By Maj Agha Amir Ahsan, Sigs (2nd SSC)
When I finished my training and was about to move to a new city as my first duty station, I received a fairly large amount of money as stipend. I am quite a contented person, and thought that my new salary was more than enough for me, I also thought that, my father was still running that bank for me, where there was no requirement for any deposits but I could always get a cheque cashed whenever I needed any money. In short, I had plenty of reasons to feel generous, and doled out that money and my belongings to my bearer and valet etc. Feeling very happy on my success, I even gave away some very fine clothes, my bedding and some luggage.
When my father came to pick me up and saw the little hand bag I was carrying, he asked me where the rest of the luggage was, and gave a sort of an amused look when I told him what I had done with the heavier stuff. He very seldom gave us a sermon, his way of telling us something was a very subtle way where with his fine sense of humor he would create a funny situation, which would drive the point home. We also knew his ways and would always understand the lesson intended. So when I saw that amused look on his face, I knew there was another episode coming my way.
I spent the joining time at home and there was no further mention of the subject till I started making preparations to leave, and thought of making a new bed. Amma would always help me for my shopping, so she also accompanied me to the market. First thing in a bedding has to be a comforter, so we went into one of the shops and I went straight to a counter displaying the velvet and other expensive fabrics.
While I was looking at the very fine merchandise, she asked me, ‘Can you afford this?’
What do you mean afford, I don’t have any money, I thought you would pay for it’ I was not amused at all.
‘Your father feels that you are a salaried man and should live within your means’, she said in a very matter of fact way.
‘But I won’t be receiving my salary for another 3 months’, I protested.
‘I can always give you a returnable loan’, there was emphasis on the word ‘returnable’.
I let go of the fabric in my hand, and made a beeline for the counter with the cheapest bedding.
My father after that incident never helped me financially, not a single penny. At times there were grave emergencies, but he never offered a helping hand. At times I thought he was more liberal with my siblings, but that may have been for another reason. At times I felt very bad, but now I realize my father did me a great favor. When on that day I was made to pay for my bedding, the point was brought home that I was on my own and should not expect any help from anybody.
There were many times in my life, when I felt very desperate. I had married young and had five children while I was still struggling and had meager resources, but no emergency was big enough for me to go to somebody for help, not even my parents or my siblings. I took some loans of course, but only from the banks, and paid them back with interest.
Today I give full credit to my father who taught me that day to manage my accounts, save for a rainy day, and keep my account sheets balanced in just one small lesson.
I am proud today to have only relied on my Allah all my adult life, and I wish, I die before I become dependent on another human being, financially, physically, emotionally or in any other way.
More Articles by Maj Agha
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part I)
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part II)
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part III)
Rawalpindi, a City of Dreams and Demons (Part IV)
Letter to a Chilean Friend
The Chocolate Fairy