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  A story of brains, common sense and presence of mind

It’s a long time back story when people led simple life and helped each other.

Amina was a teacher. After her retirement she planned to see the places she had taught in class for so many years. She went from one place to another and enjoyed to see the important sightseeing spots. It took her months as she walked on foot by and large.

She reached a small village Spin Kali in north of Pakistan. By the time she got there, she had finished all her money.

She had not eaten anything for 3 days so was very hungry. She had a small cooking pot that she carried with her everywhere. She cooked in it, ate from it and drank water from it. It was a multi-use pot. It was time she didn’t know how to kill her hunger.

She was a teacher—-so had brains and common sense both! Teacher is always a teacher!

Some passersby saw an old unfamiliar lady making a fire.

Without taking any notice of them, she put some water in the cooking pot from the nearby lagoon. Then she put some weeds and pebbles in the pot. The villagers who had seen her build a fire saw her cooking something while going back home. They stopped and asked her who she was and what was she cooking.

She replied politely; “I am making soup of pebbles and herbs. This soup keeps young and energetic driving old age away.”  She further said that; “it’s an ancient tasty recipe passed down to her from her ancestors.” Amina then dropped in a smooth, round white stone she had in her pocket into the pot.

Amina told the villagers stories of her travels and the exciting things she’d seen. As the soup warmed, tasting the soup told them that it was coming along nicely, but, “a bit of salt would bring out the taste.” One curious villager went into her home and returned with some salt for the soup.
A few more villagers stopped by to see what was going on. She asked for some carrots, onion or veggies to add to the already delicious soup. So, another villager brought handful of peas, carrots garlic and tomatoes to her.

Hearing about a weird lady making a special soup developed interest and excitement among people of that village. Amina’s outlandish stories fascinated the simple villagers.  Step by step Amina made them bring some meat, potatoes to make the soup more nutritious.

Finally, the soup was ready and everyone enjoyed the tasty meal prepared for them from just pebbles, weeds, veggies, meat and other items. Thus she herself enjoyed the soup along with others.

Her stories and common sense made people friends with her. They welcomed her to stay as long as she wanted to in their village.  She stayed there till she breathed her last. She educated children and adults. She groomed their personalities. She also opened a school for children under a huge ancient tree. The name of the school was decided and chosen by all students and teachers. Our Future
she changed the outlook of the village and brought productive changes. She also educated the women and taught them many skills to live, love life respectfully. She’s still remembered with great respect and love

Working together, with each of us contributing a bit, we can be successful.

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My son often saw this old lady picking weeds, dried and withered branches and conked out brooms form the roadside or from someone’s garden. The scorching sun or the icy weather or rains never hindered her way.

Whenever he saw her near his home, he gave her food and some cash. He asked her about her whereabouts and why does she collect useless things. But the language she spoke was French for my son. But they exchanged friendly smiles seeing each other.

One day my son saw her on the roadside plucking flowers and weeds. Fortunately I can speak and comprehend some regional languages of my homeland so he brought her home.

She is a Pathan. What she told me was painful. She said; “I’m a widow. My son is a cobbler. He has six children. All of them are under ten years of age. Her daughter in law is paralyzed. One child is epileptic.”

“Why do you collect grass and weeds?”  I asked in Pashto. “We cook weeds as we can’t afford to buy veggies, leave aside meat.” She said.

“What do you gather torn brooms.” she replied; “I remake brooms and sell them.”I hate begging.  Life is to be lived and cherished! She said chuckling.

One doesn’t have to be educated to be wise, patient and gratified to the Creator. Her gleaming eyes and skeptical smile said so much to me.

Life itself is a living book of knowledge that teaches something unique and new every moment. May we learn and practice what it teaches us. amen


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