“Despite my age, I still work from dawn to dusk to support my family. Throughout my life I never skipped a fast in Ramazan. I wake up early in the morning, recite the holy Quran and then go to the mosque to offer Fajr prayers. After returning from the mosque I have a simple Sehri, a chapatti with a cup of tea. Be it the freezing cold in the winter or scorching heat of the summer I paddle my bicycle for 6-8km to reach the houses of my customers in the surrounding villages of Chakwal city where I fix their cots, doors, mostly meant for cattle pens, and donkey carts. I have been doing woodwork for the last 60 years and even at this age I earn Rs700 to Rs1,000 per day.
When Pakistan came into being, I was around 10-year-old and had several Hindu and Sikh friends. Those were the best times as people cared for each other. My parents passed away when I was quite young. Having no other option, I started doing menial work from the age of 15. I have worked in Karachi, Sargodha and Quetta. After getting married I went to Dubai where I spent three decades working as a carpenter. I returned from Dubai in 2001 and opened a shop in my native Odherwal village.
I have two sons who are not happy with me working at this age, but I take pride in my work. The best thing about having my own income is that whenever my grandchildren ask for money from me for candies, I do not have to turn them away.”
Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019