Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

I was a millionaire at sixteen. I still am a millionaire at nineteen.

My financial situation has always been the centre of attention, gossip and plenty of controversy. I mean, obviously, a teenager who has just lost his father cannot possibly have enough money to get his sisters married
and study in one of the most expensive cities in the world. That's just impossible, they'd say.

Of course, I managed to do both. Successfully. Actually it would be very mean to say I did it all, when it was my brave and quite shrewd Mum who pulled it all off so easily.

Yes, so this issue has been the source of intense debate of "behind the closed doors" sort. And I think, today, I have the courage to speak what has been on my mind all these years. To actually let the world know how I made it this far in one piece, and if there have been any mishaps on the way that I could account for.

It is quite overwhelming, may I add, to discover that quite a lot of people have taken a keen interest in my life and successes, be it for their own greedy means. But thank you so much for talking about me day and night, night and day; it is only through your support, concern and unwavering interest that I, determinedly, came this far.

Okay, so let's begin from the start. Or start from the beginning: whichever choice of words you fancy. My Dad was a banker. He was the Senior Manager at Al-Rajhi Bank's Main Branch in Riyadh. And before you ask me, I have no idea what he did at the position, because I was too much of a git swimming in my own world of ignorance (who had no idea about the rollercoaster plummet he was about to take) to have asked him what he did at work.

What I do know, is that he started the IT Audit department back in the early '80s, when he joined Al-Rajhi. Which is why he was believed to be an asset to the organisation. Therefore, his untimely death did leave shocks and setbacks in its wake, but these were mostly short-lived, especially as far the bank was concerned. A month later, they had a new Senior Manager filling in my Dad's shoes, taking up everything that he had left incomplete, normalising the routine of everyday chores and duties.

Obviously, his death had a direct impact on us. Yes, let me add, that his beloved sister did nothing to express her grief, and instead, carried on as usual with her son's wedding that had all the dancing, singing and ear-blasting music which is typical of our Asian weddings on the day of his death. Needless to say, we do not see that Aunt anymore. And we weren't at the scissoring end of the relationship, either, dare I add.

Right then, the big question loomed in front of us. Now what? Where to, next? Honestly, if it weren't for my Uncles and Dad's friends, we would have been in a rough spot. I probably wouldn't have been able to sit for my A-levels, either. But during this time of chaos I owe them my life, for bringing stability and strength, two things that helped us swim through the first six months of what I considered eternal devastation. They worked with Al-Rajhi, who are by far, a few of the greatest individuals I have ever heard of in my short-spanning life. Not only did they let us live at our current accommodation, they also extended our Exit-Re-Entry-Visa to give
me enough time to finish applying to Universities and sit for my A-levels.

And then my Mum had to answer the biggest question of all: did we have enough? Enough for the weddings? enough for my education? Enough for our daily expenses?

To be honest, I still don't know if we do. All I know is that it was enough to have got us through these three long and difficult years of our life.

So, what did we have at the time of my Dad's death? Our house in Lahore, a few properties elsewhere in Pakistan, some thousands of rupees in my parents' Pakistan bank account, and their total savings (which weren't that many) in bank accounts of Riyadh. Let me add here that at the time, I still would have made it to England, but at the price of several trade-offs, at every moment of time in life. We may have even had to sell the lands we owned to pay for the cash outflow.

But, God didn't hate us that much. And I add this line with a smile. He was very Kind enough to ensure that my Dad worked for people who had a heart the size of their grand in-coming wealth. They obviously had to pay my Dad's share for
graduity - I think that's what you call it - and on top of that, I don't know why, but they wanted to pay towards my education in England, as well.

And today, I am at Queen Mary, University of London, only thanks to Al-Rajhi, the people who made my dream come true by sharing a small portion of their wealth with me.

Yes, let me not forget that I got to inherit our house in Lahore, which currently is estimated to be around 20 million Pakistani Rupees. Yes, that does make me a millionaire. Yes, that has made me the envy of the family. That has made most of my family indifferent and ignorant to my feelings, as they trample and crush them with their bandwagon of jealousy and spite. They think, just because I am rich, I have everything. Not even for once do they realise that I still have a heart, a heart of a child, longing for love and affection. Desiring a smile and pat on the back. Wanting a fatherly figure providing invaluable guidance.

It is very easy for them to say, "Why work? What have you all this wealth for?" and not realise the pain my Dad endured to have earned this wealth. Then how could I be so childish, immature and reckless to splash it all out on my wild escapades?

Why is a millionaire like myself juggling University and work that brings him approximately three-hundred pounds a month, with which he pays for his expenses? Why is it that he waits for sales before he goes out and buys himself clothes? Why does he sometimes skip meals to save a few pounds for the next day? Why doesn't he tell anyone that he isn't a local and has traveled from afar to achieve education?

Why does he fail to make everyone around him realise that he still is a teenager, who misses his father, dearly? That he doesn't want money and all he needs is a little love and warmth...

In times like this, who'd want to be a millionaire?

Would you?


  1. Absolutely brave and bold and beautiful of you.
    Rich or poor, we all have a heart. I can only say, you always have our love. And the jealousy, envy, gossip and scandal of all those people out there, can never sum up to your father's love, your mother's love. And we all know, you will do just fine Arsy. You'll do great and you'll reach even further than you already have.
    Like you said...God didn't hate you, and you won't give Him any reason for that either.
    Dad, Mum and God. You'd be a 'millionaire' even without all that land.

  2. Aww, cow, that made my day! XD thank YOU!

  3. Like I said, I might actually start to like it :P.
    Had me absorbed, it did :P.

  4. This post... it touched me ;)

  5. What amazes me is that on top of all that, you succeeded like any other child with a father would do. Allah, therefore, is always there for you, for his followers.
    Never feel lonely, there are so many of us here for you, ready to provide you with unconditional help whenever needed.
    You go, RC! Show the world what you have in store for them. No power beats yours.