eulogy

Quetta Bombing–August 8

August 8, 2016. Bomb blast in Quetta outside a hospital killing more than 70 people, injuring several others. Did anyone ever think of the possibility of a bomb blast in a hospital? Well, now we do. How many other places like that? How many more innocent civilians? How many more soldiers, police officers, in the line of fire protecting these civilians? How many more innocent human beings? How many more of such incidents to completely desensitize us? Do we still mourn? Do we even feel the loss we are going through constantly, persistently—or have we lost it completely?

Have we become braver or just indifferent? Because ‘bravery’ is a quality and indifference is the absence of humanity. Every day I leave for work, I observe people heading to their offices, children for their schools—everyone in a hurry, breaking signals, beeping horns despite knowing there’s traffic ahead—that no one’s blocking their way on purpose, rendering traffic police powerless and frustrated. Nobody is bothered about the fact that they are heading towards the same destination eventually. That they all want to get to work. That they all have the same purpose. That no one is wasting their time intentionally. It’s a daily ritual. A car hits another. Both drivers come out, cars abandoned in the middle of the road, engage in verbal abuse—traffic blocked behind, none of them caring. Few others join them as spectators. Hardly anyone comes up to disengage them. Everyone is afraid. Weapons might come out, shots might be fired. Nobody wants to get involved. Everyone wants to witness, break some news later. I look at the sheer irony of it.

Workplace is a blessing. Friendly people, empowering work, friends to hang out with, coworkers to have a good time with, it’s almost a different world. Until reality kicks in. I log on to a local news website. There are honor killings, security threats, mourning letters from the families of those killed in the latest acts of terror. I overhear a coworker saying, ‘there have been security threats after the Quetta blast. There’s always calm before the storm.’ The hair at the back of my neck rise as I take it in. it’s always been true for Karachi.

The city has already been on high security alert because of the Independence month. People have been seen happier than most days because of the pleasant weather and a relative peace. But everyone secretly knows that schemes have been brewing—some people can never tolerate peace in this city. Quetta just might have been a reminder. So what do people do? Do they need to be brave? Or do they have to be indifferent? Brave has to endure pain willingly. Indifference makes you numb. Brave shows signs of life. Indifference is the death of the soul before demise.

I don’t believe we’re just dead. Perhaps we’ve been killed. Once, twice, thrice, and then all over again. It had been excruciating the first time it happened, but with time it became easier. We still feel when our soul is ripped apart. But every time, the pain is less. Every time the soul feels less violated. Perhaps we are getting stronger at this. And that perhaps is the paradox.

I realize I don’t have solutions; I am part of the problem myself. But I want to feel more, to feel alive. To make myself feel human. And so, while I can’t stop the bloodshed, I pray. I pray for the lack of indifference, for strength, for being part of a solution—I pray for life.

 

Eulogy

Old songs and farewells. Bomb blasts and taking exams. Hangings and burning alive, cheers and whistles, cries and screams—which ones are happy, which ones, sad. Giving love and taking life, giving life and breaking hearts—this is life? I don’t understand.

Firing for celebration, firing for vengeance—what is the difference, they say, when at the end of the end a mother cries, a child sobs, a lover dies, a story untold.

Life is unfair.

It’s complicated.

Life happens.

Go screw yourself—Because that’s not what a child grows up for.

For the dreams to shatter,

For a heart to break,

For his hero to die,

For the cars to crash,

And his wounds to be told that they’ll never heal?

Devise a new strategy. Tell them they won’t get a new toy if they break this one. Hide his father and tell him he’s dead. Break his heart at an early age so that when it breaks again, it doesn’t break him all over again. Tell him he will never make a pilot, a doctor, an astronaut because you know, he might never will. Why train him to be stupid? Isn’t it what life is?

Ha.

Words. Yes we play with words. We play with words to ruin lives. Kill, slay, slaughter, hang, destroy, demolish and raze people and their hearts. And then we play with hearts to compensate.

But hearts are where God lives. And God you see, has not been happy for a long time.

Epilogue: It’s been days since I’ve tried to form words. But they refuse to come out. There has been chaos around and my heart is a mess. It has just become too hard to cope with all the bloodbath around, people trying to find fault in order to hurt you, and breaking people’s hearts has become the easiest thing to do.  

I’ve tried to word my feelings in the easiest possible way. It has not been easy but I had to let them out.