“Ali, jump off the cushion, get ready, you will be late for school!!” Fatima exclaimed in her shrilling tone, the routine for her and her beloved son, each morning!
“Mom I do not want to go to school today. It’s a lazy winter morning, please let me stay at home and play with Doggie” begged Ali.
“Sweetheart, you will have all your friends waiting at the bus stop and your favourite teachers will be anxious if you do not go to school. They might be worried whether you are ill today! Do you want them to be tensed for you? Also, I have packed your tiffin box with your favourite cheesecake. Go to school and come back in the evening. I and Doggie will both come to pick you up!”
Seeing his efforts for bunking school in vain and a tad bit excited about sharing the cake during snacks with friends lifted his spirits and Ali hopped the way to school.
Little did Fatima know that this winter morning will shun the sun out of her life for ever! Not even in her wildest nightmares did she think that she will curse herself for the remaining of her life because she did not comply with Ali’s school bunking wish just this one morning! She knows in her heart, she will do just ANYTHING to rewind a half day and act differently. For just this one December morning! Shock does not let tears leave her eyes. She still is waiting at the bus stop, carrying Doggie along because she promised her son. She waits as the world blurs by her side.
She waits because she does not have the strength to believe that her bubbly kid she saw off early in the morning to play and learn in school, will come back as a corpse with a bullet in his head!
I have goose bumps even as I type this out, imagining this to be a scene in an innocent household in Peshawar, whose child did not return back from school, on 16th of December 2014 when Pakistani Talibans dressed in military clothes opened fire in their school and gunned down kids and teachers. The early death toll is over 100 and an unknown number held as hostages.
One more day when we mourn the death of hundreds of our breed, sadly by the brutality of our own breed! No, wait! Are they capable of being called humans, even? It takes more than being heartless to kill innocent kids at point blank range.
One more day in history marking a huge black dot on humanity! One more instance when a brutal terror attack makes our intestines churn. One more moment when you are close to believe that in some years, the most common cause of death will not be heart attacks, but Terrorism.
My prayers with the deceased souls! I let a tear escape my eyes on behalf of all the Fatimas out there waiting for their Alis to return. Rest in peace, children. And I pray you are reborn as some animal who is not in danger from its own breed.