It is said that ‘Children in a family are like flowers in a bouquet; there’s always one determined to face in an opposite direction from the way the arranger desires’; The child who is always the naughtiest, the most rebellious, unlike his other siblings doing everything possible to bring chaos in the otherwise peaceful atmosphere.
My youngest of the three sons, Khawar, has been blessed with this annoying trait by nature. I remember looking at his report card once that said, ‘He is good in everything except English, Urdu, Maths, Science and Social Studies. I searched for the good on the report card but all I could see were red lines. The poor teacher was probably instructed not to give negative remarks so she had tried to act as a shock absorber.
Always doing against instructions he would usually do something against instructions. It was the month of Ramazan, iftaar time (time to break the fast) was nearing, I discovered that Rooh afza, (a drink) had finished. My husband called Khawar and told him to go and buy a bottle from the CSD (Canteen Stores Department) that was just across the road from our house. He specifically told him not to sway the shopping bag with the bottle in it, as the bag might tear and the bottle might fall. As we waited for him to return outside in the veranda, to our horror we saw him coming home very casually swinging the bottle, talking to a friend. As he reached the gate, the expected happened, the thin shopping bag opened from the rear and the bottle went flying in the air for a short distance and crash landed right in front of him; making the gravel red with Rooh afza, and he equally red faced.
One day a small mouse crept in my room my daughter and I jumped on the bed shrieking, my husband quickly closed the door and picked up a shoe and stood ready to strike at it when it appeared in sight. On hearing our shrieks, Khawar tried to open the door, ‘don’t open the door you will let it out,’ my husband said. ‘Let out what?’ he barged in and out ran the mouse like lightening. ‘Oh no!’ he said, ‘Oh yes!’ my husband said and threw the shoe on the floor disappointed at not being able to kill. ‘Why don’t you listen to what is said.’ But Khawar could only scratch his head in mock dismay.
Teaching him to learn spellings for a dictation test was always an ordeal. Somehow there was always one word that he would fail to spell correctly. I remember for one particular test I did not let him sleep till he learnt the last word. In the morning as he was getting ready to leave, I asked him to tell me the spelling of that word, ‘Oh that word, Mom, I will leave in choice.’ He said very casually, so much so for my hard work.
His most dedicated duty assigned by nature as a brother was to annoy and irritate his younger sister. This he performed to meticulous detail and perfection. Issues like she having a bigger apple or a larger piece of chocolate would become a case of unending squabble. If one saw the younger crying for no reason know that somewhere this little rascal is making faces at her hiding behind a door or a curtain. While going out in the family car he would sit with his arms and legs stretched making it most uncomfortable for her to sit. On her complaint he would innocently relax his outstretched arms and legs, make a face and give her space.
But despite his very nature to go against instructions and disobey just to annoy his father, he had this streak in him to fight the school boys and those in the neighbourhood who dared to challenge his brothers even in their dreams. When asked why did you beat so-and-so? His reply, ‘he was thinking of fighting with my brothers’ ….
Some are born with a silver spoon in their mouths; he was born with the halo of the lady luck over his head. It is a necessary element of army life that the children keep changing schools due to transfers and postings of their father. At every station the children appeared in entry tests for their admissions in the school. Where his elder brothers failed in admission tests he amazingly passed with flying colours. During preparation for his Matric exams I was quite anxious whether he would do well enough to secure admission in a respectable college, he surprised us by not only securing an A-grade but his marks in English were the same as that of his eldest brother, who had the distinction of achieving a position in the Board Examination.
Among all my four kids, he gave me the toughest time in studies. To be able to complete his twelfth grade was the epitome of his education. To him, life was very difficult, his two elder brothers were remarkably good in studies and so was the younger sister. A life situation that forced him to say, ‘It is better to be a dog than to be a third son in the family.’
In a sense he lived a tough life. He was not the studious type, in fact a street smart kid. Every examination was a nightmare to him. But he was lucky enough to prove every one wrong. He graduated in Commerce. But his ability to become a good human being, a loving brother, a dependable friend and a doting son has outshined
At one stage in life he developed an obsession to go to Dubai. And as I said he has a halo of lady-luck on his head, he got a chance to see his dream fulfilled. He is now settled in Dubai living a cosy life with his beautiful wife and three boisterous children.