Areeha Ijaz

Areeha Ijaz

Let's make this world a better place to live in...
Areeha Ijaz

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The bright, golden sun blazed upon Ali as he swept the floor with a mop, longer than his own height. The flaming hot, dusty winds made his eyes shut and tears rolled down his plump cheeks as he was not able to work anymore.

Ali worked as a sweeper in this art gallery for the past two years. Sadness took hold of his soul as he saw other children indulge in playful activities and eat what they desired. Then again, he remembered the words of his poor mother, which rung in the auditorium of his little brain like a church bell and the voice echoed, “Always work hard and never desire, for things which are not made for us because unfortunately, your fault is that you are born in a black family and we are judged by the colour of our skin and not by the content of our character. This is how it has been previously and will always stay the same. Rules are there to be followed and are not to be questioned. Ever!”

These depressed thoughts made Ali bow down his head with sorrowful eyes and continue his mundane routine. As Ali swept the floors outside the classrooms, from the corner of his eyes he peeked into the classrooms. His eyes caught hold of colourful paintings and drawings made by children. The radiant glow of his eyes flickered and he saw children colouring and painting.

Ali loved to paint and colour as this enabled him to portray his feelings and melancholic emotions in a singular picture. As Ali gazed at the paintings from outside the classroom, suddenly a high, pitched voice shouted at him, “You worthless human being! Make your way out of here!” Terror engulfed Ali and he staggered as he left the corridor, hastily.

The sun was hidden behind the thick, grey blanket of clouds. The morning was wet and breezy. Light breeze made the leaves dance in the air and the sparrows sung the morning lullaby. Ali sat on the muddy floor with his legs crossed and gazed at the empty playground. He always enjoyed the weekends as it was a holiday and he was permitted by the administration to glance at the swings only during these days.

As Ali was dusting the bookshelves, he saw the door of the art room half open. His eyes glittered and happiness flowed in his skin like the rays of an early summer sun. He moved towards the door with curiosity in his eyes and found the usual instruction written on it, “Tom Riddle’s Art room: No dark-skinned children allowed.” He knew about the repercussions of entering the art room of a white student, but his aspiration led him inside. Paintings, sculptures, drawings and artwork filled the room with an array of colours and shapes, love and emotions, aspiring dreams and beaming hopes.

Ali picked up his favourite red crayon and coloured on a yellowish page that rested on the floor. In a matter of moments, he was on cloud nine. His smile widened and eyes flickered with happiness as he passionately coloured the page red. Suddenly, the door creaked open behind him and he stood up, immediately.

“What are you searching for in his room? You have no right to be here.”, said the Principle. Ali stood there speechless and disconsolate. He was thrown out of the premises. Tears welled up in his eyes as he made his way back home. With no slippers on his feet and clothes covered with mud and dirt, he did not know where he is going but he kept walking. The heart-wrenching realization that his race would never be respected in America made him despondent. Thoughts clouded his brain as he walked in the dark and lonely streets searching for comfort in his sorrow and misfortune. His wandering eyes searched for solitude and peace, and a place where life would be given a chance to breathe again.