Once and for All

Once and for All

Zeeshan Mumtaz has always been a bright young lad. He had received good ‘O’ Level Grades and truly excellent ‘A’ Level Grades. Since the business was his passion and the career which he knew was going to pursue, he studied it for a bachelor’s degree.

However, his plans to study for an M.B.A. degree came to a halt when his father suffered a severe heart attack and he had to step into his shoes as Director of Khan Enterprises and Limited.

Over a period of time, he was controlling and running the family business, which consisted of retail food outlets but he was an academic out-stander at heart. Besides, he had wanted that Master’s degree with the same zeal of zest that an athlete runs after a prestigious gold medal. So, for this particular reason, he enrolled at an American Business School and decided to opt for an M.A. by thesis.

The rules of the university were that all theses submitted by postgraduate members or students had to be absolutely the results of their own efforts and research in totality. But research took time. Zeeshan knew that it meant sitting in libraries for hours, sifting, through books, journals, encyclopedias, and browsing the internet. With already a massive network of business to run, and a wife and family to take care of he did not have the time for this. He had the will but the way in order to practically prove his potentiality and capability had to be found.

Zeeshan has never ever cheated in his examinations in his entire life. He tried to burn the midnight oil and study but soon halos white light would circle before his eyes and he would instantly slop down over his books continuously and fall asleep rapidly. It wasn’t working.

The submission date for the thesis drew nearer and nearer yet he was no closer to achieving his target. What could he do? Withdraw from the university? Most probably No! That would be too humiliating and seemingly foolish. What would he tell his family and friends?

Then, an idea struck him like a thunderbolt. He would get that M.B.A. by ‘crook’. There was a student working in his business who paid his college fees by working in the factory as a packaging sector supervisor tirelessly. He was a foreign student, extremely intelligent, who could definitely produce not only his own thesis but Zeeshan’s also. Sitting on the director’s chair, Zeeshan called him. His name was Qadeer Ahmed.

‘You called me Sir’.

‘I did’.

‘How can I serve you’?

‘Write my thesis on the specified topic appropriately and wholeheartedly with no mistakes at all, I will pay you five thousand pounds for doing it’.

‘Sir, that’s breaking rules of university administration, it’s not allowed!’.

‘Just do it Qadeer; do it if you still want to work here’.

‘Sir, this isn’t fair’.

‘Qadeer life isn’t fair’.

Dejectedly, Qadeer walked away. He had no choice. It had taken him a long time even to find this job since the unemployment rate raised sharply due to the worldwide pandemic. Besides, he owed the university money and if he stopped working, who would he pay his fees. So, Zeeshan coerced Qadeer into breaking the rules. They both were culprits. Zeeshan ended up submitting a thesis that was merely not his own work. Qadeer was guilty of helping him. It seems as if neither of them had any alternative choice.

When Zeeshan walked up onto the stage on graduation day and received his M.B.A. degree and he was smiling brightly. The crowd applauded but somehow, from inside he felt empty; hollow; unhappy, and guilty. His honor had been at stake so he had no choice but to cheat. He had made Qadeer cheat for him and bribed him, basically forced him to do it.

In the eyes of the world, he was a highly successful man. The director of a thriving business, the proud father of three lovely toddlers and husband of an adoring wife, the holder of a prestigious noteworthy qualification.

As he walked down the hallway, he wondered what all those people would think if they had known that he had broken the rules. But he had no choice. Metaphorically, he was a true Janus and praiser of hypocrisy.

To the public, he was an enviable figure, but in private his conscience ate away at him, he could not sleep at night nor could he live with the soul of himself. That false inner self – satisfaction grew rapidly and gradually but that self-confidence and his decision-making ability also peacefulness or calamity of mind shattered once and for all.

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