I didn’t choose to be poor

Published: February 26, 2013
Email

She questioned,did the rich work hard and the poor didn’t? PHOTO: AFP

A small hand knocks at the car window, gazing inside with hungry yet penetrating grey eyes.

Her round face is overshadowed by her tousled dusty mane, the paleness of the skin now brown with dirt and dust. Her fragile body moves in a huge shabby sweater twice her size. She stands on her toes as the ground is too cold for her naked feet.

The December fog has covered her, the wind piercing into her skin. She scratches her head and knocks again staring at the faces in the car.

Three faces of little girls glare back at her, as they sit cosily in the car, windows sealed, huddled up in thick coats and mufflers. Their vacant eyes gaze at her cold, numb body but they stay still as if they are staring into white mist.

She opens her mouth, spilling several words at the same time, narrating the story of her dead father and a sick mother.

The three faces now turn away staring at the other side as if something marvellous is happening there.

Her frostbitten cold feet run quickly to the other side, knocking on the other window intensely.

They move their hands swiftly and her frown vanishes as she raises her hand, spreading her palm for money but instead they lock their car doors quickly.

Her grey eyes lose their colour as, she stares at these little girls, she moans but no voice comes out. Breathing heavily, her small feet go some paces forward on the main road.

Settling on the frozen ground, she looks around and sees many like her standing at the cars, waiting, knocking, and trying and in the end crying.

She moves to the other side of the road, settling herself on the cold ground. Her mind is boggled as she thinks of her life and the life of the rich.

Did the rich work hard and the poor didn’t?

But, what about the kids who are born in the rich families, surely they didn’t work hard for that.

So is it just fate then?

Suddenly, the clouds disperse and a ray of sunshine gleams through the clouds.

Her cold, numb body softens as she feels the warmth of the sun. Her mouth curves into a smile as she knows that God has heard her plea and it’s a sign that tomorrow would be a better day.

Shahla Hameed

Shahla Hameed

A Mass Communication from NUST Islamabad, Shahla loves to read and has a passion for sketching and drawing.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.