Monday, November 14, 2005

Logging Under the Rubble

Two weeks passed when a rescue team started removing the rubble of a primary school amid strong winds, cold and rain. Obviously it was too late and what they found inside were twenty girl students in dirt and all dead. With fear struck faces and holding tight to each other in twos and threes. They must have faced death for so many days before their lives finally ended in darkness. No one cared to come on time.

Taj, a nine years old girl was found holding a pencil and note book in her hands, with her innocent eyes wide open staring in the void. Her father shrieked as he found his little angel lying dead and stiff cold, all dusty.

All this time since she got trapped under that narrow triangle made by the fallen roof and walls of her class room , she didnt let go of her notebook and pencil and kept writing, and in that communicating with her mom and dad, all her lines begining with Mama or Papa.

But she didnt have any idea of what actually had happened, so she wrote to her dad in that homework book that someone has bombed their school, which made their classroom shake wildly at first, which made them hit and fall on each other, and then another explosion made the roof come down on her fellows. After which it was all foggy with dust.

For the first day, her log was coherent and with the date on top. But later, she scribbled her notes whenever it was enough light for her to jot down and whichever page opened in front of her, and whenever she came out of uncousciousness.

To her dad she writes:

"Papa, our teacher had just finished checking the homework of a few girls, but our classroom suddenly started shaking because some terrorist threw a bomb on our school. We fell on each other. We didnt even get back up when there was an explosion and two beams from the roof came down and with them the whole roof. It fell in such a way that it made our room into a triangle, with beams and the roof. When the dust settled, I saw Asifa, Jannat and Noor pressed under a beam and shouting in pain.Our teacher and the rest of tried hard to move it but it didnt, at all. Then they became still in a few moments. As they went quiet we all started crying and shouting in fear. Our teacher Mariam tried to calm us down and was reciting the Kalima loud. But another huge peice of roof fell on her and she was gone. Due to dust, fear and darkness we all became uncounsious. And then it was complete dark"

These are the last of her ordered notes. Scattered scribblings and fuzzy sentences make up the later part of her log. Now she writes without a date, and writes only when she is back to her consciousness and finds enough light to write on any page she sees.

"Papa, I dont know how I woke up. It was may be the pain, hunger or the sharp ray of light that fell on my eyes. I got up to sit. Everyone around me was laying unconscious and senseless. I started shivering so badly in horror. I called out Saba, Naheed, Yasmeen, but no one even moved, they were so cold.

"Papa, I started crying so much, and from out of nowhere Nazia came and clung with me, i got scared, and i shouted "Who"?, "Me Nazia".

"Papa I m so hungry, there is no water, then we started crying together, huddled with each other.

Now, Taj started writing in very short lines.

Papa, Nazia is so quied, she doesnt cry at all.

Papa, she doesnt talk.

Papa, I am so scared.

Mama, give me bread, give me water.

Papa, Mama, it is so cold.

Mama, my leg is getting stiff.

Papa Papa, Mama Mama

Mama, Who took my blanket

Papa, my stomach.

Mama dont you know, I need a blanket?

Mama where are you, where are you?

And then there is just a line stretching across her notebook, she could write no more. She held her copy till the end, and this is all what her father has of her now, who told how he had taught her to write a story, when she asked for it a year or so ago. He had told her to write just as an incident happens in front of her eyes, so she used to write a real story everyday of what she used to see around.

And she had a story to tell when she was dying too, no amount of words can ever tell her pain. Thousands other kids like her lost their lives in their very schools. They couldnt be reached because of the haphazard aid and rescue efforts. Wailing parents could do nothing with bare hands. But they kept clinging to the broken schools in a disoriented state, with their ears on fallen walls, to hear one word from inside. But most still can't even have their children's dead bodies, because this is all that they want now so they can see them, touch them and bury them with their own hands.

Time wasted is the time wasted. Though most from around the country have played their part, but there are more people left to be cared than those have been reached and helped. All because of being disorganized on the overall, and not being prepared even on the basic level.

We ask Allah to ease their pains, and give peace to the departed souls. Aameen.

Here is the original story in Urdu, from Urdupoint, where i read it:

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