STORIES
Lifesavers

Ali Habib Khan

by Asiya from Islamabad

Words lose their meaning, expressions sound helpless and you find it hard to picture the pain

What would be your immediate reaction when the twilight draws close, and like any other day you reach for the remote control, flipping the channels at random, it hadn't been a tough day at work and you just want to lie back and let the heating permeate your room - you have thoughts on your mind as any other day, all in all life's been good to you and you shrug - on the streets, it's the usual weekend routine, big city, bright lights, thousands of people looking forward to dining out, dance till you drop, maybe a weekend out on the town.. or somwhere far out in the clear, spaces, untainted, undamaged, you hear people walking past your uncracked pavement, they laugh a carefree...laugh you smile and think of your own plans. Plans that is somehow disconnected midway, as what you see on your screen are pictures...frantic people, houses reduced to rubbles, bodies scattered everywhere...screams...death, devasatation, destruction and somwhere a world has changed -somwhere reality takes on a different meaning..you move close to the TV set, turn up the volume, among the panic and the pain you recognize a familiarity..this was a place you once knew.....and that's not how you ever wanted to recall it...not with so much of ruins, wreck and havoc. All along your own dormant pain takes on a new dimension, for once nothing -just nothing ever prepared you to face this moment...

It's real, yes, each and every facet of it-you remember your grandfather's house in that valley surrounded by trees that whispered tales, promised you to show you the way to distant lands, your hopes sprouted into tiny buds in that house. You reach for the phone, not wanting to accept, not really wanting to confirm that a "part of your past has died in that rubble" among the thousands who have languished and the blood running through your veins turn cold. Heart is where the hurt is and what you feel, see, you can't process the intensity of it. 7.5 has razed a land that was yours, ours, it was part of this world we share, we had the same shock reaction and our immediate impulse was to shut it all out and make believe it hasn't happened. A lot of us failed and pulled out, we couldn't gather the courage to heal the ones who were alive and desperately needed us..our courage had seeped out, fallen somewhere amidst that clamor of the highest anguish humanity can ever face and is helpless in its face - when everything that meant everything to you and everyone who meant the world to you is no more - you see peple faltering in their helplessness and you withdraw...THATS WHERE YOU ALL CAME IN...you kept your promise

...a part of you that sought to relieve the agony, reach out and place a band aid, peg a loose flapping tent, anything..anything and it seems this was the moment life had never prepared you for, never equipped you to deal with, yet how the strength came in you and your family - I still cannot figure that out. Salvaging and renewing was our task, why did we fail and YOU SUCCEED....because your heart was bigger than ours, your one response drowned out the collective appeals we made to the world to help...our voices hoarse with screaming, all this time we strayed away from the main cause-there were lives that needed shelter, healing was a long way down...the immediate need was to give that shelter that was so brutally taken away that October 8-

Thank you for the words, the expressions of the highest order...the most meaningful ones....for clearing the pictures of ruins and rebuilding lives, for taking our focus away from just the pictures and words to move ahead and gaining strength from your determination, your families unequivocal support, to seek the ones who still needed us. We could have never made it this far..if it had not been for you, your family. Words fail me, my pain is meaningless - next to you we feel smaller yet tall enough to know that the very adversities you helped in diverting, shifting, fixing was a sorrow that lived in you...it was the call of thousands of people calling you on the wings of prayers - How can we not know what your moments of sadness are - you helped define the very word HEAL-RESTORE-SAVE-HELP-REACH OUT...

..Thank you for renewing our hopes, lives, aspirations, for giving meaning to our existence. We'll keep the promise to you.

Page created on 4/24/2006 4:10:38 PM

Last edited 4/24/2006 4:10:38 PM

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Related Links

Kashmir Education Foundation - Dedicated to the promotion of quality education in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir
Kashmir/Pakistan earthquake - October 8, 2005

Author Info

..7.5 on the richter scale, yet the ensuing devasation did not shake or rattle the spirit of your selfless efforts, to save, protect and bring a generation back to life