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Umair Rehman

Spring was the season of green mountains and meadows, blushing and an expanse of yellow
mustard flowers in the fields around our village. O’ Kashmiri mornings are full of activity. I
would wake up to the banging of utensils in the kitchen and the sounds of chicken running
around in the courtyard after my grandfather let them out of their coop. I and my cousins used
to go for the bath at my local watercourse named as SONAMUN, where we ought to enjoy the
coolness of this very fresh water. And make ourselves ready for the whole busy schedule which
we met during the whole school day. This very coolness and freshness lasted for the whole day.
This was our usual and habitual habitude in order to equip ourselves. But one day things
changed from customarily, that on 2
nd April 2002, all the children went to school with hustle
and bustle with their beautiful uniform. It was a sunny day, I too went towards my Dream
school with pristine look. As usual we gathered in assembly meeting and make queues in a
sequential way and offered prayers in a high tone. After finishing the said assembly we being
set foot in our respective classes. In a frequent way we completed our first class. After a 40
minutes of duration, our second class commenced, the concerned teacher was our Science
teacher Mr Sheeraz Ah Mantoo (nowadays a Govt. Teacher). Henceforth, the said teacher told
us to open our book of Science. I have sharp remembrances still that we had a chapter
regarding” Communicable diseases” As we just began our reverie, in the meantime I started
intoning the word. As I voiced the word in high tone and expressed its pronunciation
GASTROENTERTIES, a tectonic sound crumped “Ticchue” i.e. A big explosive sound of fire. I have
still clear reminisce of the shout that resonated and reverberated the entire class rather whole
building by my one of female classmate (name not mentioned/she is now married).As the gun
battle was going on, we were still fishy about the firing. It was seeming it is transpiring in our
school. All-around a pin-drop silence betided. Curfew like situation came into action. We were
so antsy, the girls fainted with terror and we gathered all the students and staff members in the
primary building of the said school. There were only hue and cry, bawling, shouting and shrieks
inside the room mostly. Homecomings were fraught with danger. Every corner of building was seeming to jeopardize us. The shades of death were meandering towards us. Pulse rate was
unconstrained. Death was seeming certain. Although, we were hushed and piped down to be
silent but our fettle was expressing the glazes of death coming soon. As the barrel of gun was
triggering the barrage of bullets, I was burring my head in my knees and close my eyes. I feared
that we soon might be in killing range of an LMG, the lighter sounds of Kalashnikovs retaliatory
bursts were increasing the sound of barrage of bullets. We were so fainted that micturition
became will-less. We had the corridor adjacent to classroom that was used for coerced
micturition, after the barrage of bullets it intensified the worst. The said corridor converted into
lavatory became filled with urine, that depicted a great strangle. In the meantime, a big bang!
And then another- the sound of a Kalashnikov, like a much amplified version of throwing a hard
plastic cricket ball against a concrete wall. Rapid, continuous bursts followed. ’Kalashnikov!’
Girls shouted the obvious. And then louder, retaliatory bursts of LMGs seeming positioned
behind the boundary of school. ’That is an LMG burst!’ we listened to the varying sounds of
gunfire, and I continued trying to tell the make of the gun being fired from the sounds we
heard-Kalashnikov, self-loading rifle, LMG. There was an element of adventure, thrill. But within
a few minutes the gunfire turned very intense and the school flow of menace augmented into
more fear. We all of us whispered the prayer from the Quran which is being read in the times of
imperilment. I chimed the prayer known Aayat-ul-Kursi or the Verse of the Throne. The row of
green-roofed park, white walled lines of popular trees, our volleyball ground, were glowing in
nature but the rough music of gunfire played on, I was indifferent to it. A boom would sound
and a sun would rise, exploding in a blinding flash of light. I stood in a daze by the window and
stared at the sky: a thousand small terror have grouped to be blooming. The attack in action
rattled the whole village.

(This is the real documented story which befell during my school days. This very story, I have now authored in an episodic etiquette)

(To be continue)
(The author is a blogger, columnist and a Software Engineer, and may be mailed

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