Human nature

At a fundraiser held by a school for learning-disabled children, a father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After thanking the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
“When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Zishan, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?”

The audience was silenced by this query.

The father continued. “I believe, that when a child like Zishan, physically and mentally handicapped comes into this world, an opportunity is created to realise how true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.”

Then he told the following story:

Zishan and his father had walked past a schoolyard where some boys, were playing cricket. Zishan asked his dad, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’
Zishan’s father looked over at the boys, and was reluctant to ask, as he knew that most of the boys would not want someone like his son on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

So, Zishan’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Zishan could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by 10 runs, will soon be going into our last over, with one wicket in hand. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat, if we lose another wicket.’

Zishan hobbled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His father watched with tears in his eyes. The other boys noticed the father’s joy at his son being accepted. In the last over with one run remaining off two balls, a wicket fell.

Now, with one run remaining off two balls, the potential winning run was in reach and Zishan was scheduled to be next to bat. Zishan’s father anxiously thought. At this juncture, do they let Zishan bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Zishan was given the chance to bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Zishan didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Zishan stepped onto the pitch, the bowler, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Zishan’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Zishan could at least make contact. The first ball came and Zishan swung clumsily and missed. The bowler again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Zishan. As the ball came in, Zishan swung at the ball and hit a ‘high ball’ right to the fielder.

The game should’ve been over there and then. The fielder could’ve easily caught the ball and Zishan would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the fielder dropped the ball, and proceeded to throw it right over the bowler’s head, out of reach of all his team mates. Everyone from the bench and both teams started yelling, ‘Zishan, Run! Run!’ Never in his life had Zishan ever run that far, he scampered across the pitch, wide-eyed and startled, but he made it to the opposite end of the pitch.

As his bat crossed the line, his team-mates rushed in, and hauled him up on their shoulders. Everyone suddenly burst into cheer about the hero who had won the game for his team.
‘That day”, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

Zishan didn’t make it to another summer. He died soon after, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Around the Corner

Ten year old Nooruddeen stared impatiently at the clock. Two minutes to go, he watched as the second hand ticked its way steadily round in almost slow motion. At last the bell rang and the entire school ruptured with the sound of squeaking chairs and running footsteps.

He sprang from his chair and darted for the door. He ran home, not even noticing the street cricket game that the neighbourhood kids had begun to play. When he reached home, he ate the sandwich, which his mom had prepared, and quietly went to his room to start on his homework. His mom noticed that her son was not really being his usual playful self, and tapped on the room door.

“Is everything alright? You’ve been very quiet since you got home.”

“I’m fine, mom. Just doing my homework. Please let me know when dad gets home from work.” her son replied.

His mom’s curiosity grew, but she accepted the response, and decided to start on supper.

The afternoon went by quite quickly, and the little boy’s father was soon home. Nooruddeen was out of his room, before his mom informed him of his dad’s return. He opened the door just as his dad turned the key. His dad greeted him with a smile; he knew his son had something on his mind.

As his father laid down his bag, and handed mom the bag of goodies she had requested, his father asked, “How is it, son? How was school?

Nooruddeen replied, “School was good, dad. I actually wanted to let you know that I passed the Math test with an A…”

Dad responded pleased, “ Good stuff!”

His son added, “Remember you promised that I could ask for anything if I passed well.”

His dad’s face cast a knowing smile and he replied, “ Yes, I do. What do you want, son, you’ve earned it. Name it?’

Nooruddeen promptly responded, “ All I want is to shave my head.”

His mom, who had been quietly listening to the exchange between father and son, let out a little laugh. The father’s brow furrowed, and he asked with feigned confusion, “ Err, what did you say?”

His mom heard him, all right, and began frantically ranting about how the youth of today were so impressionable, and this was only the beginning of worse to come.

All the while the little boy, listened, and waited for his mom to finish. He then repeated, “ Dad, you promised me ‘anything’, and I would like to shave my head bald, please.”

The father protested in vain, “ I know I said that, but I assumed you would want a bike or something reasonable, not this”

His mom then jumped in, “ You can’t be serious?”

The little boy remained unmoved, “ This is all I am asking for.”

The father stared at his son , and gave in, much to the dismay of his wife. That said and done, the next day, the father accompanied his son to the local barber.

On the way there, thoughts of dread were coiled in his mind. He could not figure out what they, as parents, had done wrong. He looked at his son, walking beside him…for the first time he did know what Nooruddeen was thinking. This disturbed him.

As the barber began shaving Nooruddeen’s head, he looked curiously at the boy’s father, who pretended not to notice and flipped a magazine. In less than ten minutes, it was all over. Nooruddeen happily sprang out of the chair, and ran his hand over his clean-shaven head, quite pleased with himself, as he went out the door and waited for his dad.

As his father stepped out, he noticed another little boy, head shaven too, and a man approaching them from around the corner. The boy seemed to know his son, and was clearly impressed with his son’s new hairstyle. The man, who appeared to be the boy’s father, spoke at this point to him, “You should be very proud of your son…” Nooruddeen’s dad was bewildered and asked,” Whatever do you mean?”

The man smiled and said,” My son was diagnosed with cancer and had been attending chemotherapy sessions, which caused him to lose all his hair. He had been having a rough time at school. All the other kids were teasing him pretty badly. Your son just told him, not to worry, he would sort it out.”