What is Life? - Zeeshan Badr

in story •  last year

''People understand what life is at different ages. I was in kindergarten.
I come from a low middle class family. My father is a retired carpenter who served in the Merchant Navy. As a child, I remember how it felt when my class fellows would talk about buying expensive toys while I had to save my pocket money for a week before I could buy even a soft drink for myself. My father and I would go buy it together with the money I had saved and then share it with each other. Coming from a family of 12, we had limited resources. There were days when there was not enough food. I always tried to focus on my studies but it was tough. Normally kids fail because they don't study but I once failed an entire semester because my parents couldn't pay the fees at school. By the time I managed to make it to 9th grade, I was exhausted. I thought it would be best to quit and I even considered suicide. I thought long and hard; Would my death be of any good to anyone? Who would benefit from me killing myself?

I constantly asked my self questions and one day came to a solid conclusion. I decided the world needed me. I could do something productive with my life rather than run away from my issues. I decided I was not a coward. This thought was a total game changer for me. I finished school and was offered a job. It wasn't one of those jobs where I am minting money but a simple job in a mobile company as a sales manager. I did well and was even promoted. Everything was going great and then the saddest incident in the history of Pakistan happened when over 100 students in Army Public School were murdered. I felt my blood rush through my veins and knew I had to do something- I was consumed with a passion I’d never felt before. I quit my job and joined hands with Zeeshan Siddique, Director of Markaz-e-Umeed, a school for underprivileged children. I see my own reflection in the students that come to us as they face the same challenges I faced as a child. Helping them through these challenges is what I aim to do. I have finally found what I am meant for; to serve as a guide and teacher for children who come from low income families like myself and hope to make a difference in their lives. "

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