Overlooked – The Artist of Life

I arrived in Islamabad a few days ago and decided to meet up with my sister, who also happened to be in the city at the time. Since the reason of my visit was a familial emergency, I didn’t have a lot of spare time but she arranged for a car to collect me from my aunts place. Making small talk during the trip with the driver, I started learning about him and was moved by a lot of things he said.

A few days later, I decided that I would get the full picture and contacted him. Equipped with a voice recorder and genuine curiosity, I set out on the endeavor of publicizing his journey through life. This is a summary of what he told me on the first day and during the dialogue less the questions I asked. Hopefully I do justice to his account.

“Originally, I come from the North, growing up in a small village near Peshawar. Without a doubt, My mother was the most important woman in my life growing up teaching me about some very important facets of life, from the basic distinction between right and wrong to intricate Calligraphy. Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, I couldn’t really focus on my higher education and so took a vow to make sure my children didn’t head down the same path. My brothers and I used to live together but they weren’t the most supportive in a lot of aspects and it was becoming a tight squeeze as more of us got married, so in the early years of matrimony, my wife and I decided to move onto greener pastures in the form of Islamabad. There we started sending the kids to school and started adapting to a new, faster life.

Naturally, the transition wasn’t easy. I knew quite well early on in my marriage that I would have to choose between the education of my children and a comfortable lifestyle. I chose the former and knew I had made the right choice as the value of knowledge became abundantly clear to me. There was simply no substitute for an educated man or woman.

So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when my Eldest son completed his undergraduate and knew my investment had bore ripe fruit when he went on to do his MBA. He is now a Project Manager in a well established NGO. My second child topped her batch in the “International Islamic University ” and my third one is almost finishing school, currently in Matriculation. I take great joy in the fact that all three were able to attain what I could not.

Of course nothing in life is possible without the core ingredient of hard work.

You won’t believe me when I tell you about the number of jobs I’ve had to go through. Initially, I worked as a Chef for a Colonel who hired me for about 8 years. My family had all their basic needs met and you could say we were financially secure in a way. Once he moved away, making me redundant, I had to pick up a number of odd jobs to get by.
I designed boards for shops in Arabic & Urdu due to my calligraphic aptitude and even wrote a couple of Pashto drama scripts. However, these jobs didn’t pay as well. We were barely getting by. Eventually, I had to settle for becoming a driver for an NGO and worked for them for a quite a while. But I never stopped tending to my creative side. I used to like sketching and painting, and decided to pursue it more seriously (on the side). Now, whenever I’ve accumulated a few pieces, I set them up on the roadside for display and if the right person passes by, I make a few extra bucks.”

PS. It would be unfair of me to not give credit to Brandon (HONY). His work has inspired me and several others to take a deeper interest in people around us.

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