A for Apple. B for Bullet.

Public-and-Private-School-Education-system-in-Pakistan

Dear Ma,

I’m sure the news has reached you by now. I hear the police cars outside, their deafening sirens a welcome change from the dead silence in the classroom.
I don’t think I will make it. It’s getting harder to breathe and I am feeling drowsy. I wish you were here. Fussing over me like you do when I hurt myself. You’re probably outside the school gates right now. I am hoping you can hear my thoughts.

We were in English period when they stormed into the class. It all happened so fast I didn’t have time to think. They shot ma’am first. “Get under your tables” she yelled before she fell to the ground. We scrambled to hide under them.
I sat still, my eyes on the floor as a pair of black shoes got closer and closer. His shoes were a lot bigger than mine. I was too afraid to look at his face. He shot me twice. One in each leg. I fell to the floor in seconds. Ahmed who sat beside me screamed when he saw the blood oozing out of my legs. They shot him in the chest thrice. No one screamed after that.

I lay very still and pressed my eyes shut. Pretending to be dead as I waited to get shot again. Each time I heard a gunshot, I would hold my breath and wait for the pain. But they didn’t shoot me again. “We’re done here. Keep moving” someone said. Their footsteps ringing in my head long after they were gone.

I lay there, looking around the classroom. The silence interrupted only by the sound of the fan, that continued to spin as if nothing had happened.
You know Ma, I realise that lives have no value.
It makes me wonder why you insisted that I finish my homework before school. Why you spent hours teaching me geometry. Why you get angry when I chew loudly. Doesn’t it seem like such a waste now?
To spend our time on petty things, like Potassium’s position in the periodic table, learning my mother tongue, or remembering to be a gentleman. None of it could save me.
At dinner yesterday, you told me not to eat another jamun. That if I take care of my health, I would live a long life. Ma, it seems so ridiculous now, that we celebrated my birthday last week. The cake, the presents, my favourite caramel pudding. Like a prank we didn’t know we were falling for.

In these 5 minutes I realised, that the world has no appreciation for beauty. For friendship. For laughter.
It didn’t matter to them that Zara was to perform for us after class this afternoon. That Ahmed and I planned on buying ice-cream after school. That Samah was going to get the prize for being the Science topper. Everyone died anyway.
You know ma, we invest in our lives with such a relentless passion, not once realising how fragile it is. You drive me to music class twice a week. Mark sums on my textbook for me to answer. You tell me to remember to be polite, learn my lessons and eat healthy.
But ma, no one was spared. Not even the ones who finished their breakfast. The ones who handed in their homework. Or the ones who prayed this morning.

Ma, I don’t think I can stay awake much longer. And I think I will breathe my last, lying on this battlefield of scattered bodies, shoes and stationery.
My English textbook lies beside me on the floor. Still open on the same page it was at when they stormed in. I close my eyes one last time, because I cannot bear to look at it any longer.

Seems almost absurd now, that a world like this, could inspire poetry.

40 thoughts on “A for Apple. B for Bullet.

  1. I don’t believe I’ve ever read such an article before,my hands were shaking as I held my phone trying to read this write up,trying but failing disastrously at fighting back my tears.I have goosebumps all over,perception of life is changing.

  2. I could barely make it to the end of the article. I had teary eyes and quivering hands. I have a 5 year old son and I almost imagined what I would feel if I was reading this letter. I think if I was the mom reading this letter, I would be in heaven now, right next to my baby. Really really sad day.

  3. Beautifully, poignantly written. You captured the tragedy of the massacre beautifully in the most heart-rending manner possible. Today the entire world is stunned by the cruelty of those terrorists.
    Your line about the battlefield of stationery and the last birthday celebration nearly made me cry.

  4. Pingback: A for Apple. B for Bullet. | Shrestha Roy's Blog

  5. Krshna…I don’t have the heart to call it nice. All I’ll say is, I wish the people who shot them could read this now…if they are still humans beneath their devilish exterior, they’d probably be up in the heaven instantly…right beside these angels. 😦

  6. Pingback: A for Apple. B for Bullet. | bombayjewess

  7. Reblogged this on thepurpleirises and commented:
    A definite must read, especially in these horrid times where a grown man can tower over an 8-year-old and lift a gun and shoot him without a second thought.

    This piece truly touched me, it’s beautifully written.

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  9. I’m a Pakistani, and like every other Pakistani, I am very distraught over this dastardly incident. To think anyone could even plan on killing a single child is shocking enough but this incident has shaken us to the core. Not just the Pakistanis but all over the world, especially India.
    The outpouring of heartfelt grief and sorrow from our neighbors is overwhelming and has really touched our hearts.
    I remember similar reaction in Pakistan when Mumbai attacks took place. All this proves that we are united in fighting the evil of terrorism.
    This “cancer” has deprived both our nations of so many souls and now it has targeted the most innocent of them all…. children!
    I’m a mother too and reading this today has shattered my heart all over again. I felt like I was in that room, looking helplessly at those kids being slaughtered one by one. I cannot and don’t ever want to imagine what the mothers of those children must be going through. How many of those kids must have called out to their parents in those last minutes? How many must have wanted to go back home, one last time?
    Ya Allah, If people like us, who didn’t actually know the children, are grieving like this, can you imagine their parents bereavement?
    I would like to thank you, Krshna, for writing this heartrending article that reduced me to tears. May Allah bless those little angels and may He give strength to their families in these difficult times. Ameen

  10. wonderfully written … i have been following your blog.. and this is the best one i have read so far… Great work!! best wishes!

  11. You made the reader realise the situation from the eyes of those innocent children. Very nice writing. Touching. ++ Likes

  12. We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of
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