The Lost Envelope

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By: Zeenat Hakimjee

Agha jee had migrated from Afghanistan to Pakistan. When Afghanistan was at war he had fled his country because there was no security for his family there. Like him many other Afghanis migrated also. Some people were without limbs because of the war. They lived in Katchi Abadis in Pakistan. They mostly had only one meal a day and seldom had meat to eat. They wore torn and tattered clothes. Agha jee's sons, Ali Khan and Feroze Khan, both picked up trash for recycling for a living.  Ali Khan told Feroze Khan one day, “We'll be able to treat our friends to a cup of tea, today.”  Feroze Khan wanted to know how that was possible. Ali khan said, “A government truck just passed by and they were giving donations. I picked up some money.”
Also hygiene was not heard of in their Katchi Abadi therefore illness and misery prevailed. Ali Khan and Feroze Khan, both teenagers, spent their evenings playing Ludo or they would hire bicycles from a Pakistani bicycle shop keeper whose shop was close to their home. Sometimes when they hired a bicycle and had no money to pay, he would shout at them. “Why don't you go back where you came from?” but most of the time he was friendly. He knew they were homeless and therefore needed help. One day Ali Khan and Feroze Khan, after collecting usable stuff from the trash, did not go directly to the contractor who further gave it for recycling but came home instead. That same day Mr. Azhar’s maid, sweeping his bedroom, had unknowingly thrown an envelope with four Rs. 5000 notes in it in the trash basket. Mr.  Azhar had given the money to his wife for monthly expenses but she had forgotten to pick it up and it had slipped to the floor. Her maid servant had further emptied the waste-paper basket in the common trash bin at the corner of the street. Mr. Azhar and Mrs. Azhar frantically searched everywhere. “Azhar how could you?” his wife asked him on the verge of tears. Suddenly their maid servant remembered that she had emptied the trash can and it might have been in it. She told them that she had seen Ali Khan and Feroze Khan rummage through the bin for paper but she did not know where they lived. All three waited for the boys to turn up. They finally did. “Thank God they're here!” all of them said almost simultaneously. Fortunately that was the day when the re-cycleable paper and plastic bottles were in their make-shift home and they had not given it to their contractor yet. Mr. Azhar asked them about the envelope and they said they would take them to their home to check. Both of them accompanied them to their make-shift home. There, Feroze Khan quietly took out the envelope and handed it to them. Sure enough all the money, the Rs. 20,000, were in the envelope. Mr. and Mrs. Azhar were astounded. Feroze Khan told them that he had found the envelope while sorting the trash. He had consulted his brother and they had decided to make a round of all the places they had been before and surely the person to whom the money the person to whom the money belonged would be on the lookout for them. Mr. and Mrs. Azhar went home but the next day they came back and asked Agha jee how they could help his sons. Both the boys wanted to learn how to read and write. Mr. Azhar helped them in the process and slowly they got the hang of it. After the elections in Afghanistan, Agha jee and his family left Pakistan to go back but with sweet memories.