The Myth behind Ivy Leagues, and how you can be successful without them.

You won’t believe the number of times I’ve asked a person about his/her dream college or university, and the other person would say “Harvard” or “Yale”.

When asked why, they would simply shrug and say something like:

“Dude c’mon, it’s HARVARD” or “Yale is prestigious”.

After hearing these answers, I usually just smile back and nod, but deep inside I’m face-palming with both hands.

You see, our society has a big problem these days. No matter what aspect of our lives, everyone is obsessed with brands. From cars to the types of shoes you wear, people are becoming more and more influenced by brands, myself included.

Some people are taking simple $14 headphones, and selling ’em off for $700 just because of a freaking brand name!

And these people are making billions. Sometimes I wonder if this is why aliens won’t visit us…

Unfortunately, this fixation with brands migrated to the college scene, with more and more international students only aiming for the Ivies and how anything less than Harvard is completely unacceptable.

Students need to remember that society shouldn’t influence their decisions. You need to make their own decision, regardless of what other people think because it’s not their life, it’s yours. Period.

One popular misconception is that people think that an Ivy League school will magically give them a shortcut to success and open doors for them. The truth is, that success is not contingent on the college one goes to, but the type of person you are.

Then why do Ivy League Graduates earn more than the average graduate?

Great question. You see, it’s not these institutes that make students hard working. The kids who are accepted into these colleges and universities are already hardworking, passionate, and committed.

That is one of the main reasons they are admitted.

Admissions officers realize that no college or course can change the type of person a student is, until he/she wants to change for themselves.

So they make a safe bet and get students who have already shown strong personalities and hard work and commitment through their academics, ECs, sports, or even through their personal story.

Here’s a quick note/excerpt from my book that fits here perfectly:

Start of Excerpt

Quick Note

A lot of people have the misconception that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to go to an Ivy League school if you want to be successful. This is simply not true.

Success is contingent on a number of factors, but the most important is hard work. It might sound really cliché, but there is no substitute for hard work.

The reason a lot of Ivy League graduates do well is that hard work and commitment is second nature to them before they even attend theirfirst class in their respective universities.

Once they start studying alongside equally hard working minds in these institutes, it only leads to a thicker shell and more hard work, resulting in inevitable success.

This is the reason that the Ivy League graduates do well. It’s not the institute, but the people and their focused minds that lead them to success.

Real-life example

Just look at Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. They both attended Harvard and they both dropped out.

Why?

Because they had constantly worked hard their whole lives, and once a revolutionary idea strikes someone who works unimaginably hard, success follows.

They both made a call that a university degree from an Ivy League University is less valuable than the ideas and projects they had in mind.

They had to choose, and they DIDN’T choose a Harvard degree.

Today one is worth US $76 billion and the other US $51.2 billion, so can anyone say they made the wrong call?

They had talent, backed it up with hard work, and success came like a moth to a flame.

End of Excerpt

The Prison debate team that beat Harvard’s debate team!

Yes, you read that right.

On the off chance you didn’t hear about this last year, this is a perfect example of what I’ve been talking about in the excerpt from my book.

A prison debate team had limited resources, took hours to research what we could easily find on google, and had limited access to typing and printing accessories.

Yet, against all odds, they beat the “best” debating team in the country.

The message echoed by these individuals is how one’s commitment to learning and exploration matters. Commitment is the key ingredientto success in life regardless where you are – Harvard or Prison.

Back to Ivies, the emotional and mental cost.

Another point I’d like to make is that sometimes it can get a little too competitive for the average Ivy League student and a person might burn out, or worse.

There’s a great article by The New York Times on suicide on Campus and the pressure of perfection, highlighting how much psychological pressure is put on students in these top universities.

I knew a girl from Iran who got into an Ivy League school as an international applicant, and she definitely corroborated these type of claims.

