Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Wild Winter

Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon                                                     
The cold breeze blowing from the north, reeds growing tall on the riverbeds, and water drying in the river—these were all signs of winter. Majid liked winter because, as a laborer, he could work with more ease than in the summer. However, winter also brought many problems for him. Other than having to worry about surviving the blizzards; coughs, colds, and fevers also made daily life difficult for Majid’s family. In fact, last winter, his one-year-old daughter Shaali fell seriously ill. With his daughter’s health in mind, Majid was not as glad this year to see the beginning signs of winter. Majid and his family lived in the colder part of Pakistan, in a city called Maalam Jaba.

He remained anxious about his daughter’s health. He was worried and sad if she had the flu or even a cough. For the last five days, he came home late. His wife, Sabra, asked him why. Majid explained to her that he had started to overwork. “Every day, I unload ten more trucks than usual.”

“You will kill yourself if you keep working so hard,” Sabra exclaimed as she went into the kitchen while Majid went into the bedroom to change his clothes.

“Winter is almost here,” he replied. “We need the money to survive the blizzards and foggy days.”

“You shouldn’t unload more than five trucks per day,” Sabra continued, speaking loudly from the kitchen. “You must take care of yourself.”

“But I have to work more,” Majid explained, “Because there won’t be any trucks during snowfall. No trucks, no work, no money.”

“I see,” Sabra said at last, bringing Majid his supper. “May God give you strength.”

Majid then looked into her eyes and said softly, “I will do anything to keep my family happy and healthy.” Then he thought of his daughter. “How is my little fairy?”

“She is fine,” Sabra replied. “She likes the toys you bought for her. But she misses you because you work so much. You even work on Fridays, when most people don’t. If you’re going to keep working this hard during the week, I want you to at least spend this Friday with us.”

“I will be home during blizzards—we can spend time together then,” Majid answered firmly. I have to work, so that I can make money for us to live on during those hard days of blizzards.”

“You leave so early in the morning,” Sabra pleaded. “Shaali always looks for you afterwards, crawling to the door of the bathroom, saying ‘Aba, Aba’.” (Aba means papa in the Sindhi language.)

Majid heaved a sigh and smiled. “I will try to come early today, before she falls asleep.”
“Alright, but now you must sleep; I know you are tired. Let me massage your feet,” Sabra said as he finished his meal.

For poor people, winter creates many problems. They cannot afford medicine if they fall ill. They also cannot find work as the snow and cold limit the usual day-to-day life. For Majid and his family, the month of December began with a blizzard, which lasted for eight days.

“I couldn’t gather as many provisions as I should have,” Majid regretted one day.
Consoling Majid, Sabra said, “You did what you could. This winter seems much harsher than the last.”

“It does,” agreed Majid. “What if our food runs short?”

“Don’t worry. I will pray to God to take away this snow and watch over us in the cold,” Sabra said assuredly.

“I hope He will,” replied Majid, looking out from the window.

By the end of January, Majid and his family finished all of their food. The blizzards continued on and off. “We don’t have anything left,” said Majid one day. “If the snowfall doesn’t stop, we will starve.”

“I am sure the sun will show up today,” Sabra assured him.  “All the snow will melt, and the day after tomorrow the trucks will also come. After all, God has to keep this world going. You know, after hardships there are happy days too.”

And then miraculously, everything that seemed so bleak—the snow, the strong winds—they all vanished in a day. Majid went to work and life returned back to normal.

“Everything is in God’s hands,” he thought, “but we must do what is in our hands. If I hadn’t overworked, my family and I would have had trouble coping with the harsh wintery days.”

Respond to the Story

  1. Majid started to overwork because
  2. He didn’t like to work during the blizzards
    His wife forced him
    He wanted to make provisions for harsh wintery days
    He didn’t want to lose his daughter’s health

  3. Sabra prayed for her husband’s
  4. Patience
    None of these

  5. Majid heaved a sigh and smiled. This shows that
  6. He wanted to spend time out of home
    He wanted his wife to stop the discussion
    He wanted to spend time with his family
    He wanted to buy more toys for Shaali

  7. The season which creates problems for poor comes after
  8. Summer

  9. The mother tongue of Majid’s family was:
  10. Pushto

  11. Majid’s daughter was born
  12. Six months ago
    One and a half year ago
    Two years ago
    One year ago

  13. On what days Majid works, but other people do not.
  14. Summer vacations
    Winter vacations

  15. How many more trucks Majid unloaded in winter?
  16. 5 more trucks
    8 more trucks
    10 more trucks
    3 more trucks

  17. Sabra said that the winter was
  18. Severer than the previous one
    Same as the previous one
    Comfortable than the previous one
    Windy than the previous one

  19. This story gives the lesson that
  20. We should rely only on ourselves
    We should rely only on God
    We should do what we can and believe in God
    We should rely only on our Family’s prayers

  21. Sabra advised Majid not to unload more than………. trucks.
  22. 10 trucks
    4 trucks
    5 trucks
    6 trucks

  23. Majid’s family belonged to
  24. Upper-class family
    Lower-class family
    Middle-class family
    None of these

  25. The month of December began with a blizzard which lasted for
  26. Five days
    Ten days
    Seven days
    Eight days

  27. How many months the blizzards continued?
  28. One month
    Two months
    Three months
    Half month

  29. They could survive the blizzards because of
  30. Sabra’s prayer
    Majid’s hard work
    Neighbors’ help
    Both a and b

  31. What word Majid used when he asked Sabra about his daughter
  32. Angel
    My daughter

  33. What words Shaali used when she looked for her father
  34. Aboo Aboo
    Papa papa
    Aba Aba
    Baba Baba

  35. Which winter sign is not mentioned in the story
  36. Cold wind
    Tall reeds
    Drying wate

  37. Majid worried the most about
  38. The family
    The trucks
    The blizzards
    The provisions

  39. Majid and family finished all of their food in
  40. November

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