06 December 2005
Meera, 12, sixth grade. Dorm Room. Bunker bed in corner, near the window. 1:45am.
“I love counting the stars through my window. Physics sir said there are thousands no millions of them. Wonder how many zeros are there in a million? He keeps saying it all the time. I am afraid to ask. Maybe tomorrow I will ask him after class. Hope he doesn’t think I am stupid”.
Jesminder, 43, Mud House. Open-sky Bathroom. 3 kids. Alcoholic husband. 3:17am.
“I am going to kill this bastard one day. He stole the hidden money for Ashraff’s school fees to buy liquor! Again! I might have to stop Pintu from going to school this year. What has this world come to, God, where the mother has to choose between her kids to send to school?!”
Muthukumar.27. Third Army Rifle Battalion. Married two weeks ago. 6:52am.
“No Birds. No trees. Not even shrubs. Just plain white ice capped treacherous mountains. Even the air breathes lightly. If someone risks all this to infiltrate and reach here, then he deserves a cup of chai and not bullets. The only thing keeping me warm is the memory of two weeks of togetherness with Malliga!
Abdul Malik.35.One Sister married to comrade. Address: Fighting for one.8:11am.
“The cold searing eyes of the five year old girl with a bullet in-between her eyebrows, still haunts me at night. Casualties of holy war. It’s all about numbers now.30 or 40 dead doesn’t make the cut. Fucking Newsmen! Maybe we should start shooting them first! Then they will write about our struggle!”
At 8:50 Am., the Earth shook under all of them. 7.6 magnitude on the Richter scale.
Meera from Muzzafarabad saw no stars under the rubble. Jesminder from Gujranwala, her three kids, husband, perished along with the hidden 100 rupee note. Muthukumar stationed in Baramula was never found. Abdul Malik from POK finally made news for a different reason!
There are Seventy Eight thousand Nine hundred and Ninety five more buried stories. And counting! When you write the number in words, you realize how tragic it is. When you see the bodies, you feel your helplessness and how they had no chance over it.And when you imagine the stories behind every one of those bodies, your heart doesn’t have the strength to hold them all.
Hindus.Muslims.Christians.Black.White.Fat.Lean.Stronger.Weaker.Terrorist.Armyman. Rich. Poor. Your War. My War. Your land. My Land. In the end, none of it mattered to the biggest terrorist of them all, Nature!
Perhaps that’s the whole point of these great tragedies. They visit upon us to remind us, how feeble and insignificant we are. They warn us, how petty and self-absorbed we have become. They make us recall, how arrogant and cruel we have been to our fellow beings. They make us think, how irresponsible and greedy we are with our environment.
We can’t stop them but they do give us an opportunity to change the way we live.To rise above the rubble and live with gratitude; with contentment; without prejudice; with compassion and above all, with love!
Written on: Saturday, 22 October 2005