Apr 3, 2013

A moment of consideration

Often we compare our lives to those of others, and think how unfortunate is our life compared to someone who might be a complete stranger to us: artlessly, because we are deceived by the way we see them and believe them to be. We habitually forget to value and grasp the beauty of our lives compared to those we see and pass by every day.

A while back, a few friends and I were having a discussion about those kids who sell gums and flowers on the streets and wash car windows. My friends’ idea was to stop paying the kids because, by doing so, we actually encourage them to stay on the streets.

I find that idea entirely sensible. Yet my outlook and sentiment on the matter is somewhat different.
On that day I was encouraged to promise that I would no longer pay the kids on the street, so that they might give up staying there and begging in the unbearable heat of summer and the cold days of winter, and instead go to school and work for a promising future.

But it didn’t take long for me to break my promise.

Some days ago, early in the morning while heading to work through the traffic, my eyes alighted on the book I was reading when a young boy knocked on my car window.

His eyes were filled with untold stories, the palms of his hands were all dusty and he didn’t say anything or do much. He just stood there by the window, waiting to be paid a thousand or two. He didn’t even beg.
I tried to ignore him as promised. I tried to pretend that I didn’t see him, and that he was just a normal boy passing by the car. I tried to teach him a lesson by overlooking him. But I couldn’t.

I stand by the fact that paying him will only encourage him to keep coming back to the streets and beg. But, when I looked into his eyes, I imagined myself right in his place, doing exactly his task. How would I feel then?

Assume that he was a rich boy, but only used to the streets. Assume that his parents forced him to come to the streets to sell gums and flowers and wash car windows. Or assume that he was just a poor boy who wants to support his family. Whatever your assumption is, it doesn’t really matter.

Imagine if you were him. Put yourself in his shoes. If fate brought you to his place, if someday you had to knock on someone’s window and ask for a thousand dinars or two, but you found them completely ignoring you. How would you feel? Take a moment to imagine yourself there.

Hundreds of people pass by in those traffic jams every day. People pass by as if they don’t see those kids. They carry on driving to get to their destination; they rush to make a living, or just to meet beloved ones. Among those hundreds, only one or two notice.

I decided to be one of those few.

For Kurdistan Tribune