It’s an old saying –we don’t always see the ‘bigger picture’. Here’s a story about a young boy, who struggles to understand the general public emotion and the actual story. It’s a worthwhile lesson for everyone, especially in times as tough as these.
A small television in the living room played the news, as 19 year old Kashaf sat in front of the screen closely observing every detail. Salim, Kashaf’s father, was busy setting up food on the dining table.
The news reporter on the TV spoke energetically, “Pakistan bleeds as conflicts develop between the political parties. Citizens of Pakistan take the internet by storm, criticizing not just the political leaders but also the armed forces.” A slideshow ran as the reporter continued, displaying various persons criticizing thearmy.
Kashaf squinted, lost in a deep thought. Salim approached Kashaf from behind and gently put his hand on his head, “Your meal’s ready, Kashaf.”
Kashaf came out of his daze and nodded. He got up and walked towards the dining table, addressing his father, “Baba, can I ask you something?”
“Baba, Daada used to say that our armed forces are our protectors.”
“Yes, he was absolutely right,” Salim nodded.
“Well then all these people on the TV…”
“Son, you can’t pay attention to everyone”.
Kashaf didn’t pursue further, as he walked to the dining table with his head. His father called out behind him, “I forgot to turn off the motor. Go ahead and wash your hands, and I’ll go see the water tank motor on the roof and join you.”
“Sure, dad,” Kashaf said, and continued towards his room.
Kashaf walked towards the bathroom, but stopped after looking at one of his toys on the study table—an action figure of a military man.
A memory of his grandfather handing him the action figure as a gift ran across his mind. He picked it and laid down on his bed, leaning against the pillow behind him, once gain lost in thought. Suddenly, he felt as if someone walked past his bedroom door. Kashaf got up and slowly walked towards the door, where he found no one. He shrugged and walked out into the living room. Finding himself alone in the living room as well, Kashaf went towards the main door and found it partially open. He walked out. To Kashaf’s surprise, a man in an army officer uniform sat outside, looking at the garden. Kashaf stared, perplexed. The army officer turned toward him and smiled.
“Why don’t you sit down?”
Kashaf walked slowly and sat next to him. The army officer pointed at the nearby tree, “Look!”
Kashaf looked towards the direction, at an orchard with a wooden signage that read CAUTION: POISONOUS.A gardener stood in front of a tree with a fruit hanging from it, pushing several people away.
The army officer continued, “What do you think is happening there?”
Kashaf replied, “The fruit is poisonous and the gardener is trying to stop people from picking it.”
“How do you know?”
“Because the sign says so.”
The army officer nodded, “But the people can’t see that sign. The gardener trying to get them to understand, but the people still continue to resist.” The army officer paused for bit, and continued, “The people believe that the gardener’s selfish, wanting the fruit for himself. What do you think, isn’t that right.”
Kashaf nodded. He thought for a moment, and asked, “Why doesn’t he just tell them about it properly?”
The army officer sighed, “Who understands by being told?”
Kashaf watched the people leave. The officer followed the sight, “They’re leaving now, but the gardener knows that they’ll be back. There is only one way for him to save those people.” He said, as the gardener plucked the fruit.
“What’s that?” Kashaf asked, his eyes fixated at the gardener, who ate the fruit and collapsed.
Kashaf gasped. “But won’t that kill…” he turned towards the officer, only to find himself alone. He was back in his room, holding onto the action figure. He had been dreaming. Salim stood at the door, looking at him in concern, “Did you fall asleep? Come on, you haven’t eaten.”Kashaf nodded and got up.
Back in the living room, Kashaf and Salim ate together. Salim looked at his son, “So, what were you talking about before?”
Kashaf shook his head, “I was just thinking that if we knew the cost of breathing freely, how many sacrifices are behind our liberty, and then maybe we would never have any problems in our country.”
Salim smiled at his son, as the two continued to eat.
The author is 19-years old , recipient of the Pride of Pakistan recognition, deaf peace activist, published author, columnist, short film writer, IT enthusiast, and a member of the Global Shaper community – an initiative of the World Economic Forum.