unsung heroes

Akeel and Shakeel are two young lads ages 17 and 16. Were they born on the other side of the fence, they would have in swanky schools, have had loads of friends and fun. They would have watched movies in malls, and gone for treats at different places. They would have their own computers, cell phones and tablets and God knows what else. I have lost touched with the ways of the young a long while ago.

Look at their smiles. One would be tempted to believe that they lead a carefree and happy life. Far from that.Wait till you hear their story.

Shakeel the elder brother is in class XI. A keen student he gets good grades and comes to pwhy regularly. Nothing special one would say. But that is not where it ends. Shakeel is the sole supporter of his family: 4 siblings and his parents. His elderly father has been ailing for some time and has stopped working. His mother a simple housewife takes on some sewing work at home. Many garment manufacturers sub contract work to women at abysmal prices. You would agree that this pittance cannot feed a family, let alone educate the children, provide the medical care needed for the father etc. It is left to Shakeel to take on the responsibility. But he is one of a kind. Not wanting to give up his studies Shakeel took on a night job in a factory where he earns 5000 Rs a month. In the day he goes to school, comes to pwhy and even attends our computer classes. In between all this he catches a few hours of sleep. Thanks to his earnings his family eats and his younger siblings go to school.

Akeel the younger brother pitches in too as he helps his mom with the sewing work and support his brother's dream: to see all the siblings educated! Wow! I just feel humbled. There are no complaints or recriminations against anyone; least of all the Almighty. There is simply a dignified acceptance of a reality that needs to be addressed and met in the best way possible without losing one's smile.

What a beautiful lesson! All I can say is Chapeau Bas!