It was the first day of Kashif Hassan in college, class room although a spacious one looked small. The room had three rows of bench desks and each row had fifteen desks in it. Three student occupied a bench desk.
Being the first day the students looked to each other like strangers. As the clock struck nine fifteen, professor of Urdu literature Shamshad Sahib entered the class room ” Silent please!” and instantly a pin drop silence prevailed. My name is Shamshad Husssain, from today on I shall teach you Urdu literature. I am also the incharge of your class. Along side the teaching I deal with the administrative issues. Surely you must have read the name of Chief Proctor in college prospective. The whole class collectively said, “yes sir” saying very good he started taking roll call by naming the students one by one. “Present Sir”, the student loudly spoke as he called the roll number who is Joseph Masih roll No.20. As Joseph Masih spoke yes sir, professor ordered him to stand up and asked him why he did not put on the college uniform. Joseph had yet to reply, the professor cried to have him answer. Joseph, lowering his head replied that his father died a week ago. So he had not the time to buy the uniform. Shut up – Crook – at once get out of the class. As Joseph began to cross the threshhold to vacate the class room, professor called him to stay. Joseph thought that the teacher might call him back but professor said that take note of what I say, you shall not come to the class unless you have bought the uniform. Lowering his head in shame Joseph got out of the class.
After the completion of roll call, he said to the class “All of you listen to me carefully. No one shall attend my class posing as hero, an actor or a model. Anybody who comes without uniform shall be treated as Joseph was. He completed his lecture and left. Professor gave less of a lecture and took more time on admonishing and reprimand. After the professor left, students started whispering their views to one another. Shamshad sahib should not have treated Joseph in this way. Anyhow that day passed but next day eyes of many student as also of Kashif Hassan were searching for Joseph in the class room. Joseph could not be seen. In this way five days passed and on the sixth day Joseph entered the class room with a heavy heart. He had hardly taken his seat that professor entered the class room. Before taking his chair, he said to Joseph waving his stick in the air, “where have your honour been enjoying sightseeing for so many days? Why did not you come to college. Be ashamed of yourself. Now after five days you have leasurly come to attend the college. Stand up on the bench. This is your punishment. To the end of my period you will stand with hands up. So that you realise what is to be an absentee. Joseph stood up on the bench with hands up. Students around started laughing. Professor hold them silent but he himself kept on. In anger he went on saying whatever came to his mind. Kashif Hassan said to Joseph who shared his bench, “Professor aught not to have behaved in this way with Joseph. Although he belongs to Christian community but he too is a human being like us. This religious based communal hatred is not in accordance with our constitution. This is not becoming of a teacher. On the very first day of the college Joseph is being ill-treated. It is quite boring to see all this. I will take up the matter and lodge the complaint with the principal against Shamshad Sahib. Junaid at once stopped him to do, because poor Joseph will have to pay the price of it. Shamshad would make his life a misery. Junaid once again asked him to abstain from doing this. If you are well-wisher of Joseph, keep quite. Gradually it will be all right. My friend think of it that professor himself ordered the Joseph not to be in the class without uniform. Now he has come in uniform but his self-respect is being trampled, with punishing remarks, he is made to feel that he belongs to a lowly community. It is against the principles of morality and ethics. As soon as the words of Kashif Hassan reached the ears of Joseph his eyes got filled with water and a continuous rain of tears started. All the students began to look towards Joseph. He was weeping nonstop. Every student became sad for him but professor did not feel a bit. When the period was over Shamshad loudly said now go out you stupid, and stop these crocodile tears. Joseph stealing his eyes from his classfellows got out of the class room. Next day Kashif Hassan instead of taking his own seat. He sat on the bench where Joseph sat. When Joseph came on seat, Kashif welcomed and offered to shake hands. He offered condolence on his fathers death. Coincidently professor did not come to take his period that day. Therefore, they had opportunity to introduced with each other. Joseph told Kasif that his father’s name was Pitras Maish Peter and he had a job in municipal committee. A month earlier my father was drowned due to suffocation during the cleaning of gutter at the main road. When he was taken out of the gutter he had already died. I am the only brother of five sisters. My old mother is suffering from TB. After the death of my father, municipal committee did offer me a job in place of my father and I too was willing to join the service but my mother did not allow me to join the service. My mother insisted that I join some good job after getting education.
In this way they became fast friends. Joseph today felt very happy. The days passed on and the examinations of the eleventh class came to an end.
One day Kashif said to Joseph, “My friend! I might go to Dubai after some days. My father is there (in Dubai) and he has established a store there. So I and my mother are going there to join him permanently. Joseph you have to promise with me that you will at all costs and conditions fulfil the dream of your mother. Never in your life adopt permission. Remember me that a pessimist Joseph will never be able to fulfill the promise that he made with his mother. It is her cherished dream. Talking thus, they walked to the college canteen to take tea. They stood up after the tea, Joseph told Kashif that he wished to have lunch with him that day. After the college time Kashif took him to his house where they had lunch together. Joseph in a sad mood left for his house where he informed his mother about the departure of Kashif & his mother to Dubai. Joseph’s mother said that he was getting over sensitive. Kashif father is in Dubai and they are going to live with him for some time. They would come back after staying there for some period. There is nothing to worry about. Joseph feeling weakness said to his mother that it is not so, as your imagine. Mummy they are not going for some period only. They are going for good. Joseph’s mother pating him on the head, said “Don’t take to heart my boy”. Where ever is the destiny of a person, man somehow reaches there. Instead of worrying you should pray for his success. Joseph went to rest in his room and began thinking about his friend. Nobody can appreciate that he is not just one of my friends. He is a Messiah to me, he told his mother in imagination. Whenever I lost heart he backed me up and raised hope in me once again. That night he could not sleep.
Next day in the college Kashif embraced Joseph heartily and told him in a low voice that they were leaving for Dubai day after tomorrow and that was his last day in the college. I have come to college today only to see you. You would be very careful about you and put your heart thoughly in your study. You are an intelligent boy. Tears welled up in their eyes while talking about. Then they looked into each other’s eyes. It is already getting late, now I take leave of you. I do not want that you miss your class. Your period is about to start.