I was born and raised in Britain, have spent my entire life here. My parents originate from Pakistan. My breathtaking travel moment took place in a crop field in the village of Jhelum, Pakistan.
My upbringing was not typically very cultural or restricted in any way. I was taught the basics of the religion but it was left to me to choose to practice it or not. My liberal minded educated parents did not conform to the traditional pakistani image and as a result neither did their offspring.
We were given every luxury in life and the freedom to think for ourselves and make our own life decisions.
To this day my father's words still echo in my mind "beta (affectionate term for child) it does not matter if someone is black blue green or red, do not look at or judge people based on their outer appearances or colours instead look at their heart and character. Because when we are cut and start to bleed, every single person's blood is coloured red..likewise we are all equal..The distinction lies in our own prejudices and selves".
So I lived my carefree life, graduated from university and started my career and felt proud of myself. However they say pride comes before a fall and that is what happened with me.
I made friends with the wrong crowd and before long I was spiralling into a deep road to my own destruction.
My distraught parents tried to support me and reach out to me but I pushed them away.
Then one evening when I collapsed from an alcoholic overdose I was rushed to hospital and told that I was lucky to have survived. My parents decided to take drastic action, so a ticket to Pakistan was booked for me and I was put on the plane.
In this country was when I experienced my most breathtaking travel moment, unforgettable and deeply moving, it changed my whole life and I was taught to count the many blessings bestowed upon me.
I was staying in a village and the people's warmth jad begun yo work it's magic on me but one moment touched my soul.
I was in the fields with my uncle when I saw a young girl who looked like she was 17 years old, she was carrying heavy bundles of crops and loading them onto a donkey in the corner of the field. She was sweating and out of breath. I approached her and tried to help..she rebuked me. I was offended by her detached attitude, but what I had mistaken for ego was hear fear. We began to talk and the icy cold glares turned into smiles. She said please don't be kind to me I am not in the habit of people treating me with respect so when it happens I get scared and question the person's motives. She told me that she has lost both her parents at 6 years old and now lived with an uncle who saw her as a burden. So she was sent to work in the fields everyday from dawn to dusk to provide for herself. She started to cry when I offered her a chocolate from my backpack. She graciously accepted, it was the only thing she had eaten since the early morning. When I gave her my water bottle tears welled up in her eyes when I said it's just water not a bottle of finest champagne.Her sorrow filled big almond brown eyes made me look at myself and feel embarrassed. She explained to me that it is easily to lose value for things when you have plenty, but when you do not have something or lose it then your value for this thing increases tenfold. She gave me the example of the water bottle, her village had 1 well and 1 water tank for 150 people to use..They used this water for drinking, bathing, washing their clothes..Every drop was precious especially on hot days like this and in illness water is the only X ure for dehydration which was common in the village.
She asked if I had parents. .I nodded but started to list their faults and blame them for sending me here to this country. She told me her biggest regret was not loving her parents when they were alive and if only they were here now she would spend more time with them, less time complaining, she would take their scoldings as love, she would bask in their knowledge and ask to hear stories of wisdom and embrace her beautiful mother and father. However all she had now was regret.
By this time I was in tears sobbing uncontrollably not caring who could hear me and see me. Here was a young girl teaching me the blessings of life whilst I,.double her age was wasting my life and focused on material things such as wealth, how many Facebook friends I had, the latest fads and my image. I was not thanking god for the true diamond in my life, my unreplacable parents, my health, water, food, shelter and love in my life.
I vowed to myself there and then whilst sitting in a dirty field with this inspiration young woman, to always count every good thing in my life and not focus on the negatives and to realise that this life is so short and can be taken away at any time so it's important to cherish each precious moment away and literally squeeze the juice out of the box of life.