Story Time: Crying alphabets

Published July 22, 2017
Illustration by Sophia Khan
Illustration by Sophia Khan

“Ali! Where are you? Have you completed your homework?” Mrs Ahmed called out from the kitchen.

“Yes mum, I have completed the homework and had done the preparation for the test as well. Can I now go out and play cricket with Umer?” Ali asked and his mother allowed him go out.

After an hour or so, Mrs Ahmed went to Ali’s room to check his work. Once again, she was disappointed to see his handwriting. It was getting worse and worse day by day and Ali was not making any effort to improve it either.

At the dining table, Mrs Ahmed complained to her husband about Ali’s handwriting problem. Mr Ahmed cleared his throat and looked at Ali.

“Look dear! If you would not improve your handwriting, then the presentation of your work will not look neat and articulate. Moreover, sometimes the teacher may misinterpret something even if you have written it correctly and this may have an effect on your result,” Mr Ahmed explained.

He then continued, “You know when I was your age, my handwriting was worse than yours. I remember, it was my final examinations and I did my best and was hopeful to get good marks. But do you know what happened?” Mr Ahmed gazed Ali.

“What dad?” Ali asked.

“My result disappointed me greatly as I received a ‘C’ in my English paper and same was the case in other subjects which needed a lot of writing, like science. I was shocked. Then I received my paper to check my mistakes and the teacher’s comments. Surprisingly, there were only minor mistakes. But my teacher’s remarks changed me forever, she wrote that the essay was absolutely awesome but she had a hard time reading the essay because of the bad handwriting and had been highly frustrated in the end,” Mr Ahmed smiled at Ali and then got up to leave, leaving Ali lost in thoughts.

After the dinner, Ali packed his bag for school, put it along his notebook on the study table and went to sleep.

But he soon woke up on hearing a commotion in the room. He opened his eyes to check if everything was okay, but as it was still dark in the room, he couldn’t see much. He turned on the bedside lamp and looked around the room. There seemed to be nothing amiss. Suddenly, his eyes fixed on the study table, where he saw something moving.

There were tiny little things moving. Ali was horrified, he looked closely and was shocked to see tiny alphabets live and moving around! Ali just watched the scene in awe. The letter G was standing and seemed to be moaning.

“Oh! Look at me, the way Ali has written me, I look like my brother C and it’s paining so much! He has almost torn me!”

“That is nothing! Ask me how much torture I am in!” the letter R cried as he limped foreword. “Ali didn’t even have the heart to make my leg downward, see it’s upward. Is this the way I should look? I am unable to stand straight!”

“I don’t know about you guys, but I am in a very happy position because I think Ali likes me,” the letter S gloated as he danced.

“No offence, but I think Ali hates most of us that is why he has shaped us so terribly,” the letter M said dejectedly.

Ali was ashamed. He spoke to the alphabets, “I am very sorry dear alphabets! Please forgive me! I didn’t mean to hurt any of you! Please forgive me for once!”

“Ali! Wake up, dear! Why are you sweating and crying?” Ali’s mother shook him in the morning. Ali sat upright and looked at the table. There were no alphabets moving around and his notebook looked intact.

“So it was just a dream, but I have learnt a lesson. From now on my handwriting would be one of the best in class.” Ali thought as he got up to get ready for school.

Published in Dawn, Young World July 22nd, 2017

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