I’ve been to Pakistan quite a few times in my life, but the last time I visited in July of 2012, I encountered and experienced things that I still think about, 4 years later. I guess I was not mature enough to see it in the previous visits, as I was always excited to visit my cousins and always reveled in how Canadian dollars amounted to so much money in rupees, and how we were given next to royal treatment upon our visits by locals. What I didn’t notice at the time was the blatant poverty that was rampant in the streets. I still remember one particular instance from my last trip when my family decided to go out to eat. We all gathered into the cars and were on our way to the restaurant, listening to music and laughing. My baby cousin was sitting next to me at the time playing a game on my phone. The car stopped at a red light, and I heard a light tapping sound on the window next to me. I looked out the window and at first saw no one, but then realized that a little boy was standing outside of the car, selling some small garlands for a few rupees. My aunt told me to shake my head and then ignore him as he continued to stand there, but I couldn’t help but look at him. He looked the same age as my little cousin who sat next to me playing on my phone. My adorable little cousin, for whom I loved deeply and could not bear to imagine ever being in the same situation. Yet, this little boy standing outside of the car was trying to keep himself and presumably his family alive by selling some of these flowers. He had a life so completely different from my baby cousins. Despite the metal car door being the only thing between them, they were worlds apart. I had never experienced such a contrast of lifestyles before in my life. That moment made me realize that it could have easily been me or my adorable baby cousin in the same position as that little boy. We have absolutely no attributes that made us deserving of our lives and that boy deserving of his. I was not given this life because I am special in any way. This is simply the life that has been granted to me, and since then I’ve been counting my blessings. Alhamdulillah.

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