Sonu was a naive, polite, quiet boy but he was extremely observant. His routine was quite different from other youngsters of his age. He used to return from his school in the afternoon and after lunch he would simply head towards the rooftop of his house. This was not to fly kites like many other lads of his neighbourhood, but to gaze at the sky.
He loved sky gazing. He loved to look at the bright yet serene sky of summer evenings. Chirping birds, soaring high above the clouds always brought a broad smile on his face, almost as if he could comprehend their sweet tweets. And now it was his favourite time of the year, Independence Day. So he remained on the roof of his house till late in the evening and besides sky watching, he corded little flags in a string to decorate the house with.
One day when he and his best friend, Meena, were busy in cording little flags in strings, Meena asked, “Sonu, why do you keep gazing at this quiet and lifeless sky?”
Sonu looked at her in sheer surprise and responded, “Lifeless sky?”
“Na, full of scenes from your favourite movies,” Meena retorted sarcastically.
Sonu smiled, turned his face towards sky and resumed, “See Meena, there is unfathomable depth, peace and serenity in this sky. Unlike beings of this earth, birds that dwell in the sky are free from troubles. The sky has no borders or a security force but still its residents, the birds, are peaceful. They are not frightened of terrorism. There is no concept of violence, injustice or any other chaos. I wish I could fly there and live freely…,” Sonu kept on, while Meena listened to him with interest.
She always listened with patience to her friend’s thoughts. “But Sonu, birds are not like us. They can’t be compared with us na.
We, the human beings, possess heart and mind and can perceive life and its tone rationally”, Meena spoke smilingly in a soft tone.
“Yap, you are right. But I like birds and their world. Even though they are not blessed with an intellect like ours, they feel better than us. They are peaceful and selflessly supportive,” Sonu responded and continued.
“Sometimes I feel they are quite lucky that they have not been blessed with a selfish mentality like ours, otherwise they would also have been egoistic. They would be proud and greedy.”
“Well, you are right, quite right indeed,” moving towards the balcony Meena responded politely. Sonu also followed her and sat on a settee in the balcony. Meena offered him a cup of hot tea and sat in front of him.
Both of them were silent now. Sonu looked a bit sad. It seemed as if there was something on his mind. Meena broke the ice and spoke, “See Sonu, the world is very smart or maybe cruel, as you may tend to see it. Innocent people like you have to
commonly face failure. In today’s world you have to be clever in order to compete.”
“Meena, there is a vital difference between being ‘clever’ and being a ‘deceiver’. We should be clever but not a deceiver. People try to be over-smart. In order to pave their own way they make things difficult for others and discourage them. Compensation is out of question, they don’t even bother to apologise for their malpractices.”
“Yes, that’s the real world. We can’t change it,” Meena replied despondently.
“We can change Meena, we can!” Sonu responded in high tone this time. “See, that is the fault within us, especially with us the youngsters. We get depressed and become hopeless immediately and feel that all alone we can do nothing. We keep denouncing our nation and say that the people of our country are at fault for the way things are as they go against the law and behave selfishly. But if we observe, it is me and you who collectively make a ‘nation’. We need to mend ourselves individually.
Instead of blaming others, we ought to change our own attitude. We have to develop patience.
“If we really want to change the fate of this country, this is the right time. You know 14th August is tomorrow. This Independence Day we have to challenge ourselves and vow that we ‘will’ bring a change. The stress should be on our ‘will’. We can even change our attitude from this very moment. We collectively will bring the revolution that is needed, but it will be a peaceful revolution! Only then our life will be as peaceful as that of the birds.”
Meena got excited after listening to the motivating words of her best pal. “Your motivating words have stirred hope in me as well. This year we will mark Independence Day with a firm belief that ups and downs are a part of life and every nation must come together to take one’s country in the right direction. We will not lose hope and one day will make Pakistan proud of us.
Happy Independence Day!”