She talked about how the workload was overwhelming and how most kids were so relentless in their pursuit for perfection, that a simple B on a test could take them on a negative spiral towards depression. While some dealt with it correctly by seeking help and therapy, others lost their way completely…

In short, Ivy League universities are great but there are plenty of other GREAT universities and colleges out there.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s true that Ivy League universities have more recognized professors in different fields and that their networking hubs are much stronger than other universities, but that is just one end of the spectrum. There is a lot more to Ivy Leagues than meets the eye, and this piece just scratches the surface.

What I’m trying to say is that don’t be fixated on these colleges. They’re great if you get in, but you can be successful without them.

After all, even if you end up going to a college ranked #100 in the USA, you’re college is still better than 97.5% of the 4,100+ colleges in the country!

Check out my site for more related stuff!
And my book

Overlooked #5 The Arduous Test of Life

So a few weeks ago my sister told me about how she came across this piece about a family really struggling mentally and financially. I decided to investigate further and discovered the situation was a very grave one indeed and the family was in dire need of assistance.

We decided the best way to get a gauge of the seriousness was to go and meet the family first hand. Once we reached there, we started talking to their eldest daughter, trying get a feel of the household and it’s struggles. The family consisted of an elderly couple and their two daughters. The father, a 79-year-old man who used to drive taxis, had suffered from a paralytic stroke a few years back, and the family had struggled to make ends meet ever since. Even prior to the paralytic stroke, he had had a series of medical complications throughout his later years, including a heart attack, but they had been improved considerably when he was operated on by a local hospital (The operation paid for by the generosity of Sharjah TV).

Relief for the poor souls?

After the operation, the family experienced their first pleasant period in quite a while. However, this was not to be. The father was involved in a car accident which, unfortunately, undid a lot of the progress made through the operation. From that day to this day, the man has been in a brain-damaged state, barely talks, and is in a semi-paralytic state.

Eldest Daughter elaborates:

“Throughout the years after the accident, we really felt like all our work and headway had been for nothing and felt broken and shattered. To make matters worse, our father’s visa expired and every year we incur fines for living here illegally; The total penalty accumulated so far is AED 65 000 and we have no idea how we will even begin to pay back such a colossal amount. My sister and I work, but forget about paying the debt, we barely make enough to get by. I’ve only studied until the 8th grade and so I babysit the neighbor’s kids. After all, who would hire a girl with no educational background? My younger sister does a pick-and-drop of girl(s) from a college, and my mother sporadically sews clothes, but that is about it for the income our family generates.”

Options back home?

“We can’t leave this country and go back to Pakistan, as our house over there was destroyed in an earthquake. As of right now, the land and most of the nearby places are not inhabited by people due to the damage, leaving most of the land virtually worthless. I hate to to say it but we are indeed in dire need of assistance.”

Our proposal

As my brother understood the situation, he had a pretty clear idea of what needed to be done. He knew a few people who wanted to pay their Zakat (Charity) and would be able to get aid if we presented a suitable case to them. As we stood up to take our leave, My brother and I tried talking to the 79 year old man. He couldn’t say much, was sitting on a wheel chair, and could barely move, but when I suggested that he would get better once he took his medicine, he just calmly looked up towards the sky, pointing towards God. I know it might seem bizarre, but despite his situation, he seemed quite content and an aura of serenity seemed to surround him, as if to suggest he had made peace with God and this world.

PS. We are trying to ensure that the money is used for the appropriate purpose and so will try to make sure the money is given directly to the debtors of the family, so as to ensure the money is not used for any other purpose. If anybody is interested in knowing more about the family, my email is: walock1996@gmail.com

Overlooked #4 Orphanages and Destitute homes: Forever Unsung?

The picture above is from Kashana, A Welfare home in Islamabad. In the time I was in Pakistan, I made sure I to visit various points of interest. These points were not the type places you would find marked on guides or google maps, but sometimes you visit places just because you feel like it.

