"He had asked me for new clothes on Eid that I couldn't provide him. He got angry and left," admitted the lone surviving terrorist's father in a recent interview aired on all channels. We all heard this interview and most of us would have felt satisfaction of finally getting proof of the nationality of the young man.
However the words had a different impact on me. My mind went back to an incident I had forgotten, one that occurred in early pwhy days. At that time we had a bunch of secondary students known for their rowdy ways. They were often beaten at school and also at home. They were the ones everyone had decided to brand as bad and yet they were in their teens. As school for boys only ran in the afternoons, they spent their mornings loitering on the street and often ogling at girls. One even was known to have a girl friend, a cardinal sin!
One day I decided to have a chat with hem and called them to my office. They came with sheepish smiles on their face wondering why I had called them. We spent a long time chatting and as they shared their dreams I realised that they were just little boys looking for someone to rach out to them and care for them. They told me that they wanted to own a cell phone (in those days these were rare) and branded jeans. They also wanted to impress girls (like any 15 yesr old) and had been told that girls liked boys with good bodies ad as someone had told them that drinking beer would help them get just that so they drank beer whenever they could.
I was touched by their candid confessions and regular teenage dreams that were just like those of a other kid their age, only they did not have the means to fulfill them. The went on to tell me how their classmate (son of a local politico) had all the things they wanted and how they envied him. One of them even confessed that they had been approached by a political party who wanted them to join the party. They would be given a card and then if they were in trouble of any kind the part would bail them out. And so it went on, dreams and ways to fulfill them and the line between right and wrong so tenuous that it became almost invisible. And the reason that would perhaps make them cross it was simply a set of new clothes!
As I sat remembering those boys, my mind wet back to another forgotten incident: a wall broken in Cupid's name and my tryst with the leader of the pack that proved how adults use tender and disheartened minds to fulfill their vile agendas.
And yet all these boys need is someone to reach out to them and guide them. Otherwise who knows what they may land up doing for a set of new clothes.