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The Things Money Can't Buy
Qandeel Ahmed (Al-Khobar)

Everyone knows that love is something that money can't buy. But I
think that there is something more precious then that, which money can't
buy. Don't believe me? Let me explain.
I'm in Pakistan, in Lahore, a big city. Also one of the more advanced
cities of Pakistan. People dream of coming to Lahore and making a future.
What do you see? Skyscrapers, big homes, humongous streets, a historical
monument, on the corner of the road, happy children playing in parks,
parents talking to one another, friends arguing over a good book. No, not at
all. I see, little kids wearing hardly any clothes, trying to sell me
flowers for 2 rupees. I see women with young children begging for money, I
see old men on crutches stopping every other car, also begging for money.
This is what everyone who goes down these roads sees. But most of the
people have become immune to the beggars, and flower sellers. They don't
notice them anymore, and don't think of them as a nuisance because they
simply turn their heads away and make a living person disappear.
But mine is a different story. I see in all of these little children, a lawyer, a doctor, a pilot, a teacher. I see a future, which they, themselves do not see. They do not see it because they know that they have no hope of getting out of the vicious circle of child labor.
I am not like one of the other drivers of big cars. I cannot turn my head away. I cannot pretend I do not see. I have a heart in my chest, which beats for these helpless children when I see them.
I have a dream. I am no Einstein, or Newton. I probably don't have the
brains for the kind of dreams I see, but I definitely have the will, and the
heart. I feel a surge of courage for myself, and a surge of love and support
go through me for these children. I stop my car, look at a child who is
trying to sell me flowers, I open the door of my car, am about to reach out
to him, maybe mine will be the first helpful loving hand that will reach out
to him. I stop, cars around me are honking their horns, and people are
getting impatient. No one wants to wait for a sentimental fool like me. I
look at the child, he looks at me. I see the sincerity of the little brown
eyes. I see the brightness of anticipation in them for a minute, then gone,
as I force my self with a wounded heart back into my car.
I am also a normal, ignorant human, on the big roads of the big city.
Another heartless person, who for an instant felt something like pain and
love for another, but then, I return to my own splendor, I cannot forget
that exposing myself with this child in public, will ruin my resplendence;
yes just another unfeeling individual.
There are some things that money can't buy. I just bargained, getting
nothing but loss.

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