I’ve written about one of these places: The Dialysis Center, and I will write about another one today:

Kashana, A Welfare home for Destitute, Orphaned and Runaway girls.

I got into contact with the Director of the institute and told her that I was really interested in a visit, since such establishments intrigued me. She replied by saying she was pretty busy that week, but she could squeeze me in on the weekend.

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A look from the side entrance (Apologies for the blurry picture)

Immediately after I arrived, I wanted to get into the gist of things and went into the Director’s office. The Director, Mrs. Naz, started off by showing me a few of her financial books. She told me how she kept a register for all the incoming donations, and how she kept a separate book for the ongoing expenses the home faced. How government aid almost never reached them in time and how over the years she’d become a master at “Making do” with limited resources.

About the institution

As we started walking around the institution, I asked her about the girls and their nurturing. I discovered that the girls ate, learned (through classrooms built in the upper level), played, and slept all under the same roof. The home cared for about 200 girls of all ages, from orphans to runaways, and its micro management requirements were eye opening. While I was there, I saw the windows being cleaned of the house, and I was told the whole ordeal usually took round about 4 hours. This was most remarkably intriguing, and I immediately garnered more respect for the depth and skill that goes into the management of such facilities.

Challenges faced?

When asked about the hindrances faced, she told me there was no shortage of them.

“The other day,” she explained, “the cook wanted to play cricket with the girls. They let him play but did not let him bat. Not pleased, the cook threatened he would clean the wheat flour used to make bread with tap water from the washroom. The next day, I came to work and saw, to my shock, that none of the girls had touched their food and were starving. When asked why, they told me about the incident with the cook. I tried to tell the girls that tap water is still water, and I had to reprimand the cook as well for his childlike behavior. I could not dismiss him, as he was the only one willing to work here on our limited budget. I would increase the budget, but that is out of my hands. Nevertheless, In the bigger picture, Social work has always been my passion and I like to think we’re making a difference. A real difference.”

After concluding our talk, I thanked her for her time and told her about my admiration for her work. As I started walking towards the car, I thought about how hard these people strive for the betterment of others. These are the type of unsung heroes who help advance our society, but they are also easily overlooked by it. 

The “Oily” economic mess – What happened? (Broken down in 650 words)

“The price has gone down AGAIN?”
“What in the WORLD is happening to oil?”
“I’m really intrigued but can’t be bothered to sit down and watch an hour’s worth of current affairs”

Do any of the above sound like you?

If so, then fear not inquisitive warrior, for I shall explain this economic crisis in the most concise and simplest of terms. After the next 15 minutes (or less, depending on your reading speed), I hope you’ll have a better understanding of what on earth happened to the price of oil.

  • Iran Sanctions

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the better part of 2015, you’d know that Iran’s sanctions have been lifted.

“Okay, so what Sully?”

Well, Iran is home to the second largest oil reserve in the Middle East (Fourth largest in the world). This means that there are now 3 million extra barrels of oil per day in the market, forecasted to possibly grow to almost 4 million barrels per day by January 2017.

  • Shale Oil

It’s pretty well known by now that the US has a significant interest in the oil market, and it has maintained this interest for the last couple of decades or so, as shown by various shale oil companies emerging and starting to produce “Shale Oil”(A substitute for crude oil extracted from sedimentary rocks)

If you know a little bit of economics, you’ll know that if the price of a substitute good for a product goes down, the price of that particular product goes down as well.

For example, let’s say hypothetically, if you have Car A which is very unique, very important, and has little to no mainstream substitutes. It sells for a high price for a very long time.
Then, along comes Car B with the exact same features, but only cheaper. Logically, all the consumers flock to Car B as it does the exact same job for a lower price.

Car A is Crude oil in this scenario, while Car B is representative of Shale Oil. (Both are known as substitute goods)

Now, if you know even a bit of Econ 101, you’ll know that if the price of a good goes down, the price of its substitute also inevitably goes down, as the latter starts losing sales to its now lower priced substitute.

