Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I Principles of Life

A twelve-year old boy came running home one evening hoping for something to eat, for he felt ravenously hungry. His mother regarded him sadly. “I have nothing to give you,” she said. “There is not a thing in the house you can eat, and I have no money to buy food.” Tears of despair began to fall from her eyes. Her husband was a poor man – a daily labourer – and when days passed and he could not find work, it meant that everyone went hungry. The young boy thought for a moment, then asked his mother if she didn’t even have twenty-five paise. “I do”, she said, “But what can you buy for a whole family with just twenty-five paise?” Her son told her not to worry and begged her to give him her last coin. Too weary and hopeless even to argue with him, she handed it over and he rushed outside with a look of determi­nation on his face. He collected a bucket of drinking water and a glass on the way out, then bought a piece of ice from a nearby stall and cooled the water with it. Then he made straight for a cinema queue where people were standing in a line, sweating, waiting to buy their tickets. He started walking up and down the line shouting, ‘Water! Cold Water!’ and soon attracted the crowd’s attention. People gratefully began to buy his glasses of cold water. Some kind souls even paid him more than he asked for. With part of his earnings he bought more ice and went back and sold more glasses of cold water. He kept this up indefatigably until the queues had disappeared. By this time, he had managed to earn fifteen rupees, with which he went home triumph­antly to his mother.

From that time onwards he started selling something or the other every day. During the day he worked hard at school and in the evening, he would go out and do his best to make money. He kept this up for ten long years, somehow managing to study while he met the house­hold expenses.

After completing his education, he was employed on a monthly salary of Rs. 850/-; but he still continued with his side business in the evening, and, owing to his hard-earned money he was even able to rebuild his house. His neighbours, friends and relatives respected him, and his parents blessed him.

Difficult circumstances can be used as a spur to success, provided that such arduous and trying periods in one’s life inspire in one a new sense of determination and do not fill one with a sense of frustration. The really important thing in life is to make a proper start. When a man is willing to start his journey from the right point every step amount to making progress. Nothing can stop him from reaching his goal. It only takes twenty-five paise to start your journey–something which is surely possible for us all.