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Short Story Contest > [2013, Nov] Untitled

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message 1: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
“Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts and hold your breath for now is the time to announce the businessman of the year award.” the host said, observing the tension growing within the audience.
“Many of you are supporting the evergreen Greek tycoon, Pablo Stavros, or the European businessman Nicholas Richardson but some may prefer the Asians as well like the renowned Jarar Ahmad. But whoever shall be the businessman of the year, we will congratulate him for his hard-work, dedication and determination to reach this platform. Let’s give a round of applause to all the three men who have worked so hard up till now.” A deafening applause sounded, echoing up through the rafters of the hall. When the sound lowered, the host continued.
“Now, I am going to announce the businessman of the year award. And the award goes to...” the host glanced at the audience.
“JARAR AHMAD,” he screamed into the microphone. Jarar stood up from his table, amidst hugs and congratulations and walked toward the steps leading to the stage but the steps transformed themselves into a pavement and he felt himself falling down and down into an empty abyss.
Jarar woke up with a start. He looked around at the unfamiliar room but was unable to identify where he was. As his mind cleared, he looked at the big four poster bed he was in, the richly decorated room, and the dimmed lights. The satin sheets slipped from his chest as he sat up in bed and replayed his dream in his mind.
Businessman of the year. His lifelong dream to be one.
He was seven years old, old for his age, intelligent and quite mature. An idea had taken root in his mind that one day that he would reach to the top of the world. Now, twenty years later he was here, with no job, no home and an utter failure who was dreaming big and struggling to make it work.
Jarar belonged to a middle class family. His father had died when he was only three years old. Being the only child, his mother had worked hard and accepted multiple jobs so that she could provide him with the best education. He had managed to get a scholarship to Lahore University of Management Sciences and had graduated with the highest honors. For the first two years of his adult life, he had a great job, a loving mother, friends and everything that he had ever wished for. Then one day, the thought about being the businessman of the year started nagging him and he started planning on that.
He made some very disturbing and risky decisions resulting in losses and dealt with them. Now, he wanted sponsors and some money coming in as there were no sponsors or profits generating from his work. Since childhood, his mother had impressed upon his mind only one thing, whatever happens in life never divert from the right path. Therefore, he struggled and remained persistent. Yesterday was another such incident in which he had chosen the right way. He remembered what had happened. He had met a well-known person in his business.
“Everything is possible, sir” the supervisor said, “Only if you do one thing.”
“And what is that?” Jarar was frustrated enough to try every means to make his company start running on its own two feet.
“Show us some blue paper.” He said, eloquently to which Jarar was totally confused. The supervisor looked meaningfully at him and understanding dawned on him. He meant to bribe the manager.
“Never!” Jarar had said and left there.
He had returned to his best friend and schoolmate, Ali Mughal, who was the son of a rich bureaucrat who was well-known in the ministry and had contacts with the ministers and the Prime Minister himself. Although they had both studied together since childhood, his parents were settled in Islamabad whereas Ali himself lived in a hostel in Lahore and studied there. They had become fast friends since day one and Jarar had open invitation to visit him anytime. He had come here with hope that things would turn out better than what he was already getting there in Lahore but unfortunately nothing had changed whatsoever. For the past two years, he had been struggling with his business, trying to make it stand on its own feet but without outward help it was quite impossible.
As Jarar sat speculating over his dream and yesterday’s incident over his mind again and again. An idea started taking root deep within his mind and he contemplated over it for long minutes. Just a few bucks, he thought and once his company was running on its own two feet he wouldn’t need to gamble like this again. He would have ample resources after to multiply and triple his earnings. His desperation to do something and really quick brought him towards this path and Jarar was blinded by the devil inside him and he planned to do just what he had set out to.
A knock sounded on the door and Ali walked in, already in his day clothes. He looked at Jarar already in his bed and shook his head.
“Jarar Ahmad!” he called out. “It's time to face the world. Come on, get up now.” He said with a grin. Jarar reluctantly smiled back and pushing the sheets away, he got up.
Two hours later, they were seated at a local burger point when Ali brought up the topic. Jarar told him what had happened yesterday, his tone sardonic and sarcastic. Ali listened, deep in thought.
“I know this is what you would not like Jarar, but you should let my father help you. Once you stand on your own two feet, you can return the favor.”
Jarar thought for some time and then agreed. Later that night, he sat alone in his room at Ali’s villa in Bani Gala when he heard a knock on the door.
“Come in.” Ali’s father, Ikram Rashid, entered the room. He closed the door properly and took the winged armchair opposite of Jarar who greeted him with proper salutations. Once the formalities were taken care of, Ikram said.
“Ali has told me all the details of your predicament. I could have helped you a long while back if you had let me. Now, your situation seems worse than before but worry not, we will figure out a solution for all that.” Ikram Rashid, secretary in the ministry of education and a very good public personality, had an aura of self-confidence and security about him. As he talked, he calmed Jarar and proved to him that he would be able to solve all his problems.
“Jarar, there are always two paths; the right one and the wrong one. When you have tried all the ways on the right path, it is time to change your path and fight for your right. You have worked hard for this company and I assure you, with my guidance and help you will fulfill your dreams.” He said.
“You are quite right, uncle.” Jarar agreed. A glint lightened Ikram’s eyes when he realized that he wouldn’t have to work so hard to bring him to the point.
“Okay, now listen to me closely and try to understand what I am trying to say.” He said and explained the situation to him.