This is exactly what has happened with Crude Oil. As Shale came in with a cheaper substitute for Crude Oil, the world’s largest Oil consumer, the United States, recorded trends of people switching from traditional crude oil to home-grown shale oil. This inevitably led to a fall in the price of crude oil.

  • Little to no increase in demand

With Shale Oil and Iran’s Crude oil entering the market, the demand of the oil market is still, more or less, the same. People aren’t suddenly demanding millions and millions of extra oil barrels in their daily lives. That type of change would take years, perhaps even decades. So, once again, basic economics tells us that when supply increases in a market with stagnating demand, the price plummets. (Displayed below)

S-increase

Even China, the world’s second largest oil consumer, is curbing its demand of oil as it predicts it’s economic growth to start diminishing. Moreover, tighter restrictions by the Chinese government on oil consumption will further reduce oil demand, as the government looks to reducing the infamously bad air pollution of China.

My two cents

There are still a million barrels of oil being produced in excess per day, and the number is forecasted to further increase this year. It seems if the current trend continues, the oil market will drown in oversupply and we could see the price falling to $20 or less.

However, a lot of countries depend on oil for their economies, so I am certain that the governments economists will contrive a policy to alter this plummeting price.

And there you have it, you now know more than before about why the oil price acted like it did. And if you already knew all of this, pat yourself on the back for me!

 

 

The Fallen – Lest we Forget

7th January 2014

Hangu District, Pakistan

A 17 year old had just been reprimanded for tardiness and denied entry to class. As Aitzaz Hasan waited outside his school with a couple of other tardy kids, he saw a strange man approaching them. The man asked, in an unfamiliar dialect, about the location of the local school.

There are different accounts about what happened next.

Some say Aitzaz approached the stranger cautiously, and upon seeing a detonator in his heavyset jacket, quickly alerted his peers to run and inform authorities. Others say the man got spooked and tried to make a run for the school before Aitzaz even got to him

But all accounts agree on what happened next.

Aitzaz ran after the Suicide Bomber, fearlessly taking him down. The struggle resulted in an explosion engulfing both of them, and Aitzaz sacrificed his own life in the process.

He selflessly traded his own life for the lives of thousands. Not a single innocent soul harmed except his own.

Later on,  during an interview, his father emotionally says,

“My son made his mother cry but saved thousands of mothers from crying for their children.”

Truer words have never been spoken. Not only did he save thousands of lives directly, he saved the thousands of family members who would have been mentally obliterated had their child or sibling died that day.

The epitome of a real life hero: Aitzaz Hasan

He deservedly received the “Sitara-e-Shujaat” (Star of Bravery), the highest honor a civilian can receive. As the Chief of the Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif said, “ He is a national hero, who has sacrificed his today for our tomorrow.”

He ignited a bright fire within the nation, a flame that said the country would not back down against these extremists who seem hell bent on targeting and killing more Muslims than any other group

The reason I write this is to remind us all about the past and how we cannot allow it to be forgotten. After all, if the past is forgotten, it inevitably ends up repeating itself. We self-centered people are not deserving of a gallant soul like Aitzaz. But we can correct ourselves. We need to ensure that Pakistan does not need another Aitzaz to extinguish would-be disasters. We need to learn, and learn quickly for time is a great teacher but it will eventually kill all its students.

aitzaz

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life.”

Overlooked #3 – The Visionary Colonel

A couple of months back, when I had to go to Pakistan for my mother’s operation, I visited a Dialysis Center associated with the Pakistan Kidney Patient association. This center is specifically run for the homeless and less fortunate, in other words those who cannot afford the even the most basic of healthcare. My father and I have been in contact with the retired colonel who runs the center – A brilliant man by the name of Yunus – for almost two years now. In that time we have been fundraising to our family friends, school friends and acquaintances here in Dubai, and I was ecstatic to have finally gotten the chance to visit the facility first hand.

