Panadol lasts longer than a day!

Faaiz Gilani
7 min readJun 22, 2020

Do you have a particular moment from your past that you still cherish? Fondly recall it? Tell others about it? While looking at something wholesome, draw comparisons with it? Well, frankly speaking, everyone has some beautiful moments from the past and it is important to spread such tales, spreading positivity and encouraging such kind acts.
With two months left to complete the first year of A-Level, the burden of education was slowly taking a toll on us as the teachers were trying their level best to complete the course in the limited time at the expense of our comfort. Moreover, if you had by any chance enrolled yourself for AS Examination, you were at a major disadvantage as the school refused to cooperate, reluctantly forcing the pupils to not only attempt the school examination (by studying a major chunk of content from A2) but also had to stay awake late in the night to cover the AS course on their own. As a result, at times, extreme exhaustion would lead to unbearable headaches on particular days. The headache would be so painful that at times I would bang my head against the table where I was seated, in a desperate attempt to overcome it as the constant feeling of someone hammering my head would make me go nuts! For some of you who may have seen me in this situation, pretty sure you would vouch for the fact that I am a different person at that moment, more than willing to argue over pettiest things, ignoring all those who may be calling me and sometimes looking lost even if you are directly talking to me.
Thus, to avoid any possible chance to create a mess, I tend to avoid public interaction during the bouts of pain in my head, not only for my peace but also to avoid offending someone due to my irritated nature accompanied by brutal honesty. With fifteen minutes left before our mandatory English class, I had resided to the quietest spot of the Café, head resting on the table, ignoring most of the things being said by Fahar, who was trying his best to make me feel better. Since it was rare to see a person like myself calmly resting on a chair with his head down, many fellow peers came forward to enquire about my health and the reason for the difference in energy for the day. Amongst them was Mahrukh too, not only the Head Girl of the school but also a friend. Fahar, acting as an able secretary, was busy answering everyone’s questions, letting them know about the unbearable headache and the difference in mood associated with the condition. However, my buddy forced me to come along and attend the class we were meant to attend as I dragged my feet across the A-Level floor towards the classroom.
The class that we had to attend was taught by Miss Farzeen, a person whom we considered more of a friend rather than a teacher. Upon my arrival to the class with a frown and agitated behavior, rather than a customary smile accompanied by an eagerness to enjoy the class, the empathetic side of the teacher got the better of her. Immediately, she asked, “If you want I can mark you present for the day and you can leave as clearly you aren’t feeling so well right?” On a normal day, with my rational thinking, I wouldn’t have wasted a second to flee the class as I won’t have to study and could utilize the spare time to get a much-needed rest, but on that particular day, the offer felt more of favor with my inner consciousness immediately declaring it as unacceptable and slightly embarrassing. Therefore, I assured the teacher I will be fine while walking towards the very end of the class, finding a seat next to the wall. Miss Farzeen began her lecture, talking about the book called “1984” by George Orwell. Since the class was meant to be an interactive one, intending to harness our English speaking skills, the teacher quickly asked several questions based on some of the chapters. As expected, none of the students knew the answer as they hadn’t read them in the first place but I was well aware of the answers. Therefore, to save our class from a possible punishment, I gallantly raised my arm, catching the teacher’s attention before elaborating on the answers. However, midway through my speech, I felt agony as if someone smashed a hammer against my head, immediately forcing me to clutch my head with my arms, stopping the speech only to sideline myself from any participation for the remainder of the class.
For the next ten minutes, my mind was involved in a web of complex thoughts ranging from how embarrassing it is to stop midway through your answer to the possible thought that maybe the teacher now believes I never knew the answer in the first place and intentionally acted to prevent answering the remaining questions. Although none of these may seem to be fairly significant, they were enough to distract me to some extent from the antagonizing pain which only seemed to increase with time. While I was busy mind-boggling with such questions arising in my head, something unexpected was about to take place in the moments that were to follow. The wooden rusty door of Paragon roared as someone flung it open, disturbing the whole decorum of the class. Everyone lost focus from what the teacher was explaining to see the unexpected visitor at the door. Believing that maybe it is just another student who lost track of the classrooms and accidentally entered the wrong class, I did not bother to see who the unforeseen visitor was. Rather than hearing the expected, “Sorry wrong class”, my eyes quickly shifted towards the door after Miss Farzeen exclaimed, “Yes Mahrukh?” The friend at the door, with a plate in one hand, mobile in another, struggling to keep hold of the water bottle balanced on her arm stood there at the door for a while, scanning the whole class for someone or something without saying a word.
By now, even I was getting curious to see what she does later as instantly, she spotted the target like a soaring eagle searching for its prey, moving to the next phase of her plan. Next, she approached the person sitting closest to the door, placed the plate and the water bottle on his desk, murmuring something which couldn’t be understood from the distance I was seated at. After that, she swiftly turned around, in desperation to quickly leave the class. In this haphazard process, she fumbled, dropping her phone from quite a high height, creating a stentorian audible boom in a pin-drop class, quite an embarrassing situation as everyone’s eyes were fixed on her. Eventually, she left the class and the teacher looked at all of us with a sense of puzzlement. “What did just happen?” exclaimed the confused teacher. The person sitting closest to the door who now possessed the plate and water bottle handed over by Mahrukh said, “She asked me to pass it over to Faaiz”. So now all the thirty students seated in the class along with the teacher shifted their eyes onto me. I could see their eyes asking for an explanation from my side over what had occurred. “Fahar you sure she didn’t confuse me with you?” I questioned my buddy as I was clueless. What did she send? Maybe something from the school administration? No, it can’t be as that wouldn’t explain the plate right? Maybe the person receiving the plate misunderstood what she said and maybe it was for Fatima Sajid? With all these questions in my mind, I saw the plate being passed on from one person to another until it finally reached Fahar.
Being my wingman, it was his duty to first take a look himself before I got to it, letting out a sweet smile after viewing the things brought on the plate before finally handing it over to me. An unexplainable smile appeared across my face, feeling words failed to explain, the mere sight of the contents on the plate themselves were enough to make me forget my headache, as in front of me were two tablets of Panadol, one chicken bread, a brownie, and a water bottle. Soooo she remembered my headache and did all of this for me? In thirty minutes, went to Miss Naila’s office to get Panadol, buy the food from the café so I can get over my headache? What did I ever do to deserve such help from someone? I have numerous friends, some whom I consider closer than the Head Girl but none of them did what she pulled off. I don’t even remember if I thanked her properly for her kind act at that particular time.
More than three years have passed since this very incident, with people going off to face their separate worlds and challenges, meeting new people, forging stronger friendships but an act of kindness done by someone especially when you need some help can never be forgotten. Even at university, whenever I come across such headaches, forget getting a Panadol, people end up fighting over my lack of enthusiasm to interact or blunt behavior (not claiming that they don’t care though, they are amazing too). The world is a small place with time quickly consuming the years we are to live. While it is important to look after your own needs and wants, it is pivotal that you care for those alongside you, facing the brutality of life. Maybe your one act of kindness can change the way they feel? Or remember your actions for years to come with the determination to show the same kindness they once got to relish. After seeing Mahrukh’s Instagram story of an email from a person thanking her for her help, my mind instantly recalled the generosity and kindness she once showed me too, making it utterly important to share that experience.



Faaiz Gilani

An aspiring writer, with no prior writing experience, talking about his experiences to help others getting bored in Quarantine……….enjoy my short stories!