Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

Ali and Afnan were neighbours, classmates and best friends. Both were students at a private school near their house, across the street from their neighbourhood. So both the boys walked to the school together.

Ali and Afnan were very worried for the past few days, since the arrival of a new boy named Kashan, nicknamed “Shani”, in their class. Shani and his family had moved into the neighbourhood two streets away from their home, a couple of weeks ago.

Shani, who looked older than his age, would use his height to intimidate other boys; sometimes he would steal someone’s lunch and sometimes take someone’s pen or register.

Ali and Afnan wanted to stop his bullying, but both of them didn’t dare to do it for the fear of becoming targets by Shani. One day, they courageously told some teachers about this, but Shani was the son of a politician, so even the teachers could not say anything.

Ali and Afnan decided that they wouldn’t rest until they found a solution.

Finally, Ali came up with a plan. Ali decided to seek the help of his uncle, Inspector Sameer, in this regard. That day, Ali and Afnan met Uncle Sameer, who listened to the boys patiently and then said, “I am happy that you guys didn’t sit back, instead you are trying your best to stop Shani’s mean ways.”

Two days later, Inspector Sameer met the principal and Shani, and then Shani’s ways changed. All the children of the school, including Ali and Afnan, were surprised at this change, but none asked Shani about it.

A few days passed, and one day in the classroom, suddenly their principal came and greeted them.

“Dear children, over the past couple of days, you all must have noticed some great changes in your classmate, Kashan. I want you all to know and understand something that Kashan will tell you. Kashan, please come here and tell your class the reason.”

Shani smiled, got up, and steadily walked in front of the class.

“Hello, everyone. I’m glad to be here and share my story with you. I know that many of you see me as a bully, because it’s true, I’ve hurt a lot of you in different ways. But I want to tell you that sometimes, you feel like nothing matters, and you do whatever you want. And then, a simple word can touch your heart so deeply that everything changes.

“That’s what happened to me recently. A few days ago, I was called to the principal’s office, where I met someone who changed something in me. Actually, it changed everything.

“Inspector Sameer, who is Ali’s uncle, came to see me because of a complaint from Ali and Afnan. Instead of discussing the complaint, he talked to me and opened my eyes to a new way of thinking — using my power and strength in a way that could help others.

“Then he told me, ‘If you study diligently and consider joining the army or police based on your physical and mental abilities, you can use your strength for the country’s development and security’.”

“He asked, ‘Where is the strength in bullying and oppressing the weak? That’s the behaviour of enemies of the country.’ Just hearing this changed my mind. I understood his point very well, and I promised him that I would use this power positively in the future.”

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 18th, 2024

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