Speaking to the Mr. Yunus, he talked to me about his facility and the financial restraints he goes through on a regular basis. Since philanthropy has always appealed to me, such a project only fueled my interest further and I asked the kind sir if he could break down some of the costs involved in running such a facility. The Colonel happily obliged. Below are his answers to my questions compiled into a convenient narrative. Naturally, Paraphrasing is involved and the amounts have been converted to US Dollars since it is internationally recognized (Keep in mind the different parities though).

“I started this facility 14 years ago, with only 40,000 PKR (≈ 380 USD) in my pocket. I had no access to clean water, no staff, no beds or any medical equipment of sorts. Today, after laboring through the years of hard work, I finally have a facility that has developed fantastically over the years and does its job quite competently.

We have fixed a mini water filtration plant inside the facility (getting access to clean water is becoming easier in Islamabad but wasn’t always so in the past) through which water is purified in a 9-step process.However, this wasn’t a cheap endeavor, and the medical equipment added to the arduous financial strain. Currently, we have 28 beds in the facility and each one has its own dialysis machine.
Each machine cost us about 1.2 million PKR (≈ 11500 USD) and whenever a spare part needs replacing, you can estimate an additional 100,000 PKR (≈ 950 USD). To add to this, I am certain you know about the volatile load shedding situation here, so buying a generator was another (pricey) no brainer. We bought a really powerful one for 2.6 million PKR (≈ 24700 USD) and that is WITHOUT the fuel expenses
*Chuckles politely*. But, it was a necessary purchase and it’s worked out efficiently for us so far, so I am happy with it.

Naturally, we have employed full time doctors and the appropriate staff, but we have 11 full-time personnel as well who volunteer their time free of charge, for which I shall be eternally grateful. You see, we charge each patient 11 PKR (≈ 0.10 USD) per dialysis and 26 PKR (≈ 0.24 USD) for each blood test. Since these costs are so low, we almost always have a waiting list for patients and even have a makeshift GP downstairs to treat those who come in with problems unrelated to kidney failure.

Since we charge so little, our primary source of income is fundraising. We have absolutely no government support and the treatment bills barely make a dent into the overheads. Thus, due to the exchange rates, I urge all the overseas residents I meet to donate, even if just a little. For example, my nephew in Australia collaborates with his friends and each of them send 10 AUD each month (≈ 750 PKR), just like you”

The reason I decided to share this information with you guys because I felt that more often than not this type of work gets overlooked.
We NEED more appreciation for magnanimous efforts in today’s society.

If someone stops by, all they see is a building. What they miss is the blood and sweat cemented into the walls, telling a story of how one individual vision can change countless lives.

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No safe passage for Hungary Refugees

Picture This:

You sell your house, your car, and All Your possessions. You get on a tiny little boat, Risk your life while traversing the unforgiving sea, and cross into Europe, all for a better life for you and your kids. You’re making good progress, thinking you’re journey to a safe haven is finally making decent progress, and when you’re almost at the penultimate stop (Hungary) the Border Patrol says “Sorry, nope”.

Okay they didn’t exactly say that but you get the picture.

A lot of the refugees have no choice but to take this treatment on the chin, as armed men, water cannons and tear gas separate them and their destination. Thus, the actions of some of the younger refugees are quite understandable, as they resort to throwing stones and bits and pieces. Being told to go back* would have built up some dissatisfaction to say the least.

Brand them as Criminals?

The Hungarian PM, Viktor Orban, had the audacity to call these Refugees “Criminals”. However, in a different setting (Say, a football derby), it could very well be easily be classified as teenage hormones and that would be the last of that.

I mean if you’re going to put up inhuman and cold-blooded measures to protect the supposed “sanctity” of your nation, the very least you could do is be straight forward to the press.

