It is said that children are angels and the epitome of innocence. Who knew that they could also be the source of inspiration and change the way we look at the society.
Last December, I visited my cousins at my native place. The youngest of them was Faiza, an eleven year old kid. They daily chores were done by the maid, Nabeela and her daughter, Munira, also an eleven year old. The incident happened during Christmas.
It was Christmas Eve. The maid rang the door bell.
‘HO! HO! HO! It's Christmas Eve today!’ Faiza exclaimed, opening the door.
Faiza was always the first one to get up in the morning. Every day before going to school, she would sprinkle a mixture of varied grains in her balcony. She would then sit cross legged on the floor and happily watch the pigeons eat their early breakfast. Christmas was her favorite festival because of her fondness for Santa Claus.
‘Munira! Santa will be coming tonight. Santa travels all over the world and visits all children.’ Faiza explained.
Just then, Faiza's mother called out Munira to get to work as she was already late. Munira walked in quietly and picked up a broom.
Munira, who lived with her mother on the streets, worked in many houses throughout the day. She had never been to school. But she knew all about Santa. Faiza told her stories of the old man who had special powers. Munira liked listening to these stories. She loved Santa because he gave presents to children.
Meanwhile, Faiza decorated the entire house with streamers and balloons, decorated the Christmas tree with stars and wrote a long letter to Santa about how she had been a good girl the entire year and the gift she desired.
Faiza insisted that Munira write a letter to Santa too. But Munira didn’t know how to write. So Faiza grabbed her yellow writing pad and happily wrote whatever Munira wished from Santa and placed the letter under the decorated tree.
Next morning, Faiza found a giant box, wrapped in red fancy paper, near the Christmas tree. She happily unwrapped the present.
‘Wow! A Barbie Doll! Thank you Santa!’ She jumped around the house elated.
Faiza enquired what present Munira got. A tear-stricken Munira said that Santa forgot him as she got nothing and she silently walked into the kitchen.
Faiza questioned me why didn’t Munira get anything as she had also written a letter to Santa.
All I could answer was that perhaps Santa must have forgotten about Munira.
Later that day, Munira sat alone on the verandah. She watched everyone in the neighborhood getting dressed for the Christmas party.
Just then, there was a loud knock. Munira ran to open the door.
Faiza stormed into the house with a big bag of presents. ‘Merry Christmas Munira! This is for you.’ She handed Munira the bag.
‘For me?’ Munira unwrapped the presents and her eyes widened. Whatever that she had asked to Santa, was there.
‘A new dress and new shoes!’ She jumped with delight.
‘Thank you Faiza! You are my Santa Claus!’ The girls joyfully hugged each other. Both the girls dressed up beautifully in the evening and went with their friends to a Christmas party organized for the children.
Later that night, I asked Faiza how she got these presents on her own. She happily announced that she had used all the money from her piggy bank.
I was very proud of Faiza at that moment. She taught me that money was not a barrier for friendship. True friends always looked after each other despite the differences and could go to any lengths to keep each other happy.