My dear Ambreen,
Since our friendship is only just burgeoning I am unsure how to respond. I do not know if you prefer a 'well done post' or would actually tolerate a in depth critique from a 'nobody' amateur like myself. I do not know if you are seeking a debate upon the substance, the subject, since this is not the debate mansion or if you are wanting a response to its form. Please forgive any offense and remember I truly am a nobody whose opinion does not matter in the grand scheme of things, especially your life.
Firstly some lines that caught my attention in their eloquence.A paper which can be torn apart, burned and then be made again, No the paper held more value than a person.
they seemed to be playing a tennis match, their signals being the ball and their eyes being the racket.The man sitting in the middle grumbled something while clearing his throat
I loved the tone of the piece, the building up towards a 'climax' from the still and silent setting, that explosion brewing, its imminence felt from the beginning. Very well done.
I loved how although the ending wasn't a victory over harsh reality it was nonetheless inspiring as such, for she sought to make a change, that difference. Victory lies in our efforts not the results.
You crafted very well the fast pace of the story BUT still maintaining it in the past tense, thereby allowing for points of ponder and conjecture, flashbacks to illuminate the present more clearly adding that layer of hindsight of wisdom THROUGH keeping the 'action' present tense. Very well written!
You captured the shallowness of the situation by creating an empty ambiance, very beautifully done.
I loved how you created that imagery of oppression, of unfairness of odds, with that five to one ratio adding that layer of antagonism with the male and female, for there are degrees of differences between say men and men or women with women from men and women combination, so I liked your choice, for me I understood it as a glance to 'yesterday' way of thinking, that woman trying to make a mark in a man's world, as you echoed again, with her father trying to 'protect' her by not giving her an education because he never intended for her to work, but the women of the household realizing that the world is changing, maybe for the worse in some respects as your piece pointed out. I digress, I meant that the old battle of women being allowed to work, those centuries of struggling, became paralleled with this new struggle. I liked this aspect very much! very well done!
I liked the way you italicized the 'education is the key to your tomorrow' and 'I'm a nobody' creating a kind of yin yang illumination.
Finally I loved the the whole style of the piece, a simple interview but layered with meaning of society, of standards and of souls. Truly very well done!
Now to the substance, education. I have long since been saddened by the state of our education system. Students taught empty knowledge which they regurgitate to pass empty exams to find empty jobs towards an empty life. People seeking knowledge to pass exams alone is not an education. Our ancestors understood that knowledge is an essential component to a person's character, it refines them, it grants them depth, it illuminates the wonders of the world and their own wondrous nature too.
Seeking knowledge that mixes with the person's mind and soul, affects them, becomes a part of their being whether they accept it or not.
For too long have we failed our children by creating establishments for seeking knowledge that only deter, bore and harden a person's desire to do so. Seeking knowledge is a beautiful privilege as much as it is a right. I loved the film 3 idiots, for it showed me that I am not alone in my sentiments. As you stated "you might be right a paper does not define you as a human, but this same piece of paper gives you a status in this society," so it depends upon a person's intentions, the reason they want that piece of paper, an accessory, a means to glory or as here a key to open a door wherein they can finally showcase to the world the person, the character they have become through their 'education.'
Some seek to make a place for themselves in this world others make this world a place for themselves, their community.
True as you pointed out, for some seeking knowledge is just a means to put bread upon the table, but even here it need not be so harshly done. There are many aspects involved and the discipline in attaining such is alone beneficial for the soul and character.
I hope for a change, a regression to the past methods and techniques that understood that an education is an honour indeed.
Thank you for your beautiful piece. Love Sabah.