- Four brothers and five sisters. Plenty of company.
- Always the youngest was the centre of interest and attention, till the next came.
- Not so much food, not such good clothing as if there had been fewer.
- But the love and companionship of brothers make up for everything.
In our family, there are ten. I have two brothers and two sisters younger than myself, while two brothers and three sisters are my seniors. It is a fine big circle at meal times, as you can well guess. My father has never been a rich man, and is now earning two hundred and twenty rupees a month. With the price of food what it is now a days, you can well realise that our meals are not luxurious, and the nothing can be wasted. But we have always had plenty of simple, nourishing food, and none of us have ever had to go hungry. So we are much better off than millions of poor people in our country.
With regard to clothing, also, it is always difficult to make both ends meet. The prices of cloth are high, and it is a constant problem for our parents to have us all neatly and respectably clothed. I pointed out to mother last week that my coat was now too small for me. I had hoped for a new one, but she produced this coat, which used to belong to my brother Ahmad I rather think it was Arshad before Ahmad got it.
Well it is clean and neatly mended, so there is nothing to grumble about. Since uncle Ashraf died last year, our two cusins. Akram and Aslam, have come to live with us. It makes things even more crowded, but we all know that they have nowhere else to go, so no one would ever think of grumbling. We are exceedingly crowded at night-time, for there are only three rooms in our house, but again we are better off than other people who, perhaps, have no house at all.
Mother seems to have just as much sympathy and love for each one of us as if that one were the only child. I have never known her to need reminding about a single birthday when it feel due. If I am ever in difficulty with my home-work, and that is by no means uncommon, I have always two or three patient helpers beside me . immediately. If I want to be quiet, I am left in peace. We are quite enough to form a game or a discussion any time we like. And because there are so many of us, it is very necessary that we think of others rather than of ourselves, and of our parents first of all. Single children and small families tend to become self-centered, where as we are like a little community, and there could be no more useful lesson in life than that. Big as is our circle, we could not spare a single member of it, and I am very grateful that things should be as they are.