The Hungarian PM

Mr. Orban, who has always favored communism and stood firmly against liberalism, has been denounced by fellow EU leaders before this and been compared with Bashar Al Assad, which is an insult to say the least.

His stance on the refugee crisis with this strict migrant policy against a Muslim majority refugee populous, has helped him regain a favorable reputation with his voters.

Somebody please explain to Mister Orban that IOM (International Organization for Migration) laws are clearly being violated. But I wonder who can, or rather will, school him?

Side Note:

A few days ago, Al Aqsa (A holy site for Muslims) was entrenched in bullets and violence. It seems like anarchy and chaos are around every corner. One must ponder, what is happening to this world?

*Back to Serbia in most cases, as this is the route most of them have traveled through.

Sorry Sir, Kinder eggs are illegal. But here, have a Gun.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Well like it or not, it’s true. Granted you’re not likely to find chocolate and ammunition in the same store, but I’m sure you get the gist of where I’m coming from.

Safety Concern

Look:

I understand there is an urge in people to buy guns for protection. But I think looking at this video will definitely alter your perspective if you come from a pro-guns school of thought.

Currently, approximately 320 million people reside in the US. 66.2% are within the age group of 15-64.  Theoretically, that’s about 212 million people given legal access to firearms (within 3 years for those under 18). I think it’s a logical assumption that not all 212,000,000 will have the right mental approach needed while handling these potential life-enders.

The UK

There is a rational reasoning behind the fact that guns are outlawed in the United Kingdom. Even law enforcement is not issued firearms.
If we look back at the States, One could logically assume that there is a positive correlation between the easiness with which one can acquire firearms and the highest crime rate in the world. Additionally, laws aren’t exactly making it harder for gun owners. In fact, they’re doing anything but that.

Every now and then we hear of a kid who shot up his peers in his school or University. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s purely because of open access and exposure to arms. Negligence and improper definitely plays a big part But If access to guns was restricted to law enforcement and Military, would we not save more lives in the process?

READ: Five States allow students to carry concealed guns on college campuses.

Now:

Hypothetically speaking, lets say you’ve had a little too much to drink and have a fully loaded 9mm in your bag for “protection”. You might disagree, but I feel that is a recipe brewing for disaster.
In Missouri, it is no longer a crime to USE a gun while intoxicated, as long as it is in self-defense. Some of you may think that’s fine but Pardon me when I say I’m going to absolutely question the judgement of a man/woman who can’t even walk in a straight line.

On the other hand, Why are Kinder Eggs illegal?

According to the constitution of the United States, Any type of edible that has a toy (or item) inside which is not visible, is banned.

Though I think we can all agree, it is perfectly safe for children over three to eat a kinder egg. Even if a parent illogically gives it to a minor under 3, the Capsule is too big to be swallowed and really difficult to open for a toddler.

The kinder egg caused 3 fatalities in about 40 years. Guns on the other hand? I don’t think you need to be schooled on that.

You in whose army?

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the poor Syrian refugee boy who washed up on the shores of Turkey. Reportedly, He was one of at least twelve Syrians who drowned on Wednesday. Incidents like these are now becoming commonplace. Just a few days ago, on the 26th of August, more than 50 bodies were found inside the hull of a ship about 50 kilometers off the coast of Libya. People are willing to risk everything as they try to reach safe havens in the form of Europe and the West. However, even if they reach there, travelling perilously through the stormy weather and unforgiving sea, they are not generally welcomed simply because their passport (If they hold one) is of a different shade on the color spectrum.

In fact, the very family of the boy (who washed up ashore) had their refugee claim rejected by the Canadian government, like many others I’m sure.

Most of the prominent authorities have condemned such treatment of refugees. But, judging from what they’re doing about it, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of them don’t lose sleep over the issue. Their job is to prevent injustice WITHIN their own countries borders, so why should they care for foreigners & outsiders? These countries and governments have their own agenda to tend to and it seldom involves helping out immigrants. We try to convince ourselves that our countries would lend a strong hand and help up the victims. But the fact of the matter is that all they do is condemn “this” and criticize “that”.

