Alarm rang at 7:00 am; it was his 16th birthday, excited as never before, he woke up early today than usual. Resisting the cold shivering weather, he jumped off his bed and ran to his mother.
“Happy Birthday my child” she held her son close, wishing him all the happiness. “Thanks mama” Shahaan replied. “Mom, can I skip school today? I know it’s the last day of school but it is also my birthday, I want to spend time at home and rejoice with you and dad” he added innocently.
“Um hmm… So that is the plan, but you know what? I have a better one, why don’t you go out there, attend the school and then later invite your friends at home? We are going to celebrate all together” his mother offered. She adored his son and knew how important education was for him and when he put it that way without hurting Shahaan’s feelings, how can he or anyone refuse?
Shahaan agreed. His mother dressed him up in uniform, and walked him school. It was a perfect morning of December 16th, the weather was frosty with mist covering the road ways and wind was rough, fabricating beautiful sounds like that of downpour when it howled across the trees, the sun was soft and pleasant on skin.
Shahaan sung his favorite song merrily along the way. He fascinated small things like good weather, walking in winters on an empty road, small conversations with friends, reading books and painting when he was sad. He had dreams and goals, a whole list of things he wanted to do in his life.
Shahaan kissed his mother goodbye and ran through the main gate to school. At sharp 8:00 am the bell rang, students assembled in the hall way, recited daily prayer and sung national anthem in unison. It started out as an ordinary regular day, scheduled classes, training and finally recess, the 30 most precious minutes of freedom. Shahaan tempted all his classmates and his best friend Ali to attend his grand birthday celebration.
It was now time for first aid training session in the auditorium located at the centre of the complex. Students gathered around the hall. Shahaan had forgotten that this session was today, the one he had been impatiently waiting for all weekend “Thank God I didn’t miss my school”, he thought to himself. He wanted to be a doctor and this would be his first practical lesson, finally.
Students were waiting for their trainer. It was around 10:30 am, when a group of men entered the hall, wearing uniforms of Pakistan paramilitary force. They were aged, holding heavy weapons, not an odd sight to witness because of school’s affiliation with the military personnel, though students were devastated by their unusual positions and attitude. Shahaan smiled at them; he always did in respect for army as her father was a respectable army officer.
It was just a millisecond of time run, before anyone could figure out the presence of these men, before Shahaan could stand straight up right to salute, there was a thunderous bang of fire bullets, the massacre of students, shook the ground, blood spilled like water on the floor. The air became rusty and all the colors in the surrounding emerged in red.
Shahaan stood still, his eyes which were filled with joy went blank, and the continuous thud of his heartbeat shivered the very existence of his soul, he tried to breathe but there was something stuck in his throat. He was shouting, screaming, crying with no voice and tears. He was lost in the midst of the chaos.
One of the men came closer to him, pushed him to the ground. All that he could manage himself to say at this moment was “It’s my birthday”. The men laughed “Happy Birthday” he said, and shot him.