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I saved ‘Asma’ by transferring balance of Rs 20

Asma was just an ordinary girl from a far flung village in Southern Punjab but her dreams were big. She belonged to a ‘haari’ family which was under debt of the village landlord. The landlord was a cruel guy who would not let the family out of his ‘haweli’. They worked there the whole day and only got food and clothes in return- no hard cash.

Asma knew that she was not supposed to spend her life like this. She was smart, sharp and hard working. She tried to run free many times but was always stopped by haweli guards.

Every time she was caught trying to escape, she would be brutally raped by landlord’s sons.

Time passed and Asma got used to of this slavery. But Asma was not destined  to live like this forever. Destiny had something else for her.
One day the landlord’s wife got ill. She was on bed rest and Asma was tasked to sit beside her throughout the night in case she needed anything. Asma was fulfilling her duty and was sitting beside the landlady, as she slept.

Suddenly Asma  realized that the landlady’s phone was just lying on the bedside table. She had dreamt of this day for years. The day she can finally call the police and ask for help. She grabbed the phone and dialled the nearest police station number. As she dialled the number, she dreamt of freedom, a future where she would be able to pursue her dreams- may even be able to go to big cities like Lahore or Karachi. She had heard stories about them.

She had heard that in cities everyone lives like the ‘landlord’. She had heard that in cities, roads are made of gold and earning money is merely like plucking apples off trees. She imagined herself as a ‘mame saab’ with dark red make up on her cheeks and purple lipstick on her lips. I would look better than the landlord’s daughters, she told herself. Her heart beat had raised as she dialled the number. She was constantly looking at landlady to ensure that she is still fast asleep.

You as a reader may have a few questions in mind. From where did she learn to operate a phone? How she knew the police station’s number? How was she so sure that police would come for help on a mere phone call (especially in such a far flung village)?

Well, either God knows, or Asma knows.

Anyways, she dialled the number and someone one the phone said: “Bla Bla INSUFFICIENT BALANCE bla bla”. This broke her. She had come so near to her freedom and now suddenly it seemed far far away. Her dreams were shattered. Tears flew from her eyes, and her heart seemed like it would burst any moment-she was a mess.

Then she got an idea. Why not text an unknown random stranger living far away and ask for balance? After all. people are helpful and send phone balance to random strangers all the time.

How she knew how to text? How could she text without balance in the phone? How many people would she text before hoping to receive some balance? Why she needed exactly Rs20? Why didn’t she just text people and ask them to call police for help?
Well, either God knows or Asma knows.

I was at my home in Lahore, sipping coffee with my wife when I received a text message.

“I am Asma. I need balance of Rs 20 to save my life, please transfer. I promise I will return.”

The message surprised me. I immediately guessed from her text message that this poor girl must be in some desperate need of a balance transfer.

My wife was a bit skeptical and asked me if I knew her. I said no but she wouldn't believe me. She blamed me of an extramarital affair with Asma and sweared that she would divorce me if I make this balance transfer. I had to make a choice. I could either save my marriage or save Asma- the unknown girl (or maybe a chacha jii posing as girl) I had no idea of.
I made the wise choice and transferred the balance. Me and my wife had a huge fight and she left me but Asma’s life changed forever. She used the balance to call the police. Police arrested the landlord and she and her family were freed from his tyranny.

Today, I am divorced and alone but my subconscious is satisfied. I saved Asma by transferring a balance of Rs 20.
(If you have received any messages from Asma lately, she is probably kidding because I saved her a long time back)

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