As she got off the bus and walked towards her flat, Dania’s mind raced with a hundred plans and ideas. The 26-year-old had made many sacrifices the last two years to make her dream-trip to Thailand a reality. She had skipped many smaller vacations, declined her friends’ invitations to go shopping, and took the bus to work everyday in an attempt to save money. And now, all the restraint had paid off. She finally had enough to book her flight tickets for the next month. She was so ecstatic, she couldn’t help but grin at people on the street.
As she rounded a corner, her gaze fell on the old, homeless man who always sat by the mosque. He had lost his leg–she didn’t know how–and he wore tattered clothes. A few people dropped coins on the white cloth he had spread out in front of him, but he never asked anyone for money. And Dania, who was always on a very tight budget, never had anything to spare.
The man, who generally wore a serene expression, looked shaken that day. And when he saw her, he beckoned to her. Puzzled and a tad discomforted, Dania walked towards him.
“You seem like a nice girl, beta. Can you please help me?” he asked in a voice that was close to breaking.
“What do you need?” Dania asked, apprehensively.
“Somebody stole my bag yesterday. Everything I owned was in it, including all the money I had saved for my daughter’s college fees,” the man said. He had broken into sobs by this point.
Dania blinked. She felt sad for the sobbing man, but she didn’t know if she should believe his story. “How…how much do you need?” she asked.
“Fifteen thousand rupees,” he said, wiping his eyes and looking up at her. “I had been saving up for years. I wanted her to go to college. I wanted her to have a good life! Now…now it’s all g…gone!” he broke down again.
Dania knew how much strength it took to save money. But she could barely imagine doing so without having a roof over one’s head or food for sustenance. Dania asked the man for some time to think about it. And she thought all night. But what had to be done was clear to her all along. Thailand wasn’t going anywhere and it would only take her a few more months to make up for the amount she intended to give away. Her sacrifice would make not one, but two lives better.
“Eid Mubarak!” she said, as she handed the old man the money the next morning.