait a second!”

“Sorry. I cannot.” Roshni left with her buffaloes.

Ronak was facing difficulties in that village. He would go to Larkana where he had reserved a room in a hotel, and come to Dahani in the morning. It was not so far from the city.

The next day, Ronak came to the same garden to find Roshni. As he approached the garden, he could hear a sad song in a woman’s voice.

“Weak, powerless creature I am.
He says you were born to work.
My Lord is that true?
I don’t think so.”

Listening to these sentences sung in a heart-touching voice, Ronak got goose bumps. He traced the footsteps which led him to the same olive tree under which he met Roshni the day before. Roshni was sitting on a branch, and there was a cloth she was doing needle work with and was singing along.

“He shattered my dreams.
He snatched my childhood dolls.
And handed over me things
That I couldn’t do well.”

Ronak didn’t disturb her. He sat at a small distance and listened to what she sang.

“You have a beautiful voice.”

“Oh my God! You have come again! What do you want?”

“I want you to go to school.”

“You, a stranger, will send me to school?”

“Yes, I can.”

“See, I have already told you that if someone finds us talking together, he will kill both of us. You better leave.”

“I am afraid of nobody.”

Roshni was confused and afraid. She quickly gathered the buffaloes and left the garden.

Everyday, Ronak came to the garden, and tried to talk to Roshni. He somehow motivated her to attend school.

“But it feels very awkward to sit with little children in a class.”

“You want to get an education, right?”

“Yes.”

“So for that, you will have to attend the class.”

“My family won’t approve of it. They didn’t allow me to go during my childhood; why would they do it now?”

“You are now an adult. You have a right to make your own decisions.”

“In our tribe, girls do not make any decisions, not even of their own marriage. My father and brother didn’t even ask me whether I was happy or not when they decided my marriage. However, my husband is a kind man. He cares for me. He is very different from the men in our tribe. He respects women.”

“Will he allow you to attend school?”

“I am sure he will.”

“Shall I talk to him?

“No, it is not appropriate. Maybe he will not like this.”

“Look, dark is falling, and the buffaloes are moving to the village now. I will meet you tomorrow.”

“Okay. I will wait for you.”

At night, Roshni said to Muhammad Khan, her husband, “If we had children–a girl, would you have allowed her to go to school?”

“Why do you ask this, Roshni?”

“I just wanted to know your view about girls’ education.”

“My tribe’s view is my view. Our ancestors never sent the girls to schools. They have always opposed girls’ education. That’s the reason there is not any schools in our village.”


“What is the harm in getting an education? I believe an educated woman can look after her children very well. Education helps one on every walk of one’s life.”

“You may be right, but I respect the village customs and traditions.”

“With the passage of time everything changes, and I think it is time for our customs to change.” Saying this Roshni slept.

Muhammad Khan couldn’t sleep that night. He thought about the questions Roshni asked him. He also was sick of the traditions of his village, but he had always remained silent in front of his father, his uncles, and other elders of his tribe.

The next day, Roshni told Ronak about her husband’s view of girls’ education. Ronak asked, “Would you leave this village and stay in the city with your husband? There you can go to school.”

“My husband will not leave his village,” replied Roshni.

“It sounds like your husband is a rational man. He will understand my point of view if you help me in meeting with him?”

“This Friday evening, my husband will sit in the main Otaq of the village. You can meet him there, but do not mention the fact that we’ve discussed this and are in agreement.”

“How can I get into the village?”

“If anyone stops you and asks who you are and why you have come, tell him that you are an olive trader and you have come from Quetta to meet with Muhammad Khan for olive deals.”

In this way, Ronak met Muhammad Khan, then confessed that he was actually a social worker, and was told how to enter the village under the guise of being an olive vender. He convinced him that education is necessary for boys and girls and asked him for his help to raise awareness in the village.

“Brother, I am with you, but it is very difficult to talk about girl’s education and rights here,” Muhammad Khan said.

“Can I arrange a seminar in this Otaq this coming Friday?”

“I will have to ask the elders.”

In the evening, Muhammad Khan talked to his father about the social worker. “Now a city boy will teach us the rules of living life!” Muhammad Khan’s father angrily replied.

“Father, he just wants to tell the people about the importance of education?”

“You know, in this village no one wants education.”

“Father that is because they have been told that education is something that spoils man. The people of this village hate western clothes, the English language, and education because they have always been told wrong concepts about them. Whereas, clothes are clothes; every nation has their own way of covering the body. In the same way, every nation has their own language, just as we have our own tongue, Sindhi. Plus if education was a bad thing, the Holy Quran wouldn’t have said that God instructed us to read by using the word “Iqra”, the first word revealed to the Prophet.”

“Your tongue speaks a lot.”

“Sorry, father. I cannot be a slave to these old-fashioned and useless customs anymore.”

“If you dislike our ancestors’ traditions, you do not deserve to live in their village,” saying this Mohammad Khan’s father went to his bedroom.