One year later
“Okay, that’s fine. Tell them I want the shipment passed today and no excuses, Yasir.” He spoke to his right hand man, Yasir.
“Sir, I will try my best.” He said.
“Offer them anything that you want but make this work.” He said curtly.
“Yes, sir.” He said and switched off his cell.
Things had changed for Jarar Ahmad over one year. From the poor and struggling person he had turned into a successful businessman who was popular throughout the Asia and Europe. The BusinessWeek and Times Magazine have regularly covered him in their magazine and he was acquainted with all of the big guns of the business world. He had used different tactics like bribing people, using power, threats, debauchery and terror to make people work for him. Although he had become successful in an overnight, there had been occasions when his conscience screamed at him, scolded him for his disregard for his upbringing, his morality and his rules. He pushed it away and celebrated with a bit of alcohol which he shared with Ikram. As more time passed, his conscience died away with his emotions, feelings and regard for others and he became a ruthless businessman. With Ikrams connections and contacts, he had no difficult to stand up on his feet.
As his pace slowed down a year later, his conscience which he thought was dead for quite a long time made its appearance known to him.
What you did with yourself is wrong, Jarar, it said. You let your mother down, you kicked away her hard work and upbringing, she worked day and night to provide you with the Halal money so that you get the best education and see what you did.
You are responsible for so tears in so many widows and orphan's eyes, you are the reason people are homeless, his conscience just went on and one, pointing out every bad thing that he had done so far and he would close his ears to shut down the noise but it won’t go away. Day by day, his health began to decline and tension lines became evident on his face.
One day, tired of his raging emotions and battle with his inner self, he sat on a bench near a park looking at the enjoyable outings that families had planned for their children. He realized then that he had forgotten who he was. Determined to become the businessman of the year, which he had gained two months before, he had forgotten what it meant to be happy, to have a family and have a loving mother at home. His mother always stayed at home while he had to travel long distances for his business dealings. He had stepped on the wrong path on that fateful night, he thought, that dream and the person’s words had made him harsh to make such a decision. He had wronged so many people that he had no idea how to overcome that and there he stood, a successful but a broken person.
This was not who I am, Jarar thought as he sat there, breathing in the warm spring air and thinking about how could he had done what he did.
This is not me, he thought. Slowly and slowly, the words rotated in his mind like a pinwheel, mixing his thoughts. He crossed his ears with his hands but they wouldn’t go away. He rushed home and almost ran to his mother, who sat in her room praying.
“Mom!” he called out to her. She put away her Holy Book and turned to him.
“I’m sorry.” That was all that he could say and he said that again and again. He couldn’t explain to him what he had done but again and again he would ask her to forgive her.
“Son, if you want to ask forgiveness from those whom you hurt. Give them what you took and God’s willing, they will forgive you for what you had done to them.” She said, caressing him.
“Yes, mother. I will” The look of pure happiness in his mother’s eyes cleared all his doubts and showed him that he was indeed on the wrong path and he had wronged many people. He vowed to at least try to rectify the wrong that he had done therefore, he put up charities and donations for many big NGO’s for the support of widows and orphans and bowed in front of God to forgive him for his wrongdoings.
Finally, through self-reflection and meditation he had found himself. He found the meaning of me.

message 2: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
Goodreaders please rate each story on a scale of 1-10 in the comments please. This way I can tally up the scores and choose a winner.

message 3: by Allie (new)

Allie Gail (alliegail) | 1 comments An interesting tale of morality and the internal consequences inflicted on us by our own innate sense of guilt. Those who possess a conscience find it difficult to hide from, no matter how brilliantly the gold glitters. Rated 10 for its message of ethics.

message 4: by Sameea (new)

Sameea | 292 comments I liked the character development, and the message the story delivered to the reader. nice. 7/10

message 5: by Uroosa (new)

Uroosa Kashif (uroosakashif) | 3 comments While dressing our stories up with fancy words and twisted metaphors sometimes we forget what a simply written tale can deliver. This is an example of simple yet effective writing. Moral values do lack in modern times and what we need is a constant reminder that we should try to keep making amends putting things right.

message 6: by Xunaira (new)

Xunaira J. | 153 comments Uroosa wrote: "While dressing our stories up with fancy words and twisted metaphors sometimes we forget what a simply written tale can deliver. This is an example of simple yet effective writing. Moral values do ..."

Thank you Uroosa!

message 7: by Adeel (new)

Adeel Hasan (adeelhasan) | 78 comments 6.5/10

message 8: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
Nice msg but needed more emotion or something big to turn him back.

message 9: by Sohaib (new)

Sohaib | 6884 comments 6/10 The flow was good and the sentence structure was good as well... But there a thing called spark, a thing that just engulfs you in the story, and sadly it was missing in this story... Overall very good work

message 10: by Maira (new)

Maira | 5852 comments Mod

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