If you are privileged enough to be reading this on a digital device and are literate, you have been classified in a bracket as one of Pakistan’s most fortuitous. With that being said, more often than not, you take this blessing for granted… as did I. Unyielding to the vast majority in Pakistan, I was born into a family that deemed education a commodity as valuable as oxygen, which meant that no sacrifice bore a burden heavy enough to hinder my parents’ efforts to send me to institutes that guaranteed the best of it. Pertaining to this fundament of theirs, I have had the privilege of attending renowned institutions within Pakistan and prestigious boarding schools in the United Kingdom. Fuelling my drive and work ethic were the constant reminders that I was privileged enough to be in the position that I was in, hence I was obliged to do justice to the opportunities I was given through hard work. This also meant that my moral imperative lay in committing to healing Pakistan when I could, and that meant investing as many hours as I could into community service during my adolescence until I was capable of undertaking my own projects or making money of my own to invest into grander charitable acts. These ethics were uncommon at boarding school. While I can be obstinate in my beliefs, I must admit that throughout the course of my time at the boarding school, I did falter. Eventually, I found myself succumbing to two primitive, unwarranted and potentially fatal attitudes of complaint and ingratitude. My stereotypical, teenage angst, fuelled by these traits, often led me to complain about my autocratic teachers, crappy canteen food, peers that did not understand my experiences of growing up in a developing country where terrorism, ignorance and corruption were rampant or frankly anything that I deemed insufficient about boarding school. More so than misery, it seems that what breeds misery is something that truly loves company – and that culprit is ingratitude. Despite the fact that I was safe from terror threats and privileged enough to be studying at a renowned institution, like my peers, I could not help focusing on its flaws. My complaints did not escape me when I was visiting Karachi this past winter. Sulking for whatever petty reason that I was, my parents and I happened to drive past something that suddenly made me wish the ground would swallow me alive (and then spit me into hell to repent for my self-repugnant behaviour). Under a bridge, we noticed a footpath. What this footpath harboured, did not break my heart. It detonated it, setting it ablaze with remorse. In brightly coloured paints, the words The Footpath School and a few children’s plastic tables and chairs decorated the path under the bridge. The students of The Footpath School were none other than the street kids of Karachi. Heartless if untouched, my father handed the woman with the donation box two thousand rupees (less than £15) and with her cordial smile she tried to refuse it, saying that it was ‘too much.’ If my heart had not fully imploded to before, it had now been effectively cremated. My father laughed, handed her as much more loose cash as was lying around in the car before urging her to continue doing what she was doing – her gratitude, was worth millions. With what is not even 0.0375% of our annual school fees at boarding school, I cannot begin to explain to you how grateful the staff at The Footpath School were for that donation. I also cannot begin to explain to you how much it pains me knowing that we can be so, so innately callous and unaware of how blessed we are and how ignorant we are if in a position of privilege we are not investing back into the country that gave it to us, in some way or another. These children, despite the odds, were getting an education. These children, despite whatever their shortcomings, were grateful. Do you truly have reasons to be ungrateful? If you are fortuitous enough to have a disposable income, I urge to invest 10% of it into Pakistan. If that is too much of a toll, then even that one 1% will do. Cumulatively, we can all give the children of our country the education they deserve. In this country tarnished and overshadowed by corruption and terrorism, if you have grown to resent Pakistan, do not resent its children. Invest heavily into education. If negativity permeates your psyche and tells you that Pakistan is unworthy of your investment then you commit to enabling the true root of all of its evil to flourish – and that root is ignorance. Only to be remedied through education, Pakistan’s ignorance will continue to perpetuate resentment and negativity unless education will prevail. So instead of reverting to your habitual angst, take a moment to be grateful. Let that gratitude imbue you with a newfound positivity that will enable you to do great things, for yourself and Pakistan. As you know, you are blessed enough to be in a position to do so. Published in Daily Times, August 30th 2017.