Shiny new bright crayons. Old stubby pieces. How many crayons did we buy for chubby little hands with tiny fingers to hold and draw. A kid can smell a crayon from two rooms away - I think - and butter and chocolates and icecream and sweets. But instead, we give them bullets and the smell of charred flesh.
Yesterday we watched in mute horror. This morning we awoke automatically and were preoccupied. Busy. For me it was another day. But as I sipped one more cup of tea after making and packing the tiffin, I realised that for hundreds and thousands it was not; they will never ever wake up to another normal morning.
My tea rose like bile. An otherwise wonderful aroma from a culinary potpourri of onion, garlic, oregeno and chilli sauteed in butter and blended with spinach and corn and stuffed into toasted bread sandwiches made me feel sick and nauseous. Just yesterday, kids ate their lunches, a naughty child threw his away, a mother was harsh to her child fearing he'd miss the school bus as he dawdled while getting ready.
Did some lucky child miss school because he was sick, and live, unlike his friends and classmates?
What did mothers and fathers feel when they saw tiffins and crayons and story books and toys. That's why the image of crayons exploding as a bullet pierces them haunts me.
What does one do or say, and how many little ones must die before we figure it all out? How and where does one go from here? Then, I hear the happy sounds of little children entering a day care centre nextdoor. How safe and happy they are under the watchful and loving care of the mother who runs it.
The world outside is not safe - not the roads, not the schools or the parks, malls, markets and movie halls. But life will go on.
God give the families strength for they must wake up to dark mornings without colour and cheer or laughter, everyday.
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