Islamic Fiction Contest Honorable Mention - 2015
Adult Category - Honorable Mention
The Fair Lesson
by: Syeda Seema Nikhat
As Maimoon sat silently staring out of the window with her innocent seven year old eyes, she knew she could not be silent. She knew she had to do something, but what could she a young girl, new in this little town, do on her own?
She had dreamt a great deal, about how lovely and beautiful her life with her parents was going to be in this pretty little town. The high mountains that surrounded the town, the deep valleys, the lush fields on the outskirts and a charming and lively market place at its center; the town was her instant favorite.
All she thought was how perfect every tiny little detail in this town seemed, how perfectly polite and kind the people seemed and was excitedly looking forward to making great friends here, but her image of flawless people and perfect place came crashing down on her very first day to school. She saw her school Head Mistress, Mrs Green, wrinkling her nose and marking out students with her cane, pointing them out, as they moved away from everyone else and came out of the throng of incoming pupils. She was directing them to a completely different direction, than the regular school premises. As new comers entered the school gate, they were swiftly getting devided into two groups, one headed down the regular school grounds, while the other, on being directed by Mrs Green, trotted down away from the grounds where at a distance a shabby looking building could be seen. Maimoon to her astonishment saw that these students were entering that dirty building, and on close observation realized that all these students had one thing in common: they had colored skin.
The fairer students were led to the more up - to - date looking building, Maimoon was one of them too. But she felt disgusted and nauseated that such discrimination was being done with her fellow students that too in a school, a place where such differences are supposed to be washed away with education and refinement of culture.
She now sat at the window at the end of the day, feeling repulsed by what she had witnessed today at school.
She had to do something... Something...
She walked to school the next day, in great spirits, laughing and jumping all along her way. As she reached the school gates, she walked confidently in with her head held high, and went straight to Mrs Green, who stood stiff looking over the march of students, as some went past her to the actual premises and some turned an angle towards that shabby little structure.
Maimoon went straight to her and said, "greetings Mrs Green! I am Maimoon Ahmed, it is so nice to be here at this wonderful school".
As Mrs Green looked down her nose at Maimoon, some of her stiffness vanished, and she replied, "good to have you too, Maimoon", and forced what looked like a smile.
"Thank you, Mrs Green", Maimoon said smilingly and grasped both the hands of the bewildered Head Mistress and shook fervently.
When she released her, Mrs Green looked astonished to find both her hands now black with what was perhaps soot; she stared questioningly at Maimoon, who replied, with her eyes going wide and a plainly evident sarcastic mock surprise in her voice,
"Oh you too Mrs Green!?! Me too, see!" And showed up her palms, which were just as black.
"what do you say, shall we both trot down to that shackle there?"
So saying, Maimoon marched down towards the far end building, where those of colored skin were being taught separately, she turned around and saw comprehension dawn upon Mrs Green's face, and was sure she saw a little regret in her eyes.