Superheroes And Their Secrets

I am a common man.

Not a superhero, with a hidden identity. Yet, I have my secrets.

We all do.

And I am afraid of letting them out.

I do not have a job. But I have a family to feed.

Three sons and two daughters.

I pray to the Almighty. And to all the Saints. It is my belief that they will take my troubles away.

I cycle to the City every morning, with a hopeful head to the sky.

Could today be the day? I wonder.

But I return, with a discontented heart to see the look of longing in my children's eyes.

They say unemployment is rife, even for the educated out there. I do not have any education. I can barely read and write.

I want better for my family. I want to change the way things are.

My father used to tell me about sacrifice that men normally make in lives to sustain their families. "As long as there is food on the table every night while saying grace, they will love you."

I started bringing money back to my village a few months ago. My family smiled. My children hugged me. I was happy.

It was all going to be okay.

Then, my wife insisted on taking my eldest son with me to work, everyday. I did not know what to say. What to do.

My son, finally able to lend a hand to his old man - was a great feeling. But how was I to tell him what I did. He would have been ashamed.

I convinced them, otherwise. I told them I had bigger plans for him. He was going to be a big man.

But he followed me, one day.

He watched me enter my friend's house, a short distance away. He watched us change into dark burqas, and leave the village on foot. He watched as I held my palms out at passers-by on the road throughout the day.

He watched me beg. He had learnt the truth.

Why I did what I did, was a difficult question. I could have been a gardener. A security guard. A car-washer. A tea-boy. Anything more dignified.

Perhaps I was afraid I was not good enough. Or glad that it was easy. To be clad in robes all day, without anybody realising who I was. Even if it meant putting in jeopardy the one thing that I had.


I was ashamed when they all found out. But it was too late. Too late to rewind and undo everything. My decisions. My choices. My life.

And as I stand at the edge of my death, I confess to you.

We all have an inner side to us, hidden behind a mask.

We all have secrets.

But no - we are not superheroes. We are common people.

And in our case, the reality does not always end nicely...