They are the change we are looking for!
It is a great pleasure to see our young generation turning the wheel of adversity for the nations. Especially our young womens are playing important roles in pulling the country out of moral depression by making great name in in the fields of education, sports, charitable work, business and media. They are winning honours on the world level, first Mala and then Raynia.
Women are always anchor of change, development and construction and this process has begun. The educated, shining mothers of tomorrows generation are here.
Good Luck Pakistan¬
Raniya Hosain, age 15, Lahore, Pakistan
Fifteen year old Raniya Hosain has been named the Senior Winner in the Royal Commonwealth Society’s 2014 Commonwealth Essay Competition. Writing on the essay topic: ‘Describe what your country has to offer over members of the [Commonwealth] team’, Raniya’s entry is the heart-warming tale of an elderly and impoverished Pakistani fruit seller who inspires generosity and laughter in those he meets. This, Raniya writes, is the embodiment of Pakistan.
Raniya is currently a student at Lahore College of Arts and Sciences in Pakistan, she attributes her success to the support and encouragement of her family and teachers, including her twin sister, younger brother and countless cousins.
The judging panel said: “The judges applauded this courageous, sensitive and powerful story which has as its focus the complex spirit of Pakistan.”
Team Commonwealth! How would you describe what your country has to offer other members of
There is a little old man who sells fruit around the corner, with a bald head, and eyes that have a
twinkle that even decades of tears for a son lost in a drone attack cannot extinguish. He sells fruit for
the best prices and has more need for the money than the rest, so the faithful buyers staunchly
ignore the fact that the apples are a little dried up, or that the oranges are smaller than those in the
other sellers carts. He sits under a giant, paisley umbrella given to him by one of his older buyers,
who declared that he looked utterly abysmal sitting in the pouring monsoon, his rough, cotton shawl
wound around his head for protection. The buyer’s name was Rashid Abdullah and even though he
harboured perhaps the greatest love and devotion for the fruit-seller he was not used to showing
affection so he did it the only way he knew how; with shared cigarettes, gruff criticism and
occasional gifts. It was far from ideal for his wife who constantly harassed him about being more
open and affectionate, but the old fruit-seller was perfectly content with this treatment. So, there he
sat in his plastic chair under his paisley umbrella, with sun-browned cheeks that looked more like
crumpled up paper than skin, eyes that were constantly darting around the busy traffic-jammed
streets and a nimble hand that almost always had in it a toy for the beggar children who roamed
around the alleys. Rashid had criticized him before for wasting money on those dumb toys but the
fruit-seller had smiled his toothless smile and said that it was money well-spent and what use did an
old man have for money anyway? Death, he would remark casually, was right around the corner and
his son waited for him in heaven. Rashid would blow air out of his nose and turn away to hide the
pain in his eyes at the thought of the fruit-seller dying and buy more fruit than he needed so that the
fruit-seller could have more money to buy his stupid toys.
In the evenings, after the call to prayer had been echoed around the narrow street and the haze of
smoke and dust had lifted somewhat, as most people had gone home, the fruit-seller would sit and
tell stories of the wars and of the village. The children would sit wide-eyed waiting for his creaky
voice to bring them back to the magic days of old and he would always comply. But one thing he
refused to do, despite numerous requests from the children who crowded around him every night
was tell a story that was either scary or sad. Life was scary and sad all on its own, but the stories that
came from it didn’t have to be. So every night the sounds of raucous, innocent, care free laughter
would bounce around the street and bring smiles to the faces of all the people on it. ‘Fruit man is at
it again. How he makes them laugh’ they would say via eye contact and shared smiles. There was
always one person who was older than the rest present at these story times. Her name was Meena
Khan, and she was a prostitute who would sit in her bedazzled clothes and listen to the old man. The
first day the girl came, the fruit-seller asked her why she wanted to listen to his juvenile, childish
stories. She had replied that she had never gotten the chance to be juvenile or childish and with him
she could almost forget the fact. He had never questioned her again. Yet when she would throw her
head back and laugh louder than all the children present his strange eyes would twinkle even
brighter in triumph.
When the night comes crawling in the fruit seller goes home, on his old bicycle with wheels that
creak and a handle bar that’s partially broken. He bikes for one hour every day, slowly and steadily
making his way back to his ramshackle hovel. He would always stop at the shop next door to buy
toys for the little ones the next day, and the shop keeper would beam at him from behind his bushy
beard and give him an extra toy for no money at all, for the old man was his most loyal customer.
When he got home, he prayed. His aching bones screamed in protest as he prostrated before Allah,
but he persevered. He finished his prayers before collapsing with exhaustion on his hard mattress.
He slept fitfully, until the first rays of dawn lit the sky in pastel pink and orange hues. He shook
himself awake, a task that got harder as time progressed and went to work.
I didn’t know this man personally, and I don’t know anything about him but the exact shape of his
gravestone, grey and worn. I heard of him, stories by the dozens, from all the fruit sellers that
remained. The people in the alley paid for the funeral. There were many tears at the funeral, none as
long and loud as Rashid’s. The children mourned for a veritable treasure trove of stories had died
along with the old man. But there is always sadness and there are always tears. The reason that this
man’s story stood out was that his life and the people who were a part of it ARE Pakistan. So if
anyone ever asked me what Pakistan had to give to the commonwealth, I would tell them this story:
The story of dried up apples, toothless smiles, stupid toys, juvenile stories, raucous laughter and
crystal tears. The story of our people, the story of our country.