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
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
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
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
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
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.”
- A note buried with a child victim of the Peshawar attacks.
[Edit: From a forwarded secondary source. Via online messaging. No primary source available so reliability under consideration.]