“Oh Ali, why can’t you be more like your brother?”

The boy replied with a muffled “uh-huh”.

“A son like Fahad  is a blessing on any parent. Just look at his out standing academic results! And how can I forget, what a talented cricketer he is. He’s the most famous kid on the block, and look at you!” His aunt continued, oblivious to his irritation with this topic. As he looked up at her face he instantly regretted it. Her look was that of complete disgust.

Ali wanted to jump off the rooftop of the house, which would be a four storey drop.

Why did they always want him to be a carbon copy of his ‘oh so perfect brother? Why was he hated for who he was? After all, he had always heard that an original is worth more than a copy but in his case had he been exactly like his brother he would’ve been loved by all.

It wasn’t that he was not sent to a good university nor was he given less to eat or wear, it was the opportunities in life that he was never given. His brother would be sent time and time again to some sort of international cricket tryouts, but when he requested for permission to attend a photography workshop, the response he got was always discouraging.

There was no qualification other than that of a singer, cricketer, engineer or doctor that was good enough in the eyes of the society.

His only support, his paternal grandfather, had left the world  4 years ago. The old man knew the society very well and told him that in today’s world, “if you dare to dream, you’re screwed,” and that the mentality of the society of the people was that “you work, you feed your family and then you die. To think otherwise is foolish.”

“Ali, you should live in a hostel. You’re a burden on your parents especially since you’re of no good to them. You don’t bring then honor, fame nor pride.”

This was it; he wasn’t going to swallow his remarks now. He had been strung along by people for far too long, he had stayed silent for long enough. It was time they were the ones to keep shut when he was around.

“With all due respect, dear Aunty, I’m a photographer by passion and  I do not care  what you think of that. Fahad is an entirely separate being and the only thing that’s common between us is that we’re brothers, I’d like to keep it that way.”

His aunt’s expression of shock spoke a thousand words.

“Tell me, Aunty, are either of Obama’s or Vladimir Putin’s or George Bush’s siblings rulers of their countries? Are either of Zardari’s siblings also known as ‘Ten Percent’?  Are Atif Aslam’s or Justin Timberlake’s siblings also pop stars? Huh? Why don’t you say something ma’am?”

He looked at his aunt with anger and hatred. After all she herself had invited his hatred for her.

“Ali…” he turned around to see his mother standing behind the sofa he was sitting on. Her eyes welled up with tears. But he did not feel for her. They had all incited his hatred for themselves by their own  words and actions. Nothing they could ever do or say would turn around 19 years of suppression.

“I am me, if anyone has a problem with that, I don’t care. I hope you enjoyed the years of bullying me. Don’t worry you’re all safe because I don’t believe in getting even but in getting what you deserve.”

As he walked towards the door leading out of the TV room, he noticed that Fahad, his father and everyone who stayed at their house was present in the room and  had listened to the last part of his outburst.

“May fate destroy those who destroy others.”  He muttered as he entered his room.

 

By:  Fatima Arshad