Lazily, I skimmed through my Facebook news feed coming across cliche posts. I shook my head as I came across 100th check-in at an expensive hotel by one of my relatives. “Cant they sit at home?” I asked myself the hypothetical question. I kept scrolling until I saw this one picture that made me freeze on spot. Not in the literal sense but made me freeze in my habitual scrolling of fingers
One of my really close friends in Pakistan uploaded a picture from her day at school. At that time, I had limited knowledge of her occupation or work information, I gathered that information later. But my eyes froze on the story the picture was relaying. If the saying goes that pictures can speak a thousand words, I would fit it in there. It showed kids with the innocent ages of 4-7 years or maybe less. My eyes fell on the girl with yellow clips on her head with a beautiful golden sharara. My eyes welled with tears. I dug deeper in the picture and I saw many kids dressed up to what their parents would deem expensive clothes, one of them holding a small Pakistan flag and most of them with their hands raised high. Their faces expressed so much enthusiasm that it leaked through the picture, so much that it was almost nostalgic. It reminded me of the time when I would be eager to answer or impress a teacher that I liked or would want to show off my knowledge (just so I could emphasize my Miss-Know-it-All status).
Why did that picture melt my heart? Why didnt I just simply like and move on? It was not just because my friend was in there but it was also because it raised an awareness that my heart was unaware of.. my mind not at all informed. The picture spoke to me about those underprivileged children that many of us would either mock or pass by thinking that they won’t ever have a future because they don’t have the resources to educate themselves. But what have we done to provide for them? Looking at those eager children, made me contemplate that just because I had grown up thinking that being educated is my birth right does not mean that it means the same for them. Back in their age I dressed up in uniform and carried a cool bag thinking I deserved it but for those children it is as if they won a sweepstakes miraculously. Back then, I would socialize with friends and have a dramatized “katti-dosti” relationships but for them..every relationship is a source to their happiness that they would treasure more than a 100 rupee note. And maybe being a girl never really made me feel uneasy till now because of being born in an educated family but for that little girl with yellow clips.. maybe.. her mother fights a lot of people and her own societal demons to allow the girl to be educated. Every day.
I wont ever stop deducing analogies from that picture. Because it was just a glimpse of the life I am not aware of. However, our job is so much more. To educate and to liberate. Pakistan is a country brimming with talent and it only needs to be nurtured. How many talents are deep hidden in the huts and colonies of those who can not afford to read and write? How many are involved in something heinous that would ruin their life but if given a pen and paper can become innovators and bring light to the darkest corners of the country? Doesn’t it make sense when you read the quote by Victor Hugo.. who sums up the importance of education that we have not realized yet.
“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”