Monday, March 30, 2015


One evening, Riwzan was sprawled on the comfortable sofa in his living room. He was eating peanuts while watching television. Rizwan loved to eat peanuts. They were his favorite snack. He found it difficult to shell peanuts and watch his favorite cartoon program at the same time so he yelled for Ali, the nine year old son of their house maid.

“Ali! Come here at once!”

When the thin, little boy came quietly into the living room, Rizwan ordered him to crack open the peanut shells and place them on a plate for him. After a while, Rizwan happened to glance at Ali who was sitting on the carpet beside the sofa. He saw that Ali had surreptitiously put a peanut in his mouth and was munching it silently.

Rizwan temper exploded in a flash.

“How dare you eat my peanuts? You thief!” He leapt from his sofa and smacked Ali hard on the face.

As Ali began to cry softly, Rizwan’s mother hurried into the room.

“What has happened? What is going on here?” She asked worriedly.

“He was eating my peanuts. He is a thief,” shouted Rizwan.

His mother patted Ali on the shoulder and told him to go back to the kitchen.

When Ali left the room, she turned towards her son. “I am ashamed of your behavior, Rizwan.”

“My behavior? What did I do? It was Ali who was stealing my peanuts and eating them when he thought I wasn't looking.”

“Rizwan. You love eating peanuts very much, don’t you? Ali is just about your age. Don’t you think he would like them too?”

“He had no right to take them. Dad brought them for me, “Rizwan said sulkily.

“Yes, he did. Your father loves you and he makes sure that you have everything that you want. He takes care of all your needs. Ali doesn't even have a father to take care of him or his mother,” she added gently.

Rizwan was silenced. It was true that Ali’s father had passed away recently and his mother had to work in several houses to be able to provide food and shelter for her three children.

“It is true that we employ servants to help us with household work but this does not mean that they are not human beings. We have to treat them with respect and dignity. You should not have asked Ali to do something which you are fully capable of doing, Rizwan. It would have been even better if you had been generous enough to share your peanuts with him.”

Rizwan thought for a moment and then hung his head.

“I am truly sorry mother,” he said.

“It’s alright, Rizwan,” she said smilingly. “But you must apologize to Ali as well. Didn't someone once say, ‘it is nice to be important but more important to be nice’?”

Rizwan laughed and went to his room. From his overflowing toys cupboard, he took out a ball, some old toy cars and a Ben-10 watch. He then went to the kitchen in search of Ali and apologized to him.

He handed the gifts to Ali and was touched to see that the toys which he had discarded long ago and never bothered to play with meant so much to the young boy.

Watching the joy in Ali’s eyes, Rizwan decided that it was indeed more fun being nice to other people than munch through a bag of peanuts.

Don’t you agree?

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