I still remember the day they came home. Every minute details. Everytime I think of it these details seem to compete with my pain to get noticed. It is not the day, but details. All that I heard. My feelings. What it smelt like. And all that I had seen.
The clear sky. The clouds scattered all around. The knock on the wooden door. They asked for you. You. They did not know, maybe, that you were never home. Except for a few nights I saw Ma weeping. You, the sole breadwinner. Still Ma stood up for you, to make the void you left filled. And that was the last day I had a family. I had hidden myself under the cot. Camouflaging with the dusty newspaper and the old green trunk. I had seen the brown sturdy pair of boots coming towards me. For me. It carried along the scent of death. Fear. Stench. Of sweat. Of my wet trousers.
The boots had found me. I was pulled out. And I wished for darkness, where I could dissolve in. Darkness like Ma failed to fight for my safety.
Innocence dripped from my tears. I cried for Ma. But she had become a heap of silence. No more words. No more life. My pleas drowned as bullets spoke. Boots spoke. And when you came back the nest Ma had built for us had become rubble and remains. I hugged you. Threw myself into you to feel safe. I cried. Pain bled. The boots had earned that day an 8 year old's hatred. Uncorrupted. Pure and intense. As deep as my love for Ma. As deep as my pain of having lost her. Hatred.
Ma, but never taught me to hate. And I believed my pain was hatred.
Time heals, I was told. But wounds were all that healed. Scars remained. Along with it the pain too. Having had to live without Ma for two years pain had become my only ally.
"I hid under the desk, waiting for my death." He told having had survived the bullets. Though the words were his the pain wasn't strange to me. I heard my voice in his words. My past. My life.And I too shuddered in fear as the world talked of the 140 lives. Only that but this time the boots were my Baba's.
And now, I do not know whom to hate. The boots that made people who wore them bad? The boots that had silenced my Ma? Baba?
But who deserved hatred? Ma had told none. And I know no better than that.
Only if I could get to lay my head on Ma's lap. Live her smile and lullaby. Only if the world got lessons on love. Only if Ma had taught them all to love. Only if the world had grown beyond this blame game of hatred. Only if anyone tried to understand. Only if!
|Cause, hatred never heal wounded souls.|