A Work to Do.

by Zoha Javed.

I'm standing by a palm tree which towers so high I have to squint to catch sight of its top. I'm going to a party. I'm wearing a long satin dress, its neckline encased in precious iridescent pearls. My sumptuous high-heeled shoes give a rich sight. I walk across the road towards my black BMW. It's door is held open by one of my servants. I'm some distance away just when I hear a strangling painful cry. I yank around my head to see who has shouted. Perhaps I can be of some use. A few yards away, lay a limp body, sprawled at the corner of the road. Despite my state, I walk to the slumped body, only to find there a ragged woman in tattered clothes covered in grime. Her eyes have a weary look about them. I crouch down beside her, coax her in a sitting position and ask her what is troubling her. She answers in such a croaking voice that shows how weak is she, that she's dying of hunger and her children are to meet the same fate. I order my servant to take her to the car.Once I'm sitting beside her, I can't help looking at her. Her thin wrist and twisted bones are too prominent. I'm hating my luxurious dress in front of her ragged ones. I feel guilty. At one side are these people, starving and so poor and on the other side we, so well-fed and rich enough to survive.Actually too much rich.?We're going to her place after buying loads of food. Just to overcome my guilt, maybe, I'm getting too generous. But that suits me. The woman tells the driver the path to her house. The car comes to a halt. I get out of the car. I look ahead where I may find the house of the woman. Well, the word house is actually exaggerating. It's a grotesque hut. Small and shabby. Three tiny children make their way out of the hut to meet their mother, crying only one word. Food. Suddenly I feel relieved. The corners of my mouth twitch up. The thought that I have brought them food fills me with happiness. I gesture to my driver and servant with my hand to bring the loaded bags of food. The sight of food fetches cheeriness to children. They act mad and giddy. They gorge themselves right off. While I consider them, I hear sound of shuffling feet. Many children seem to be coming towards the food hungrily like hawks. Their pleading eyes melt my heart. They approach me and beg for food. The woman's children have no tinge of arrogance in themselves so they share up food with the other children. Many women and men have come out as well looking satisfied as they see their children stuffing themselves with food without any one stopping them. Many of them look at me with gratitude and smile. I turn around and ask the driver and servant to bring more food and clothes and whatever useful they can get, handing them lots of pounds. The children stare at my car as it vanishes away. It's late presence almost felt alien.I sit down at the nearby boulder, looking at the kids. Their faces dull and dirty as well as their clothes. I look around at the place. It feels nauseous. It's such a dingy place with stinking reek. A small vile pond there. A pile of garbage here. My mouth hangs, I notice. I shut it up quickly and find a small little girl looking at me. Her thin stature, big fresh green eyes gives her a look that make her appear like a strange cute doll. I wave my hand at her and smile at her which she doesn't return. She looks away. Of course I'm despicable. I'm a nasty little bit of thing among them with my dress and shoes and jewelry. I'm hate-able. Her demanding eyes tell me what I am.And then I stand up and I don't know what makes me walk through the kids. Ruffling the hair of a little laughing boy. Patting the back of a giggling little girl. I divide my jewelry among the eager women. I reassure the kids that more bounties are coming at which they applaud. Then I begin to tell them a story. Then a poem. Then we all make a circle and swirl around. The kids clap and laugh and jump around happily. I forget about the party I have to attend because the party I'm currently attending is worth more significant. The jarring chaos of laughter and shrieks deafen me. And it turned out to be that the BMW is back. The shrieking children run to the car like a swarm of bees towards an impostor. Soon I load my hands with toys and clothes and food. Giving them to the desperate children emits tremendous bliss. I spend about three hours with them. When finally I announce my departure, the children become sadder. Maybe because according to their point of view, as long as I'm here hope is here. I promise that I'll return the next day. Only that shut their pleading. So I guess my speculation was in no way wrong. But then who can blame them?Sleep isn't coming tonight, I tell myself. I toss and turn in bed repeatedly to grasp a deep slumber. But it doesn't come. I stare up at the feeling. My mind conquered by those children faces. Pitiful. Miserable. What am I? I ask my self this question repeatedly. No answer. Just remorse. These people are the real ones. The poor. They suffer but they know how to dwell on. They actually know how to live on even in terrible circumstances. We're nothing without them. They are our backbone. Who clean our big houses? Sweep the floors, get rid of webs? Do the dishes? Do the washrooms? Long long roads which we fine clean always? The gutters? The garbage from our houses, who collects them? Who? The poor. And we, well fed, stable and rich. Why our hands are confided? Why can we not pass on a few of our wealth to them? Why are we abstained to help them? What are we? We're helpless and worthless without these poor who belong to the low cast. These people posses an enormous respect and power which we so easily overlook! Our dresses, cars, shoes and wealth... standard... we're nothing, almost meaningless unless we give meaning to them! I hate myself right now! What am I? A girl who always like to look gorgeous and dazzling with superb possessions! Guilt, remorse, grief, hatred, ferocity at my silliness... everything dawns on me. No more would I be a git to consider being up to date and fashion. Let's get the hell out of here! Now I'm gonna be the one who will help the poor, live for them, understand them. Provide them shelter and education facilities.I'll make a good use of my wealth. Institution. I'll make a institution for their aid. I, an aimless girl, will finally have an aim. And I'm really dizzy with happiness that I can be golden.We should help the poor at any cost.Without them we're Nothing.

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