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It was a hot summer afternoon a few years back, along the southern borders of Pakistan. The air was humid and overlade with a homely scent of pollution and samosas. Everywhere there were sounds of people shouting, taxis rumbling, and vendors selling things at the local bazaar. The day was not particularly exciting, so we headed out to the local market. Things rarely ever changed in Pakistan, thus we always saw the high, rocky hills, cement houses, and dusty terrain from the side of a rickshaw.
We had been riding along, when the rickshaw suddenly halted. I peeked out the side of rickshaw and had just taken notice of the traffic light turning red, when I saw a scrawny arm. Startled, I turned my head to see a sad little girl, standing beside the rickshaw with her two siblings. Their outstretched hands screamed poverty, but it was the look in their eyes that will haunt me forever.
“Please miss, help us,” she begged. Teary-eyed, I had turned to my mother to get money. As I handed them thirty rupees, they stared at me in shock. Finally, the little girl smiled back in a way that suggested she hadn’t done so in a long time and left. Pleased, I turned and saw a young boy walking around with a bucket and a wiper. Suddenly, he stopped and asked a well-dressed couple in a new car if he could clean their windshield for 10 rupees. In reply, they yelled at the boy.
“Get lost, kid! If you don’t have anything else to do, leave us alone! That water is dirty, too! Idiot!” The man cursed. Scared and crying, the boy walked away. My sisters and I stared in shock at the man, who looked so educated before he opened his mouth. Surely, whether he needed it clean or not, he had ten rupees that could feed the boy for a day. Even when we reached the market, my heart ached for the poverty these kids lived in. The day dragged on and I’ll never forget it. He was gone, but the lessons were not. It was hard to ignore the truth when it was standing naked in front of me. My innocent eyes had shown me a truth that the rich and powerful among today us are willing to ignore. Ignorance is bliss, but if you’ve ever been exposed to the truth, it’s shocking. Truthfully, people aren’t thankful for what they have and forget that some people have nothing. Maybe the grass is greener on the other side; but sometimes there is no grass, just an endless desert of emptiness.
There used to be a time in history when one man cared about another. A time when a man didn’t eat without making sure his neighbor too, had eaten something. A time when love and caring actually meant something. Where are all these sentiments today? It is time we question the society which doesn’t question crimes against humanity. Why should we jail the innocent in a world of poverty and let the criminals live luxuriously? Ours is a world where bloodshed gives power, lies are told so often that they become the truth, and people are truly selfish. Only modern humans would leave money in their glove compartments, rather than give it to someone who can eat off of it for a day. The modern world may have revolutionized freedom, education, and technology; but it is very backward on a concept that even the most primitive of cavemen knew, a sentiment called humanity.