Remember the big uproar by everyone when Gaza was bombed? Remind me again what happened to those war criminals guilty of those atrocious crimes. About 2 million still live miserably in Gaza and approximately 75% of the families still do not have enough to eat.

People need to understand that just because it isn’t happening here, does NOT mean it’s not happening.

Before I end, I’d like to say that Germany is one of the few countries I can wholeheartedly commend. With 100 refugees coming in every hour, they are doing what they can to accommodate those in dire need. Their interior minister recently announced that he expected more than 700,000 people to seek asylum in Germany this year. And towards the end of August, Angela Merkel’s cabinet raised the federal support for local communities to €1 billion. Merkel is keeping the far-right activists under control as well, a feat in itself.

This endeavor of hers should be set as a role model for the other “leaders” around her, who have conveniently abdicated their responsibility. Bayern Munich, the dominating Bundesliga club of Gemany, have donated $1.11m to refugees. Even the German National team supported their governments policies and stood up against xenophobia & called for integration.

Even though this has little to do with football, I am overjoyed knowing that it was compassionate and sympathetic people like them who won the World Cup.

Overlooked #2 – The wife of Steel & Silver

I conveniently left out a key facet of the gentleman in my last piece.
His wife.

The reason for this is that a couple of decades ago, in the early years of his married life, his wife & children met with an unfortunate Hit & Run.
The story was so compellingly sentimental that a separate piece had to be made, no question.

The following is his account (Though, Not in his exact words).

My kids were very small, and the third one had not yet come into this world. It was a public holiday and we decided to take the kids for a day out for the day. My friend and I had recently exchanged cars since he wanted to run an errand over the weekend which required a bigger car, so he gave me his car which had a full fuel tank and, since man has greed instilled in him, I decided to go to a place farther than usual to capitalize on the complimentary petrol. However, Half way through the return journey the car broke down. I pulled over to the side, deciding we would take a taxi or Rickshaw back home since it was getting pretty late and I walked to the nearest man-made structure (A Rest Stop), about a mile away, to see if I could hail one. The effort was in vain but as I returned, I saw a group of people huddled around what looked like bodies. 

I could hear people muttering about a hit & run, and as I investigated closer, I was shocked to see the bodies of my very own kids, lying there unconsciously. I quickly gathered the kids, who seemed all bruised up, and started looking around for my wife. It was near midnight and light was limited, but I saw a body sprawled across a little further down the road on what looked like a broken pedestrian guard rail. As I came closer to the broken rail, which was pointing upward in a spear-like manner, I started fearing the worst. As the light from cars passing by flashed across her body, I almost blacked out. It was her.

The railing had impaled her left side completely. The spear-like shape protruded from her shoulder and a deep pool of crimson had settled itself under her, constantly expanding. Fortunately, a man quickly ushered us to his car and took us to the nearest hospital, though he presumed her to be dead.

She was in a very critical condition but she scraped by that night. I had to sell my car overnight for half its value to pay the medical bills. They kept her in the hospital for six months, and to finance it, I had to sell the little house we lived in as well. I was left with nothing but my kids, who had thankfully only sustained minor injuries, and Hope.

Gradually, she started to recover. The doctors replaced her shoulder with a prosthetic metal one. Her left leg underwent surgery as well and is now mostly made of silver.

Fast forward now to this day, She is able to walk around now, though she has to avoid being excessively strenuous. I do not think I could have had a more patient & optimistic wife than her. While others might have cursed their circumstances of having two of their limbs replaced, she prays every day and is grateful to God for a second chance at life. She also helped give our children a very disciplined and well-trained upbringing, even with her medical condition.

What I’m coming at is that the right woman can make all the difference in the world, no matter the circumstance. If I lived a second life, I would marry the same woman all over again.