It’s a startling world we live in. Places, people and memories are more likely to be associated with blood-chilling incidents than peachy, frolicky wonder years of the past. Dejavu is no longer a pleasant subtle whiff of a relived moment. It’s a creepy nightmare we’ve all had over and over again. It is in-our-faces rude, unpleasant and obvious.
Bomb blast in Quetta. And not just anywhere, at a hospital. This is not a memory I want to associate this beloved land with. More than seventy defenceless souls blown to shreds. This is not a moment I want to remember when I think of Quetta.
I want to think of its abundant fresh produce, its delectable weather, rosy colored parched cheeks of local children, mighty mountains and luscious lakes one can’t stop seeing.
I want to think of it as some of the best years of my life where I made friends for life and discovered lifelong traits. But blood? No that is not a memory I can keep.
But it doesn’t matter what I want or what any one of us wishes. What matters is that we can’t stay distant anymore. Our aloofness is shedding itself like post-bruise crusty skin. We can’t stand watery-eyed and pouty-lipped at the outskirts anymore. We can’t shake our heads in disbelief and then get back to grocery shopping, because it’s as easy as turning off wifi. We can’t disconnect ourselves.
These tattered memories of paths we once walked on, or soft hands we once shook, or history-soaked houses we once lived in, are all on route to extinction.
The children of tomorrow will have different memories of this place we call Earth. The children of the future will smell a most repugnant odour, taste a most putrid flesh, and touch a most prickly thorn. Our children will not have it easy.
So what if you live in Paris? Or the United States? Or Germany? Or Turkey? Or Bangladesh? Or Saudi Arabia? We are not all different. Schools, hospitals, religious institutions, nothing is a safe haven, nothing is off-limits. Soon recalling moments of the most romantic city in the world, or the bluest of blue heavens in Turkey will not be possible without dodging a hard, painful lump in the throat. This disease where rabid humans tear each other to bits is spreading faster than wildfire. This plague is affecting every single nook and cranny of our bruised planet. And we are fast running out of band-aid.
I like writing about hope. I like looking at the positive side. But sometimes I need to write it like it is. Only then does that help me cherish what I still have, while I still have it. Memories are precious.
The luxury of an untainted memory safely twirling like a sleek ballerina in a jewelry box is slowly slipping away. It could happen to you. It could happen to me.
So hold on tight while you can, to the loved ones, to the opportunities that come your way, to the faith, to the hope. Most importantly to the hope. Because more than anything it will prepare our indifferent minds to the reality of death. It will help us see a world where every day mothers bear children no matter how fiercely the clouds of misery burst. It will help us retain our compassion where all that prevails is mistrust and deceit. It will help us pray with truth and love, for people who suffered in Quetta today, for the countless lives before them splattered all over the globe, and for the ones who will bleed again, cry again, die again.