Roshni was listening to their conversation behind the door of her room. “I know that social worker,” said Roshni to Muhammad Khan.

“How do you know him?”

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes. I do.”

“So listen…”

She told her husband everything about the social worker.

“Why don’t we leave the village for the sake of the future of our children? I had a dream that didn’t come true, but I want all the dreams of my children to come true. If we remained here, it seems impossible.”

“You are right, Roshni. We will leave this village and its customs. We will move to the city forever. Our elders will never allow us to be independent and liberal here.”

Muhammad Khan talked to Ronak, and he helped them find a house in the city. There they lived happily ever after. Roshni went to school, making her childhood dream come true.

Many people stick to the traditions of their elders for entire duration of their lives. If the customs are outdated and worthless, one should always change them. If one cannot change them, one should change oneself.

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Respond to the story:

Do you accept changes quickly or are changes difficult for you? What had changed in your life recently?
What works have you performed or done to benefit humankind?
What is the message of this story?
Do you stick to your ancestors’ traditions or do you live life according to your own beliefs, values, and views? 

7. 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 ‘teacher’ 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.
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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?

8. LIFE IS NOT A FAIRY TALE
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Qasim, a ten-year-old boy, always believed in luck. In last five years, he had won many competitions at his school, including a marathon, singing competition, and a pie-eating contest. His father often told him to be optimistic, but also work hard.

            One day at his school, the principal announced that there would be a quiz show. Hearing that Qasim whispered into his friend’s ear, who was sitting beside him, “And I will be the winner!” “I hope so.” replied his friend. Thinking that the luck would be on his side as always, Qasim did not prepare much for the show. His parents were looking forward to see another prize in his hands. “The quiz show is nearing. Are you preparing for it?” said his father. Qasim in an annoyed manner replied, “Oh, come on, Dad! Let me play the video game.” His father said, “What about the quiz?” “I will win. You will see,” said Qasim. “Well, son you better wake up and smell the coffee. Everything doesn’t come without hard work,” said his father.

            The competition day came and all the students and their parents gathered. Qasim was nervous, as he was not prepared. The quiz show started and from two teams the team leader was supposed to answer. Qasim was his team’s leader. The questioner asked, “Who gave the speech 'I Have a Dream'?” Qasim had not studied his history book. He remained silent, but his opponent gave the correct answer: Martin Luther King. On most of the questions, Qasim remained silent, for he had not studied. The questions were from different subjects from his syllabus. Everybody laughed at Qasim, and his mom and dad were very disappointed. Qasim lost the quiz program.

            At night, Qasim came into his parent’s room and said, “I am sorry.” His father encouraged him and said, “You work hard. Do not rely only on luck.” His mother further added, “Look son, life is not a fairy tale that has some magic in it, which will fix everything. On the contrary, life is all about action. If you rest, you rust.” Qasim gave his word to the parents and said he would always work hard and would not rely just on luck.
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Respond to the story:
Did Qasim believe in hard work or luck?
Why did Qasim lose the quiz competition?
What did Qasim’s mother say to him?
Do you believe in luck or hard work?
What is the theme of the story?
Does the story make you cautious in your studies? If so, what difference will you make in the future?


9. DREAMS DO COME TRUE
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

           Like every child, Reyan had dreams for his future. He pursued them and worked hard to make them come true. He believed that the way a person pursues his dreams decides whether they will come true or not.

          Life doesn't always turn out the way we plan; this is something he had often heard from others. However, he believed that no one knows what will happen in the coming time, so one must plan and try to live life according to one’s plans. Everyone has hope. Life can be better than our expectations, and it can be even worse, too.

           He often asked himself, "What is it that makes people successful: hard work, money, or luck?" The more accurate answer he often found was hard work because he had seen people who had lots of money, but they were not successful. Instead, they were aloof. Those who are lucky and get to be successful don't value their success. They don't feel the importance of hard work. This reminded him the words of William Shakespeare: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

            Reyan was in high school when one day his teacher asked him, "Reyan, what is your goal in life?" "Well, sir I don’t have just one goal," said Reyan, "I have many goals and I may have some more in the future. Let me tell you some I have now. Firstly, I want to get an MA in English. Secondly, I want to do social work. Thirdly, I want to be an actor.” “Oh, an MA in English! That is a good goal, and I like the idea of social work as well. But why do you want to be an actor?" asked his teacher. "Sir, I want to change the world,” replied Reyan. “I will perform in movies and dramas that will give the message of being a good human. I will play characters that will touch people's hearts and have impact on their lives,” he continued.

