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“Saim, don’t go out. Things are not going well these days, try to stay inside the house as much as you can,” Saim’s grandmother warned him. In recent weeks, more than four houses in their neighbourhood had been robbed and a child was kidnapped too.

However, as 11-year-old Saim was the only child of his parents, therefore he was quite spoilt. He had also developed an arrogant attitude towards everyone and thus mostly ignored whatever his elders said.

That day, Saim’s parents had to go out of the city to visit a close relative who was seriously ill. So they called his grandma to look after him in their absence.

Grandma asked him to stay inside the house, but Saim didn’t listen and prepared to go for the cricket match that his friends from the neighbourhood had planned to play.

When he got ready to go, he bid goodbye to his grandma. This time, she didn’t stop him from going out, instead she just smiled and kissed his forehead but asked him to be vigilant and not stay out late.

Just before he left, the telephone rang and Saim picked it up. It was his mother on the other side, she told him to inform grandma that they will be back by night. He did so and then left for his match which was being held in the street next to where he lived.

After Saim left, grandma busied herself in some work and once it finished, she started waiting for his return. Every passing minute seemed like an hour to her. She was praying to God for the safety of kids playing outside.

After a couple of hours, the doorbell rang. When grandma opened the door, she was shocked to see Saim in tears and his left arm wounded. She tried to remain composed so that Saim doesn’t get scared. She calmed him down and then cleaned the wound and applied some healing cream and properly bandaged it.

Saim became a little composed now. Just then the doorbell rang. Grandma opened the door only to find Saim’s parents standing outside. Once they came inside and saw Saim in such a condition, they became worried and asked him to tell them what had happened.

Initially, Saim was reluctant, but then he began: “While we friends were playing, two men in a car stopped near us and harassed us to sit inside the car without making any noise. We refused, some of the kids ran away. To those of us who were still there, the men threatened us with their weapons. We were so terrified that we started to run while shouting for help.

“Fortunately, some people were passing by and they also noticed the car. The men inside the car knew that if they got caught they will receive a good beating, so they drove away. I was running so fast that I bumped into a pole and then a car parked beside it. That’s how I got injured.

“Mum, dad and, especially grandma, I am sorry that I didn’t listen to you. You were right, I wish I had listened to you and avoided all this.”

His grandma hugged him and said, “Dear Saim, you are very young, you don’t have any idea about the world outside. We are grownups and have been through your age, so we know a great deal of things that you have no idea about. But I hope this experience has taught you to listen to your elders always.”

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 11th, 2019