Born in a struggling family of 4 children, I was the eldest son of my parents. My father used to work as a tailor with one of the leading fashion designers in the country. He used to bring home a total of Rs. 17,000. All we could make from it was the rent of our house and my mother’s medicines. All of us children used to do odd jobs. I somehow managed to get through till intermediate education, part with my uncle’s help and partly by teaching other students of my class.
Growing up, all I heard my father wish for was for me to attain a degree in fashion design and own a brand of my own. However, we had absolutely no means of realizing that dream. I tried to get into university many a times but looking at their fees schedule made me back off every time. I was 29 and had begun to regularly go with dad and assist him with tailoring. I learned a great deal from him.
One of his colleagues taught me design aesthetics. There came a day where I stitched my first dress. But this was when reality struck me. I saw that dress move from my sewing machine and showcased in the store. Being proud of what I had achieved, I went to the store to see how it looks as a final product. I looked at the price label on the dress that I had thought of and created and immediately understood the reason behind my father’s wish.
Something that I had created was being sold for triple of my father’s salary by a man we’ve never met. I couldn’t sleep for countless nights following that day. I couldn’t get over the reality of being employed. Of being underpaid. Under appreciated. Knowing what my talent was worth, I couldn’t live without being recognized for who I am. Top it with someone else making all the dollars and fame by it. Ever since, I made it a point to realize my father’s dream.
I spent hours working at the factory, learning as many crafts as I could and absorbing as much knowledge as possible. I wanted to train myself into becoming this man that my father and now, I, was working for.
I tried a million times to gather funds and continuously failed. One morning, I saw an advertisement in the news of an international company wanting to fund a fashion startup in Pakistan. Jumping with joy, I made all the necessary preparations and applied for the grant. I had little hopes of getting chosen but seeing how my father had wrinkled with just one wish in his life, kept me from being disheartened.
And the day finally came. I was reaching my 40th birthday when I got a call from someone who spoke in such a way I couldn’t decipher what they said. All I understood was that I had been granted something and I need to make my appeal. My father had left the factory. He was too old to work now. I went to his bed and whispered in his ears, ‘Dad, your wish has been granted. I’m going to fulfil it now’.
Life took its toll on us that day.
Now I am left with one wish of my own. I wish someone could pull me out of my grave and make me alive again.