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Story time

March 30, 2013

Overconfidence blues

It was a bright sunny day in Karachi on August 14 — our Independence Day. It was Sunday and many students of the high school were disappointed that one holiday was wasted because it fell on Sunday. Khalid Aziz, a student of class eight, was one of these students. The class teacher, Miss Kiran, had asked Khalid to come to school at 9am on Sunday as he was one of the few students from the class selected to take part in the Independence Day function at a nearby auditorium. It was a very happy day for him and his fellow students as they boarded the school bus for the journey. They reached the auditorium and everything went well. The programme was good and the snacks in substantial quantity were the most enjoyable. All of a sudden Khalid had an urge to take a public bus from the auditorium to reach the National Museum where a special exhibition of memoirs related to the Independence Day was taking place. He sought the permission from the physical education instructor Mr Amir, to go alone by public bus. Mr Amir was a bit apprehensive, but Khalid assured him that he would be fine and at last Mr Amir gave his permission after consulting Miss Kiran, “But you must take care.” Khalid said he would. He came out of the auditorium and went to the bus stop and sat in a coach without asking the conductor about its route. He was very happy and enjoyed the ride until the bus stopped at a crowded stop and the conductor asked the passengers of Tariq Road to get down. Tariq Road! These words shocked Khalid as he was supposed to travel via Cantt Station and move towards the National Museum. His confidence started to shake. He immediately got down from the bus. Khalid was perplexed and worried, and did not have a clue what to do next! He wanted to ask some people standing at the bus stop but decided not to. He remembered his father’s advice, “When you are lost, try to compose yourself. Don’t panic and don’t show it. Ask some elderly and respectable-looking person for guidance.” He glanced at the people. There were a few women with children. Some young men were there, but he avoided their gaze and spied an elderly person who seemed to be ‘respectable’. Khalid went to him. “Hello,” he addressed the old gentleman. “I took a wrong bus for the National Museum. Now I don’t know which bus to take to reach home. My home is in PECHS.” The old gentleman said, “You did a wise thing by getting down from the bus immediately otherwise you could have reached so far.” They both then waited for the right bus to come. As soon as the bus arrived, the old gentleman guided Khalid onto it and instructed the conductor to drop him at the stop near Khalid’s house from where he could walk towards his home. The gentleman also gave the bus fare for Khalid to the conductor. Khalid thanked the gentleman and the bus began to move. In a few minutes, Khalid reached his stop, carefully crossed the road and walked towards his apartment building and reached home. The family was a bit worried and from that day Khalid learned that it was good to be confident but being overconfidence was dangerous.