Mr Ahmed was really upset. He was a business tycoon and was extremely rich. He was generally a very busy man and thus he had appointed people to manage his household chores. Today, he could not find his watch which was very precious for him as it had been passed down from his forefathers to him and was considered as his family heirloom. He suspected one of his workers of stealing it.

Adil, who he recently hired as a domestic staff seemed like a suspicious person. He was quiet and seemed too polished to be a mere servant. Adil had showed peculiar interest in his watch last week. Mr Ahmed called Adil and without asking him anything, accused him of stealing the watch. Mr Ahmed shouted at Adil to return the stolen watch.

Adil was shocked by such an accusation. “I am not the culprit, sir. I didn’t steal your watch. You can check me or my house,” Adil protested.

“You were eyeing my watch for a very long time, so you must have stolen it in my absence. Just return my watch and get out of my house or else I’ll call the police,” Mr Ahmed threatened, still believing that Adil was the culprit.

“I have not stolen your watch sir. You are doing injustice by doubting me,” Adil calmly replied.

Furious, Mr Ahmed called the police and told them everything. Rahim was the police officer in charge of the case. On Mr Ahmed’s insistence, he arrested Adil.

At the police station, Rahim asked Adil to return the watch and he would be released, or else, Rahim would beat him to get him to spill the beans.

Adil replied, “How many times do I have to tell you that I have not stolen the watch? You are just wasting your time. You need to go and find the real culprit.”

So, Rahim called his fellow police members. They were strongly built and were carrying large iron rods. Adil got scared and accepted that he had stolen the watch.

Rahim laughed and said, “Now give me the watch.”

Adil responded, “I have sold the watch, but I can pay its due price.”

“Whom did you sell the watch to? Give me his information and also the money you got for the watch. It was very important for Mr Ahmed. I have to retrieve it any way,” Rahim urged him.

“I have no information about the person I have sold the watch to, but I can return you the money which is safely kept at my home,” Adil said, to which Rahim agreed. So Adil gave them directions to his house, while seated with them in the police mobile as they left the police station.

They arrived at a slum. Adil asked them to stop at a small shabby house,

“You stay outside, sir, I will bring the money,” Adil said.

“Don’t play tricks with us, we will accompany you,” said Rahim.

Adil knocked the door of his house and then an old weary woman opened the door. She was Adil’s mother, upon seeing the police, she was shocked and hugged her son.

“What’s wrong Adil?” she asked in worried tone.

“Let us get in, Ammi, I will tell you everything,” he said.

Even though Adil’s house looked very rundown from outside, it was well-maintained and decorated from inside. There was a cosy sofa on one side and a cupboard on the other side, displaying a handsome collection of trophies which Adil had earned in his teenage life. An array of Adil’s pictures showing him playing football and receiving certificates were hanging on the wall.

“Mr Ahmed has accused me of stealing his watch and he has handed me over to these police officers. They would not leave me until I pay them for the watch, so please bring all the money you have saved for my wedding,” Adil told his mum.

“Oh my God!” she said and went to open the trunk at the far corner reluctantly. She took out an ancient tin box, which contained some jewellery and cash. She handed it over to her son.

Adil gave the money to the officer saying, “It will be more than enough to buy the watch.”

“You have quite impressed me Adil. How can you win all these trophies and still live in such a miserable condition?” said the amazed Rahim.

“I was one of the most brilliant students of my class, who excelled in academics as well as in physical sports. My mother got ill so I couldn’t complete my final year in university and had to earn money for her treatment. I couldn’t get any job. Mr Ahmed paid me more than other people would offer, so I had agreed and started working for him as a domestic servant,” he narrated.

“Forgive me Adil, for the trouble you are in. I will go and look for the real culprit behind all this. I understand that you did not steal the watch,” Rahim apologised to Adil after hearing his story.

Rahim had just finished his sentence when his phone started ringing. Mr Ahmed was calling him. Rahim received the call.

“Don’t hurt the boy Rahim. He is innocent. My son had taken the watch without my permission because he had to go to a party,” Mr Ahmed spoke.

Rahim replied, “That’s good to know. But sir, wouldn’t it have been better if you had first asked everyone in the family before accusing an innocent person? It wouldn’t have wasted our time as well,” Rahim was a bit cross at Mr Ahmed’s behaviour.

Mr Ahmed apologised. So Rahim took Adil to Mr Ahmed’s house and Mr Ahmed apologised to Adil as well. He also increased Adil’s salary and assigned him to work in this office in a more suitable position for a person of Adil’s capabilities and credentials.

Mr Ahmed learnt not to judge a book by its cover. Because Adil was poor, so it was easy for Mr Ahmed to accuse him for theft. On the contrary, Adil was an educated and brilliant person who couldn’t get a better job because of the circumstances he was in.

So friends, don’t come to conclusions before you know the reality and don’t judge someone by how they look.

Published in Dawn, Young World, August 6th, 2022

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