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The shards of hope |Sumaiyya Anas

In the beginning, there was nothing special - it was as much a beginning as the stories of others. I was just a kid with a plethora of galaxies hidden out of sight of my wandering eyes, waiting for me to unlock them. Until the day that the tragedy struck – after which I lost hope, I gave up on the idea of ever discovering them.

Growing up in a place that was considered to be a nuclear energy capital, there was always a nagging fear of danger – every alert would send my mother into a state of panic, my father was ever-anxious and the very city seemed to be on an edge. Ignorance then, was truly a form of bliss.

The sun set quite rapidly on my happiness not long after my ninth birthday. The sirens of warning blared more often than ever that week – a sure sign of imminent catastrophe and tragedy, but again, I was as delightedly unaware as every other child; perhaps a contributor to the intense mental trauma that followed the incident. That morning, as soon as the siren went off from the heart of the city, absolute and utter chaos ensued in school. The adults spared no second thought for the oblivious children – all they had in mind was escape. A chorus of petrified, hysterical voices filled the air. Only one phrase was clear in all the havoc: “GET OUT. GET OUT. RUN”, and so I did.

I ran as fast as my tiny legs would carry me, as quickly as my small body could push through the throngs of frenzied humans. But it was not fast enough, it never would have been. By then, the radiation leak had already made its presence known – people were dropping like they had been hit by invisible bullets. My lungs were on fire, and I was nauseous to the point that I was half-blind, and the inevitable happened. I tripped, and landed face-down in the sea of bodies and possessions. Over the constant blare of the siren, and the chaos of the public, one particular animalistic, guttural scream is etched in my mind – perhaps it was mine, but I refuse to ponder upon it.

That day was the day my life started sliding down the slope. Since then, I have been falling, losing little by little and never getting up, never gaining. My ideals came crashing down, breaking into smithereens like sharp glass, pointed reminders of who I used to be, who I wanted to be. I learnt that dreams, ambitions were as fragile as egos. You believe that they are safe in that high shelf up there, and they have such a strong foundation, and are made of such strong values that they won't break; that they'll stay intact, under any condition. But on a sudden day, there comes an earthquake, which you have no control over. This earthquake will shake your world, flip it upside down, and bring you to your knees. When in the end, you pick yourself up from the floor, all your fine dreams have vanished, are shattered, no more. The beliefs that you held so dear were in fact weak and fragile, enough to be demolished in a minute. At that point, you lose all hope you have in life.

Sumaiyya Anas

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