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Azmat Khan
Oct 24, 2022
In Stories
It happened on the morning of Friday, May 6th, 2022, somewhere close to Sector 135 Noida. We had recently moved to this part of the world due to our professional necessities. As a part of my morning routine, I sometimes used to go to drop my wife to her office. It is close by, the road is quiet, there is greenery around and it is a slow ride in an e-rickshaw. That morning on my way back, the e-rickshaw driver stopped at a small juice shop to fill his water bottle. There they were, a young boy and a girl, sitting on the edge of the pavement, having juice from one glass. At first, I didn’t pay a lot of attention as it seemed normal to me. As we were about to leave the place, they boy waved at me, considering me to be a ‘firangi’. I would usually not do this, but because I liked his gesture, I got down from the e-rickshaw and started moving toward them, for some funny reason. They, I think, got intimidated at first, but held their composure. I got close to them and shook hands with the boy and in my colloquial dialect told him that I am an Indian, to which the girl burst into laughter, telling the boy she had said so. As I was in no hurry, I started talking to them, starting with what they do as the boy was wearing a uniform of a blue-collar job, while the girl was dressed in daily wear. This was the beginning of a wonderful 10 minutes or so, narration of love, companionship, and career planning. Suraj and Rekha, are a couple, got married last year. Suraj is 24, from Baliya and Rekha is just 20, from Ghazipur, it was an arranged marriage. Rekha was not happy and ready to get married as she was very young and wanted to study. Suraj, on the other hand, fell in love with her the moment he saw her picture, in his own words and had decided he would convince her to marry him. Rekha told me, she didn’t want to talk to him either when initially their phone numbers were exchanged. She had to do that under family pressure as her family liked Suraj. It was after 3 months of relentless convincing by Suraj that she agreed for marriage, but with the condition that Suraj will not ask her to stop her studies and would not ask her for a child. Suraj interjected and said that he immediately said yes as he was ready to do anything for her, both looked at each other with sparkle in their eyes and smiled. They got married, and Suraj also convinced his family not to ask for dowry, however, since Rekha’s father had already bought a motorcycle for dowry, Suraj has taken it from them and wishes to pay for it over the next five years. He works as a housekeeping staff in an IT company. Since the time they moved here, Suraj has got Rekha admitted in a regular B. Com course, so he goes to drop her to her college before starting his shift at 12 PM. They stop at the juice shop every day and have juice, one glass, they can’t afford two, but have half of it each, as the other wouldn’t have the full glass alone. They stay in a small one-room kitchen house, get up at 5 AM, Suraj goes to deliver fresh milk for a nearby dairy. Rekha prepares food for both and gets ready for her college. Once he comes back, they have breakfast and leave for her college, that is when they stop at the juice shop for that glass of togetherness. Suraj comes back, rests for a while, washes utensils and clothes and goes to work. Rekha comes back on her own in the afternoon and after lunch starts her studies for her Banking Entrance Examinations. Yes, she wants to get a job in a public sector bank, for which, she has also enrolled in an online coaching class in the evening. Suraj’s shift gets over at 8 and he is usually back latest by 8:30, then he cooks the dinner as he wants Rekha to concentrate on her preparation. She told me that once she gets a job in a bank, she will have Suraj quit his job and complete his graduation, which he hasn’t. He earns only 9 thousand rupees from his housekeeping job and a few thousands more from the part time milk delivery job. To arrange for her coaching classes fee, he rides his bike for Uber on his week-off, that day, Rekha cooks special food. I didn’t take their picture or anything to post this story on social media, I was speechless. She has taken my number though and will call me to get an account opened in her bank when she gets the job. I am not sure what is there in store for them, but I am sure, they will lead a life of their choices. What it taught me is that dreams, aspirations are not only those that are woven around attaining the position of a CEO or something in a huge corporate, but it is to rise above your situations and focus on attainable goals without compromising on life. May God bless Rekha and Suraj! 😊
Of Love, Companionship and Career Planning! content media
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Azmat Khan
Mar 17, 2021
In Stories
As I begin to pen this down, there is a barrage of memories that seem to engulf me all over. I was not normal, yes, I was not. I was born an albino- a human being who is congenitally deficient in pigment and usually has a milky or translucent skin. Usually albinos also have poor eyesight, so did I. The situation was worsened due to our family living in a small town where there were lots of superstitions & myths existed in those days, they still do. My tryst with these challenges became more and more frequent and vehement when I started going to school. It was an all-boys school and in those days your worth was directly proportional to the marks you got in your examinations. It is largely still the same, but things are improving. I had learning disabilities and I could not understand much of what was taught in the class, which was coupled with my inability to see things written on the blackboard, even though I used to sit separately from other kids, in front. This arrangement, however, was not because they wanted me to read things clearly from the blackboard, but because many parents did not want their sons to sit close to me as they might had contracted the disease, which it was not. My parents consulted the best ophthalmologists to help improve my reading abilities, however, the glasses I was prescribed, used to hurt my eyes badly and I used to have excruciating pain. Even though I was not considered normal by many, the treatment I received at school was equal to those who were probably more abled than I was and thus I could never match up to their performance, largely studies. On the other hand, I used to be very happy at home because nobody discriminated me there, they loved me and cared for me more than my siblings. My woes continued and because I was always looked down upon by my classmates, teachers and generally by people for my looks, inability to see properly, etc. which over a period made me stubbornly ignorant. I was losing myself, every rejection, disappointment, non-acceptance was pushing to become a loner- that I ultimately became. It was then, when MAGIC happened, or I should say, a series of Magics started to happen. Since I hardly had friends at school & I could not play cricket as I was not able to see the ball properly, I spent a large amount of my recess time in the school library. As I was usually alone there, I had no inhibition in reading the books from extremely close, for which, I was always laughed at in the class. My life took a 360 degree turn around, everything that was a hindrance in my life, I was able to distract my attention from those. As the law of attraction says, “energy flows, where attention goes”, I got the guiding voice tell me to shift focus, the result was: I could not play cricket as I was unable to sight the ball, I started playing football and in 3 years, I was the center forward of the team. I had difficulties reading and understanding from the blackboard, I developed my listening skills and started retaining everything that the teachers said in the class and I scored 64% in tenth board. It might not sound big for many, but my father was so proud that day, it was the first time I had secured first division. I didn’t have many friends, because I read many books in the school library, I started participating in all literary events, elocutions, writing competitions, debates, etc. and earned popularity like nobody else could, not only in my school, but more importantly in the major all-girls schools. I was often cussed at for my looks, I grew long hair as I entered Junior College, spoke in English with a twang & almost 2/3 of the college wanted to be friends with me. I represented my college at many inter-university cultural competitions and won many awards in dramatics, creative writing and more. The series of Magics continued and at the Masters examination, I scored the highest in my batch. There are hundreds of such big and small incidents in life that are magical, that I can compile a book about. My next role was to return the magic to the universe and again Magic chose me to be a mentor guiding the younger generation realize their career goals. I was the first from among all siblings to move to a metropolitan city, found a job, brought my siblings over & helped them settle down in their lives. The universe conspired for me on numerous occasions, whether it was to be a People’s Manager for my team and support them in everything they did or it was that I could do whatever was possible for my parents in their last years. The fact that I am able to put these thoughts, although random, is magic in the sense to have the ability to share my feelings with all of you wonderful, extremely talented people. If I were to conclude it in one statement, I would say, “I am not normal, I am MAGIC in flesh and blood”.
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