“Mommy, what was my crime? Why did the man in the black boots target me? Was he from an enemy country?” I pleaded with her.   
 
Holding back her tears, she says”No beta…he was from our own country”
 
“Then why did he do this? He just came towards me. I was hiding under the desk and I could see the black boots approaching me. Wearing a mask he looked at me with bloodshot eyesthen I saw it; the barrel of the gun and the next moment…shots fired; many of them…red everywhere. 
 
And then all went black for a few moments. When I could open my eyes I could only see broken benches…benches torn apart by bullets. 
 
And then I saw the sight which made me want to scream; my friends lying everywhere, surrounded by pools of blood. Some shot through the mouth, some between the eyes; most on the back of the head…and all of them below the benches.
 
Why did I survive, mommy? Then I understood…I was under one of my friends; he was lying on top of me…and he was dead! 
 
His blood got mixed with mine; he took the brunt of the bullets meant for me and I got the bullets in my legs. I felt like screaming, but fearing being found out, I pushed my school tie into my mouth…waiting…waiting for the firing to stop. Will it ever stop? 
 
But why did I survive, mommy? Was it just providence…or was I saved by my friend falling on top of me? I will never know… I don’t want to know. Just give me back my friends. 
 
How will I go back to my school? My school was made up of my friends; will it still be my own school? 
 
How will I face the school walls sprayed with bullets…the screams of my friends reverberate in my ears…the ashes of my burnt teachers. Yes, they just set fire to my teachers! 
 
How could these people do this? Did they not go to schools? 
How will they face their own mothers…will their mothers be proud of what was perpetrated in the name of religion??
 
I am faced with lots of questions, mommy
 
Dthese people really go to heaven? Is it possible?
 
I am sure my friends who lost their lives will go to heaven. My teachers...they were such gentle souls; they will go to heaven. 
 
My friends, full of friendship and laughter…what if these murderers come face to face with my friends in heaven…but…but…that’s impossible…
 
I am confused, mommy. Please put your hand on my head. I need peace…
But what will my friends’ mothers do? They can’t embrace their sons…or daughters. They can’t wipe their tears. 
 
Who will wipe their tears? How will they survive? Their children… their smiling faces now, only in photos on the walls. And the warm clothes in the cupboards…nothing else…
 
But I will be their son. I will meet them…to comfort them. But will it be enough; enough to make them face life strongly. I don’t think so. But I will do it. I was saved to wipe tears.
 
I wonder what needs to be done to remove this cancer from society; which eats up innocent lives…just like swatting flies. 
 
I am sure revenge violence is not the answer. It just spirals out of hand…but then what is it…
 
Can you tell me, mommy
 

A mother did not have anything to say to her broken son, except to keep patting his head, hugging him to her bosom, hoping that he recovers…

 

____________________________________________

Yatindra Tawde

Written by Yatindra Tawde

In my daily office grind, I make it a point to find time for writing. It is my good fortune to have found discerning readers like you who appreciate my amateur attempts.