I know the kind of reaction I would have gotten once you read the title. Why, oh why, would you want to read about a regular day in my life. I know, it sounds so silly.
Which is why, I would never put you through the torture of listening to my ongoing complaints.
What I’m really going to do, however, is take you through a day in the life of young Zarina.
Meet Zarina. Zarina is five years old, and she lives on the streets in Karachi. Every day, she gets up at six in the morning, to be picked up by a mean driver who drops off little beggars all over the city. Zarina carries a little pocket-mirror with her, which helps her ensure that she has dressed suitably enough. Picking up some sand from her surroundings, Zarina hurriedly rubs it across her face. She knows that doing that will cause pimples later, but that would only add to the appearance. Zarina has now achieved the look that would cause a number of hearts to melt, encouraging them to drop a 10-rupee note into her bare hands.
After Zarina has tapped on every car’s window that came to shop at Gulf Way, and collected a sum of about thousand rupees, she is picked up by the same mean driver. The driver collects the money from Zarina, and pockets it, while Zarina looks sadly at the money she had collected. In return, the mean driver bangs Zarina’s head against the dashboard and gives her a grubby twenty-rupee note to buy herself lunch and dinner for that day. Meanwhile, in his head, he is imagining where he was going to take his family out for dinner today.
After Zarina is dropped off at the house, the run-down house she lives in with many others like her, the driver gives his boss two-hundred rupees, saying that Zarina did not earn well that day. Zarina stares open-mouthed at him, but does not say anything. She knows what the outcome will be. She will be taken into that room, that dark, dark room, and beaten until she can’t breathe. Then he will stop, flex his arms, and beat her some more. Zarina would cry herself to sleep that night.
The next morning, she would wake up to face all that again. Zarina doesn’t want to, but for her, there seems to be no other way. For her, that monster is like heaven, her saviour. He provides her with shelter, food and clothes. Zarina couldn
t dare to leave such a place. Getting beaten everyday seems like a little price to pay for all that.
Zarina needs to know that there are other options. The beggars on our windows, the ones who irk us so easily, they at times are way better off than us. If a rich, educated person cannot work to bring a child out of their misery, then who can?
Who then, deserves to be called literate?
Think. Are we really that developed a country as we claim to be? Is this what humanity is about?
Two minutes. That’s all it takes.