A couple of days ago, I went to some place with my father. He and I were sitting next to each other on a couch for quite sometime, when a woman ( Let us call her A, for convenience' sake) walked in and stood right beside us. The place was all so crowded. She couldnt seem to find a place to fit herself in. So I moved a little closer to my dad so that she could sit next to me in whatever little space that was thus made available for her. So she sat down relieved, or so i think, at least. We didnt talk to each other for quite a while, because I am usually not the talker when there are a lot of people around, and more so, when they are not even remotely related to me. But then, she asked me something, (I forgot what exactly), and we ended up striking a conversation out of nowhere. She asked me why I was here and who I was with. You know, things like that, to initiate a conversation...Actually we were at a bank, so I answered her as best as I could. And then, another lady came ( Let us call her B), and she too couldnt find any place to sit, so my father stood up and made way for her. There I was, a young woman, sitting with two mature elderly and motherly women on both my sides. This other woman then asked me what my token number was and who I was with. So I told her and asked hers. She then kept asking me questions like whether my mother was here too, and how many siblings I had. To the former, I answered in negative, and to the latter, I said none. So she was quite suprised and then asked me if my father ever felt upset on not having had a son who would look after him when he got old. Again, my answer was a no. More surprised as she sounded, she apparently tried to make amends for asking such a personal question by telling me that these days, having daughters is far better than having sons. ( Disclaimer: I might be wrong in thinking that she just wanted to make me feel better by saying this......she might be saying this very honestly and without any concerns that she needed to make me feel better by asking whether or not, my dad was too happy to have a daughter as his only child) And then A joined us in our conversation. We remained quiet for a while, and then another woman came and she sat between B and I, so I had to move a little closer to A. And we ( A and I, that is) re-continued talking about the benefits of having a daughter. She told me ( I am yet to check its authenticity, though) that when a man gets a son born to him, Allah Ta'ala Addresses the father and Says that I Have Bestowed you with your arms or something to that effect, but when a daughter is born, He Says that I Have Become your arms from now on. So I was wowed. by this I asked her where she lived in karachi, ( I actually asked her this for the second time, becaue I couldnt locate the place in my mind previously, so I was curious as to where exactly she lived in the city of my origin) She explained it to me again but it went in vain.I, too didnt insist, for I understood that the failure does not lie at her end. Then we moved on to some serious talking. She told me that almost all the Signs of Qayamat have been manifested, and although I knew that yes, some of them are being clearly observed, I still asked her :Really? How come? And then she continued telling me all the different vices that are so prevalent in this day and age. So I was like, yes, you are right! And then she said the society has become so evil-like that I fail to practice fully whatever good that I have learned and whatever I have taught so far. So I said that good education ( taaleem) goes hand in hand with good tarbiyat. Both of them are necessary prerequisites for a morally healthy society. I added by telling her my story that when I was growing up, my parents were always focussed only on my grades and my ranks in academics. They didnt really tell me that I should be pious alongwith being a well-educated human being. So i just told her that it is all due to the ignorance and insufficiency of Knowledge that is keeping people away from following and adapting to the life of a True Muslim. But then she showed me the other side of the coin. She showed me what I have always failed to notice, let alone ignore. She said that yes, I might be right, but what about the parents who tell their children every now and then to be well-behaved?What about them who have actually become weary and exhausted in making their children true muslims but nothing good seems to come out of all their toil and strife?She told me that whenever she explains to her children to do what is right and stuff like that, her children get annoyed, leave their food and walk out on her. She then went on and asked me why do I think suicide attempts have become matters of common occurence now. And I was like , it was may be due to people's lack of himmat, you know, and she said, that yes, you could be right. But there's another thing that goes with it. Every man values his life as much as everybody else. It is just sheer depression that results from seeing his children screaming every night for food, and his wife telling him every night that there is no ration at home, eid is drawing near and things like that. What does a person do in such circumstances? He takes his life. She was not justifying suicide. She was only making me understand how "real" things are and how not everything's going to be our way. And all we need to do is to just stay put patiently for whatever we didnt have, showing gratitude to Allah Ta'ala, for whatver we did have.To not show-off for whatever we did have, or to not be envious for whatever we didnt have. She was a teacher at a private school, she told me. Her husband was a head-master at some government school. He had taken a second wife. And he gave A only 6,000 rupees for food rationing etc, while A gets a meagre 5000 rupees for her monthly salary. She finds it difficult to manage everything, but she doesnt seem to be complaining at all. Not to me, at least. Our conversation was interrupted by my father who wanted me to write a cheque for him for a hundred thousand and something. While I did so, embarrassment crept inside me and overwhelmed me. It has never left me ever since. Wondering why? Me too. I have just spent an hour and a half in narrating this short episode of my life with no real "punch-line" or "motive" in my mind. I wrote this so that I dont forget Hafeezah. That's what A's real name is. And how well it suits her! MashaAllah! And she came from Mach Goth, somewhere near HUB Nadi. May Allah Ta'ala Protect us and Do Hifazah of our Imaan at all times, good or bad! Aameen thumma Aameen!