The Library of a School Master : By: Ali Rasheed

The Library of a School Master : By: Ali Rasheed


It was 11 o’clock in the night. When Bilal  submerged in his thoughts of how life is a mixture of loss and gain. How we gain something at one particular moment and lose something the next moment. He wasn’t able to understand why humans are always looking for reasons to be unhappy. It is only when they are mired in self made misery, that they are truly content. It’s our truth. We may try to suppress it, but it will always find its way back to the surface.

“Why are we so materialistic? Why is our desire never satisfied? How can we loathe and envy each other so much for the sake of these worldly simulations” He murmured to himself, as he walked down the dark deserted street. He was carrying an umbrella over his head, as rain was pouring down slowly.

His handsome face, whose beauty was now tanned and roughed by the daily struggles of a middle class man, was visible in the light outside the building he lived in. He is a college lecturer now but is still called by the title of “school master” because he has served several years as an English teacher in the local Government school. He walked up the stairs and entered his flat on the second floor of the building. The flat was small but fair enough for a late bachelor, school master. The main room was furnished, cheap but fine, walls had an intricate floral design, paintings of local artists were all over the back wall in front of the TV station. One thing particularly attractive in the room were the two bookshelves on either side of the TV station. Bilal calls it his library. He stood in front of the shelves for a moment, then sat on the sofa as usual and turned on the TV. He didn’t find anything of his interest, so he turned it off and putting both his hands on his face he sighed.

It was earlier that evening when Bilal had a chance to meet up with his old college mates. They were all gathered at Mr. Shams’ mansion. Mr. Shams is a wealthy architect. He looked somehow fairer to Bilal than he was once. Before dinner they were all sitting in the study of the house discussing the usual politics. The room was expensively furnished. Expensive paintings hung all over the place, but the thing which grabbed Bilal’s special attention were the huge splendid bookshelves covering three of the walls. He knew Shams was never engaged in reading and the library was just a way of showing off wealth, but he still complimented on the library’s grandeur which Shams accepted with a smile.

The sight of the library derived his thoughts nearly 16 years ago, when they were all intermediate students. He remembered how his father was always furious at his admiration of literature. His father used to convince him continuously to give up on his literary interests, and focus on his studies. He remembered how the old man always used to say “Once you have completed your degree in engineering, I wouldn’t mind if you buy books of your first three salaries or even buy more than 50 books per month”

Ah! This materialism in education was always an unanswered question to him. He knows that this does nothing but make us greedy, for getting more and more marks. People working for the top positions are never satisfied with what they achieve. What is life? It’s just a chest of toys and we are children playing with it. We get our share of stuff and time. Then the chest is closed caring for no emotions at all. This materialistic greed has developed a competition among the students, for the top most position for which they can risk their life and character.

We look down upon the one weaker than us and loath the one stronger than us.

Bilal always believed that this competition is responsible for all the lies being made, all the cheatings and frauds being attempted and all the addictions of power, money and fame. How contradictory are we? At one point we advise our children to love each other as brothers and sisters, but at the same time we tell them to compete with each other, to work day and night and be better than others. To loath and envy. It’s a never ending cycle. First we work hard and long for something and after actually achieving it makes us feel daft and empty. We find ourselves emotionally back where we started and try to achieve the next biggest target. Looking for satisfaction outside instead of being satisfied with ourselves.

Why? Why? We are not satisfied? Why our relationships are not satisfying enough? Why are we not successful enough? Why we don’t have the things we crave for? All these questions have no answers, they only make us look inwards with chronic dissatisfaction and outwards with envy.

Still when the desires of humanity are never satisfied. Bilal was satisfied. Because he has made the right decisions at the right time. He was proud! Proud to be grateful! Proud to be a man of gratitude! He knows that you don’t need to have constant good experiences to be happy in life nor a vast array of self improvement products. Happiness comes from within. By showing gratitude towards the little you have.

We men are weak, incomplete and inferior beings bound by those above us. Sometimes through oceans. Sometimes through borders. Sometimes by greed. Sometimes by conscience. But we men defy it and boast of our sensibilities. We render ourselves a more necessary being and then are blown by any wind that blows and by any trend that passes.


However as his parents desired he gave the university test for the top most engineering university of the country and he passed. But at the last moment he kicked the opportunity and decided to follow his heart and what he felt passion for. He knows his little library might not have the same influence nor the value as his friend’s library. But he was satisfied, because he had made the right decisions. He knows life might be futile and tragic. But still it gives us love and allies. We can still claw forward and hope, to seek beauty and happiness. Because it’s worth it, to choose and continue to choose and keep being chosen.



GCU Lahore Tower Image

GCU Lahore Tower Image

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