             Unlike other children Reyan analyzed his dreams now and then and pondered how they could come true. What steps should be taken, and what barriers were in his way of success? He knew that little decisions that he had to make for his future would have a great effect on his life. Reyan was not a pampered child. He had to work at his brother's shop in the evening. He used to look after the buffaloes of his other brother, too. Escaping all these responsibilities was not easy for him. His brothers, though supportive, never tried to help him get ahead in his education. They were happy with what they had given him to do. Reyan knew that this was not something he would do for his rest of the life. One day he said to his brother, “I want to learn English.” His brother helped him gain admission to a private institute in the city. This was the decision that would change Reyan's life forever. This was when he started the journey of his knowledge. Soon after enrolling in the English institute, he also found a computer center, where he decided to take a course in computers.

          Going from village to the city everyday was hard. He used to travel by van. Those vans were very broken-down, and sometimes when there were a lot of passengers, the driver made all the boys sit on the roof of the van or would tell them to hang on the backside of the van. After getting off the van in the city, the institutes were still at a long distance, so he had to go by foot. Out of his passion and eagerness for knowledge, Reyan put up with all those difficulties. In the morning, he took his computer course, and in the evening he studied English at the institute. He had a break at noon, so he would offer a prayer in a mosque and had something for lunch. He also worked at the shop at night and on holidays. Whenever Reyan crossed the street, he was bullied by country boys and even adults. They would say, “There goes the geek!” He didn’t pay any attention to them. They used a lot of derogatory words. One day while he was walking, a person said to him, “Hey boy, you are working hard, but there are no jobs in Pakistan!” “I am not studying for the job. I am studying for knowledge,” replied Reyan. After a year, Reyan had gained good knowledge of English and computers, so he started teaching. This was a step which would add to his knowledge and experience. Now he had left working at the shop and looking after the buffaloes. His brothers didn't say much because what he was doing was better than what they had given him to do.

          Reyan finished his matriculation. It was time to make another important decision for his future. What college to go to? Should he study science or business? He thought it all over and decided to go to the Arts and Commerce College to study business. His brother didn't like the idea of going to a Commerce College, but Reyan made him understand that this was something he wanted to do. During his college days, he made some other goals for his life such as doing bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from a university. He kept teaching, studying, and enjoying his life.

          After Reyan finished college, where he earned his intermediate degree in commerce, he prepared for university entrance exams with his friends at the library. He applied to three different universities. He got admitted to the undergraduate program in Computer Science at University of Sindh. The program at the university was quite tough for him, but he worked so hard and made his presence felt. While working toward his bachelor’s degree, he also pursued other degrees from other colleges. He earned an MA in English, too.

           Reyan now runs an institute named The REAL Learning CENTER, where he teaches computer skills and English. He thinks the best social work is giving knowledge to others and educating them. In doing so, he also earns his living. His dreams have come true except for becoming an actor. He still has a hope. He now has an online life list in which he adds new goals and marks the achieved ones. He thinks that as long as life goes on, there are dreams. Some dreams take a long time to come true and some very little. He says he hasn’t become an actor because he didn’t take this goal seriously. He still thinks he might go on screen and become an actor someday. Those people, who once made fun of Reyan, now call him ‘Sir’. He often tells his students that your dreams will only remain dreams if you don't pursue them and try very hard to make them come true. Everything that we want has its price that we have to pay.
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Respond to the story: What are your achievements? Write a story about your achievements. What plans do you have for your future? How do you struggle for your dreams?


10. A hobby that made money
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

             Some children like to have a cat; others want a dog. Every child has his own likes and dislikes. Raheel was fond of birds, hens and roosters. He would buy little chickens and feed them. When they grew and started laying eggs, he would keep those hens which laid eggs and sell the others. In so doing, Raheel made a lot of money. His hobby turned out to be his small business.

             Raheel never let his hobby disturb his studies. He went to school regularly and punctually, and he also did his homework on time. Feeding and looking after the birds was a time-consuming task, so his mother helped him with the birds. People came to Raheel to buy the birds and eggs. These were his customers! “Mom, did any customer come?” he asked his mother after coming back from school.

             “Yes, son. I have sold all the eggs,” she replied. Raheel would buy his clothes with the profit. After using the money for his basic expenses, he also used to put a little amount aside. Raheel was in the fifth class when he had collected a good sum of money, so he used the money to buy a bicycle. With his brother's help, Raheel found a bicycle he liked very much.

             When Raheel finished primary school and entered high school, he began to notice that his hobby was disturbing his studies. He developed a strong passion for English and computers, so he sold all his birds and devoted all his time to studies. Raheel bought his first computer with the money he got from selling his birds and his bicycle.

            Ten years have passed since that time. Raheel has become a good speaker and teacher of the English language, and he has a university degree in Computer Science. He believes that if he had not sold his birds, he would never have become a computer scientist today. In order to get something, we have to leave something, and we must leave something good for something better.
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Respond to the story:

What was Raheel’s hobby?
How did he manage to provide time for his studies and hobby?
Why did he sell all of his birds?
What did he buy with the money he got when he sold his birds and bicycle?
What is the moral of this story?
How does this story impact your life?

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