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Hardships – part 4

Hardships – part 4

The struggles of one’s school days are well-documented, and it is a sad reality that bullying is a part of the school experience. It makes it extremely difficult for most people to enjoy their school years. Some loathe it with every fiber of their being; they would much rather not have to experience the torments that their school’s hallways have in store for them. That was his case for a short while. He had a desire to leave, and never look back because he was picked on by the other students. They made fun of his accent, his distinct lack of grasp of the English language, the poor state of his belongings, and most importantly, the fact that his education was because of some person’s charity.

Things were quite distressful for him the initial few months, but the man whose generosity let him achieve education, also made him see reason and convinced him to continue with his education, and things slowly started to improve. Things weren’t easy, of course; having to support his father in his job after school hours made things difficult, but things were certainly manageable, and as he entered his teen years, preparing to appear for his matriculation exams in just over a year, he was, in fact, enjoying school.

Of course, as fate would have it, that is when disaster struck.

For him, without access to a television in his house, the word coronavirus was just an abstract concept he had heard of from his peers. To satisfy his curiosity, he read about it in the local newspaper. But at the start of 2020, even Pakistani newspapers were not taking it too seriously, and there was scant information about it available. That changed in just over two months, and by mid-March, his entire world turned upside down.

Education was shifted to an online mode, ‘DL mode’ as they started to call it. And while the classes on campus had been going well for him, this shift produced a unique dilemma. His father was hardly able to continue his job managing the stall, and he needed his help to ensure they could make ends meet towards the month’s end. They were barely making do, and his father did not have the means to provide him with a stable internet connection, much less with a computer device with which he could continue his education. His current third-hand battered old laptop was eight years past its sell-by date, and that too had taken a year of saving money to buy.

He would have turned towards the kind man who had helped provide for his education all those years ago for help, but he had passed away three years ago, and the charity project that he had been running for the underprivileged did not provide beyond a child’s school fees. 

Graphics- Areeba Ali


About The Author

Muhammad Araheem Abaid

"A freshman from SCME, and one of my favourite things to do is take a cup of tea to the roof and contemplate the meaning of life. This might just go on to explain why 42 is my favourite number. Football is also the bane of my existence, even though my skills are embarrassing at best. And during my free time (as non-existent as it is nowadays), I enjoy watching movies and TV shows, as well as playing video games on my 5 year old laptop which likes to shuts off at inconvenient moments. And as is true for any Lahori, I cannot survive without food (which is probably true for everyone the world over, but oh well), and on any given weekend you can probably find me at one of the countless restaurants cluttering my city. I am also a self-proclaimed musical prodigy, even though my voice can cause permanent ear damage, and I am more liable to break an instrument than produce any meaningful sound from it. I am also an avid book reader (as is apparent from the 0 books I have read in 2020), and absolutely love collecting books that then gather dust in my store room. Comic books are another interest of mine, and I am a DC fan through and through. You have probably guessed by now, but I am a mixed bag of varied interests and passions, as well as large dreams and aspirations. "