Hina walked in, shoulders slumped, threw her bag on the side and dropped into the nearest chair. This is not how she returned from school every day. There was usually a swing in her step and a smile on her lips. Today, something was wrong. Amina, her mother came up to her and asked her if something was wrong, at which Hina burst into tears and fell sobbing into her lap. Running her hand through her hair, her mother waited for her to calm down and tell her what was bothering her.
“Mummy, why are people mean to others? Do they enjoy bullying other people? Is something wrong with me?”, she asked, tears still streaming down her cheeks. “Why, who’s bullying you?”, asked Amina, concerned.
Hina spilled out everything that was troubling her, “Mummy, there’s a new girl in our class called Seema. She seemed nice when she came in last week and I wanted to be friends with her. She’s very popular in our class too and everybody else wants to be her friend. But for some reason she doesn’t like me. Makes fun of my hair, my name, my things, everything. I can’t seem to do nothing right. She is also turning my friends against me now. They also giggle and whisper when when I pass by. I don’t like it one bit”. All this came pouring out. And she continued breathlessly, “All these days I was bearing it but today, it became too much. She drew a funny picture of me on the board and wrote mean things about me. So I complained to the Headmistress. So Seema was called to the office and punished”.
Amina heard Hina out and settled down to explain to her, “Beta, there are always people who like to act as bullies, you just need to know how to handle them. Just because she is making fun of you, it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you. People are never happy. They will always find faults. You are a lovely person blessed with health, a charming personality, fantastic manners and most importantly, a good heart. Those are the most important things. A good character is all you need and what other children do shows what their character is like. There is something wrong with them, not you. You have nothing to worry”.
Hina was starting to feel a little better, but was surprised at what her mother had to say next, “But Hina, I’m disappointed in you”. “Why mama, the fault was hers, what did I do?”, “I think complaining to the Principal was a bad idea. I agree that what she did was wrong, but you could have proven to be a better person if you had forgiven her. It’s better to forgive and forget. It makes you nobler than the person who has wronged you”.
As she thought about her mother’s words, Hina understood the truth in them. She felt bad for having tattled on Seema and decided to apologize to her for it.
The next day, Hina had a new resolve in her. She went straight to Seema ans said: “Seema, I am really sorry, I complained about you. If you are happy calling me names, you can continue to do that. I will not mind. I will never again tell on you. Seema’s jaw dropped when she heard this and before she could say anything, Hina was gone.
Seema had never imagined the things would take this turn. She murmured, “Hina is amazing. I was so mean to her, yet it is she who came to me and sought forgiveness for complaining about it. I have been so wrong in calling her names. It is good character that is important. Hina has been generous enough to ignore my crude manners.”
Even as tears rolled down her cheeks, she ran to Hina and said: “I admire your attitude. I can’t believe that you are saying sorry when it should have been me! I realize how wrong I have been. Forgive me, Hina!” Hina and Seema hugged each other and decided to bury the past and be good friends forever.
(Original story in Urdu by Rubina Naz appeared on www.urduyouthforum.org,
translated into English by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj,
Edited by Shazia Akbar, Detroit)