Ali Moeen Nawazish on 15, Jan 2012
When Arfa was 9, newspapers and television anchors talked ceaselessly about how becoming the youngest Microsoft professional had made her the Wonder kid of our nation. They portrayed her as this scholarly and somewhat highly intellectualised figure. The image of a child who liked nothing more than to glue her eyes to a computer screen, and saw what no one else could perceive behind the monitor's glass. Most of us have in fact seen the famous photograph of her in Redmond Washington, standing alongside the Microsoft headquarters. She seemed as if she was always meant to be there, a God-gifted computer genius. But today I don't want to talk about her intelligence and abilities. Instead, I want to focus on the things that increased my praise and admiration for her more than any of her academic achievements ever could.
Recalling one of her very first experiences with computer, Arfa once said "When you push a button, something magically appears on the box." As much as I would like to portray this simple quote as something remarkably astute, I must point out that it isn't so. These are simply the words of a child who merely chose not to give up on her imagination – something every child is born with. This reminds me of something Einstein once said:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." Arfa not only imagined what no one else did, but she also made her imagination come true.
All children have dreams about one day doing something extraordinary but as we grow up, what we call the realities of life, slowly start setting in and at some unknown point in our lives, we become afraid to dream big. That's one thing Arfa never did. She always knew, if you don't dream big then what's the point in dreaming. At 9, Arfa said, she would like to go to Harvard University or MIT, and then either go to work for Microsoft, in its developer division, or become a satellite engineer.
At 16, her dreams still hadn't changed. In fact, they had become even more ambitious.
Among the things that aren't generally known about Arfa are the facts that she was amazingly humble, energetic, driven to help others, unafraid to ask questions and that she could fly a plane. Yes, a plane. I have lost count of the number of small kids I have met who say that they want to grow up to be pilots but Arfa didn't wait till she grew up. Oh and did you know she liked Ghazals and even sang them! She was taken from us too soon, and perhaps the youth has felt the pain more so than anyone else.