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I started off with a silent prayer during what it seemed like a longest learning journey from defence to north nazimabad, to my grandfather’s place. On my way, I looked outside the window and observed how people travelled and sometimes lived. During the trip, my car stopped at a signal for about a minute and a half. And it was all there. Right in front of me. When I looked at my left, a mini bus blocked my wider view. And I peeked up to the bus and saw several men of different ages sitting on the roof with thoughts of their own. Some eyes told me they had a tough day, some flickered pain in them while some even let me see inside their soul. That mini second when my stare was caught by an old man’s eyes, I realized that life has not treated him well. There was only one prominent emotion in his grey eyes, hopelessness.


Suddenly sorrow engulfed me when a fleeting thought sprang in my mind that the old man in white shalwar kameez and a white beard could have been my grandfather. The thought shook me a little as for a millionth part of a second, I imagined my grandfather who I was going to meet, was sitting on that roof with sheer hopelessness in the eyes. My mind wandered in the lane of possibilities. Could it be because of his family? Is it because he has a rough ride? Or is it because he has little money? Is it because he thinks his family is not safe? My mind raced with different questions popping up.


The chain of thoughts was abruptly broken as my mother asked me something about the house keys and I answered her well. Then aimlessly my head turned towards the left side of the car where I saw little kids of age about five to twelve. They were about five street kids, wearing shabby clothes and unkempt hair; I couldn’t guess how long it could have been they haven’t showered. Their faces were dirty; their hands carried things that I could not have imagined to hold when I was little. I quickly rushed to sit on the other side (right) of the car to have a better look.


One boy, about nine years old stood near the street light pole, held a wiper to clean the windscreens of people’s car. I could see him smirk to his buddy sitting beside him.  The other boy, I observed, was darker, thinner and younger than the one beside him. He had plain white bread in his hands that he ate impatiently. How long could it have been that he starved? I thought to myself. The rough tarmac beneath his bare feet must have been burning in this scorching heat of summer. An unusual knot tied in my throat, my mouth suddenly seemed very dry and I struggled to keep back the emerging tear in the eyes. My gaze then shifted to the other three kids who were girls of different sizes, ages and features but one thing was certain that they all belonged to the same social strata.

They were barefoot children living their lives on a street. I realized that my heart had conceived a different kind of pain and that I let it out through a tear in the corner of my eye. Why so much pain exists in this world? Why there are numerous homeless kids who are hungry and unloved? Why was there hopelessness in the eyes where it should have been a gleam of satisfaction? With a silent search for God’s replies to the unanswered questions I set out to another psychological journey as my car’s engine roared again.



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