It all starts when a baby boy comes out of the muscular house, the womb, when he is spoon fed not to disobey elders along with constant reminders that it is unmanly to cry. Men are considered to be strong, dictatorial and macho; providing them an image that regards being scared or defenceless as a taboo.
This story is about Zafar; a common man. The eldest son of Mr.shahid’s family. In his 20s, Zafar hopelessly fell in love with his neighbor ‘Asma’ she was the prettiest woman in their neighbourhood When she flicked her dark brown hair, he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life in her arms playing with strands of her velvety brown hair. There was no way Mr.Shahid would allow any of his children to marry outside family. He would often say “We biharis are the most superior Muslims in the world. We are the most refined, the most cultured and the most evolved”.
All of his friends/listeners would nod along while those who didn’t agree couldn’t dare raise their voice in disapprobation. While peace and composure defined the peripheral phase of Mr Shahid’s principles, turbulence stirred within.
Just as Zafar finished his diploma in mechanical engineering, his unmatched skills to work under pressure got him a stable job in steel mills. He wanted to pursue further studies but he suffered the pressure to earn and be the bread winner for his family and to get his sisters married was the first priority on his mind.
Few years later, he was married to their family friend’s daughter ‘Amna’. She was nothing like Asma. The only similarity they share was the four letter name that started and ended with the same alphabet. Zafar was forced to shovel his pre-marital romance blues down the drain and live the life his father has designed before him.
His wife was now the only love of his life. On becoming father of three beautiful children, two boys and a girl. Zafar wished to seek the sigh of relief. But before he could do that, he had to do some serious planning on saving money for his children’s expenditures. Zafar and Amna made a pact that whatever the financial condition, they will always go the extra mile to contribute to their children’s better future.
The elder boy became an electronic engineer and the daughter; a doctor. While the youngest son still studying. Zafar is now old, he was proud of the sacrifices he made to see his children flourish, secretly hoping to rely on his children’s earning after his own retirement. His elder son declares his secret love to an Australian woman. The ghost of Zafar’s young love haunted him and he decided not to do the same mistake as his father and he approves of the marriage.
His son left for Australia and his daughter got married happily. Zafar was now left only with his younger son now. He had no treasure left in his bank account to survive, so he planned to work on daily wages in a local industry. Tragedy strikes, his younger son fell into a mental illness that psychiatrists call ‘manic depression’ he would create a menace at home. Sometimes Zafar and Amna weren’t able to eat or sleep for weeks. They admitted the child in psychiatric ward but after
a while he always came back ill, drowsy and devastated.
Do you know who Zafar is? He lives inside every man who gave up his ambitions so that his family can depend on him. He detached himself from the love of his life so that his parents would crown him as obedient. He spent his entire savings in constructing a better world for his children. He was left alone in the darkest hours. He is the lad in distress.
He may be a father or just a friend. Surviving lives of misery and bleakness that would haunt them throughout their life span. Is man’s existence a catastrophe of genetic lottery? Is it his fate to burn his existence to satisfy those around him.
Have you ever discovered what it feels like your life is a solo performance? The implausible pressure to perform Like women, men also have scars on the roadmap of their history. Don’t teach them the ‘big boys don’t cry’ phenomenon. Instead, walk with him hand in hand, offer support. Once in a while appreciate his efforts for he is equally as human as you are.