Where it all starts…. and ends!
Short Story 1: Sohaib and Sara on a casual night out, walk into a restaurant. When they left home, a very enthusiastic and charged anchor was holding a TV show on child labor. As they waited to be seated, the conversation continued on child labor. Sara was seemingly upset. The lines on her forehead spoke of worry. Sohaib, on the other hand, seemingly not as emotional, quoted number of children out of school, the live, the responsibilities and the deprivation. As they talked, the waiter came to lead them to their table. Right before they were about to order, Sara thought it would be good to check up on kids they left at home. So she called Amina, a 15 year old maid, and was relieved as Amina told her everything was fine.
Short Story 2: Ahsan, all dressed in a crisp shirt and tie, headed out to get to work. Checking the mirror frequently was part of the daily drive to work as Ahsan wanted to make sure not a single hair was out of place and the knot of the tie was perfect. “Bloody morons!” he exclaimed, as he had to suddenly slam on the breaks. The biker kept sliding in and out of the lane. ‘If only we could follow traffic rules, we’d be a better country’, Ahsan thought to himself as he pulled closer to the office. It was a blessing to find a decent parking space. Ahsan spotted one and he hurriedly went a few yards on the wrong side to grab the spot. That parking made his day and cut short on the otherwise long walks to and from his office to the car.
Short Story 3: Masood, talking to a friend from the same apartment building he lived in, said how Islam is a beautiful religion and how he was driven by what he had heard from his childhood. Specific reference to how it is important to know if the neighbor has eaten before sitting down to eat, he disagreed with many who believe it is about food only. He told Wamiq how he thought this line meant a lot more. To him, it meant that it is important to make sure people around you are fine. Masood said he believes that society stands to benefit if we all follow what is said, and that is, to watch out for each other, be there in times of need. Two days later, Masood’s immediate neighbor, Tariq, jumped off from the 13th floor and committed suicide. Tariq had lost his job and was not able to pay the monthly maintenance to the apartment management. That day, the person collecting maintenance charges was extremely rude to Tariq. He was told to start begging so he could settle the dues. All this happened in front of Tariq’s 12 year old son.
Short Story 4: Javed and Sana, a happily married couple, discussed anything and everything. Javed’s work pressure were often the subject. He would complain to Sana about how his supervisor was unfair and how he had failed as a senior. Javed felt his supervisor needed to take more interest in the lives of his team and be a little more understanding. Qasim showed up late to work the next day. A very important presentation was due which was not completed on time. Javed, Qasim’s supervisor, got extremely upset and told him to leave and marked him absent for the day. Qasim’s father had been unwell and Qasim was in the hospital all night attending to his father.
Short Story 5: Jahanzeb, a public speaker, conducted a one day session at a school speaking to young adults. The session went great. The subject was core values, themes which set good and bad apart. Perseverance, honesty, dedication and a lot more was talked about. Jahanzeb had many examples of successful individuals who never sacrificed on basic values, especially honesty. It was a long day for Jahanzeb. When he got home, he just wanted to relax after having dinner with his wife and his 10 year old son, Zeeshan. After they were done with dinner, Jahanzeb told Zeeshan in case someone came over to see him or called, he should tell them Dad is not home.
The disconnect between our moral standards and actions, that is where it all starts, and ends.
PS: All stories in this article are true. The names, of course, have been changed.