Will there be a Six?

I turned 5 yesterday. Instead of blowing candles, I blew dust off of my 2-year-old sister. She didn’t get hurt but got scared and started crying. I calmed her down, I shushed her, I caressed her back, her hairs, but all went in vain. She cried and cried and cried for hours. Pain of a failure as an elder brother crept in me, again.

My mother is lying beside us, motionless. She had gotten hurt badly. No, not yesterday. It was day before that.
I and Alia, my sister, were sitting in the corner of a small, stinky basement, while our mother, along with our father, went out to bring us the bread, which the neighborhood was selling at triple the price of original. Not even ten minutes must have passed of my parents having gone out when I heard, what I’ve been hearing since my birth, a BOOM and then another; those sounds shuddered even our deep basement and the sound was alarmingly deafening, as if shell had fallen just above us. I put my hands over Alia’s ears as of my reflex to that sound, hoping they’d safeguard her ears. They did perhaps as she didn’t cry; or was she getting used to them too? She looked at me with those big, round, bottomless eyes of hers; they were beseeching me, begging for an answer, imploring me, her elder brother, to free her of all this sick disorder, all this welter.


Amidst this shelling Alia was born, amidst this horrendous setting I was born. I have seen my mother wearing smile only on rare occasions since the time I can recognize one. I remember one vividly; it was two years back.
Why specifically that one? Because it was a smile revealing my mother’s pain. Yes, a smile divulging her pain out.

When her belly was swollen with Alia, she slipped on the stairs while rushing down to basement on hearing a sound, a sound so familiar now that we can identify it even in our sleep; it was of jets, who, at any moment, could push a button and decide our fate.
Having witnessed her toppling down, a disaster was impending, I feared. But nobody was hurt; neither my mother nor Alia, a doctor, who lived next-door to us, confirmed after sometime. No, it wasn’t then that she smiled. She had, when she tumbled on the stairs. It was then that I saw the curve on her lips and heard her saying, more of a murmuring that ‘at least, her second child would die a peaceful, merciful death’.

But, fortunately or unfortunately, Alia, like me, was doomed to witness the hell we live in, witness our nation, witness Syria. A question, of no importance to anyone else, will always keep bugging me – was that fall on stairs a deliberate one or accidental?

My mother returned after an hour but not on her feet; two men were carrying her. My father was nowhere to be seen. Before I could decipher what had happened to her, they laid her down and drifted away. Her pants and blouse which originally were blue had turned red. She wasn’t unconscious but neither was she fully conscious. With her trembling fingers she beckoned me. Alia was asleep by then. I crawled to my mother and tried to read her face, a face smeared with dirt and blood and covered with a bandage around one ear. She had changed, her face looked different, it looked lesser human.

She tried to pull me down; I lowered my head to her mouth, which looked as if had been sealed.

‘Bread’, she said. And turned her one hand in the direction of her pocket.

I put my hand and there it was. Ten loaves of bread in a plastic. I sat by her side, thinking of the bad deeds that all of us must have done to deserve this; to deserve a life in a basement, to deserve breads as our only meal, to deserve the fear for our life every living moment. Are we even living? We are just breathing, surviving on the least of the food and water required. More than on the surface, we live beneath it.

It has been two days now that my mother hasn’t moved. She moves her hand occasionally asking me if our neighbor came to give us the food and water. I feed her. I feed Alia.

There are other families too around us but hardly any is complete. Some have lost children, some a parent, while some relatives. I lost my father two days back but I’m in a dilemma, dilemma if I’m sad about losing him or about us still being alive, still doomed to breathe in this living hell.

Seeing whatever is around, I wish to become a doctor so that I can heal the wounded, or, maybe, God, if one can become one, so that I can bring this whole suffering to an end.

Mother used to say that there is a God up there. So, whenever I get a chance, I look at the sky, a dusty, grimy sky, and try to call him, find him, beg him to listen to me, but never get an answer in return. He must have stepped down from his post, I then think. If he hadn’t, my father would be with me, Alia would have known what a clear sky is, my mother would have been smiling more often, and I, I perhaps, would have gotten a chance to live the life of a 5-year-old; a life that my mother relates to me while reminiscing her old good times. Having never experienced that life, I, sometimes, dream of it.

Will there be a six for me? I don’t know. Will there be a three for Alia? I don’t know. Will there even be a tomorrow for us? I don’t know.

PS – I cannot even pretend to understand the pain, the suffering, the agony, the nightmare people in Eastern Ghouta (click on the link to know more about it), like Aleppo in 2016, must have been undergoing and living with. Life is never fair and, perhaps, more than supposed to be unfair to some.


No credit for the image used.
Copyright © 2018 by Idle Muser. All rights reserved.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. sk0611blog says:

    Excellent story capturing chaos, turmoil and pain besides posing the unanswered questions rising in child’s mind about the unfairness of this whole mess.

    Very well written. Especially from a child’s point of view besides capturing his reasoning and wisdom beyond his years, which usually happens in such conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idle Muser says:

      Thanks much, sir, for your time, and this small, yet comprehensive review!


  2. There must be hope, then there is always a question. Well put!

    A very deep read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idle Muser says:

      Thanks much, Prakash!🙂
      Hopes and fears have always walked hand in hand, haven’t they? With hope always comes a tinge of ‘what-if’ fear and question.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They sure are good friends if not best. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Navaneeth AK says:

    Captured everything in it’s essence. Nicely written only that given the context of the post, it’s quite painful to say anything light hearted

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idle Muser says:

      Thank you, Navaneeth!
      Yes, I understand. This was a piece written more for its essence than my writing skills or anything alike.


  4. Shewrites170 says:

    Well penned !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idle Muser says:

      Thank you, girl!
      And happy women’s day!💐

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shewrites170 says:

        Thanks same to you too 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s painful to even imagine something happening like that. You are doing the right thing by drawing other’s attention towards this Aditi. You have somehow made me cry most of the times i hear from you. (in a good way) The excerpt where his mother said ‘Bread’, found it very touching. The pain you are feeling is clearly visible from the efforts you have put into writing this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idle Muser says:

      This story is much more than my storytelling, Gagan (but I’m glad you liked that part too). This story is about a world that exists miles away from me, a world where suffering is beyond my grasp, a world where the deceased are in a better place than the breathing ones.
      I can only wish and hope that, through any means, this misery of theirs come to an end.
      Thanks again for reading yet another piece of mine and sharing your views. Means a lot, and you know it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. prashantt says:

    Yesterday only I watched the terrible story covered by a news channel on this and it is shocking how it all started and its result that is still hurting to innocent people living there,
    Your story is wonderful depiction of the situation of people existing and fighting with thier life.I cannot even think of penning it, wonderful effort and indeed one of your best work.
    Have a great week ahead!😇

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idle Muser says:

      It is horrifying, isn’t it, Prashantt?
      It gives me chills to even think about it; I wonder how people are living it!
      Having seen so many pictures and videos, having read so many articles, the only way of getting it off my head and chest was penning it down in some form and thus this story.
      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and feedback.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. prashantt says:

        Yes, terrible for residents of Syria wherein they got pissed of between govt & rebellions.You’re flawless fabulous on writing, keep going on and pleasure reading it.😇👍

        Liked by 1 person

  7. vishal4u says:

    I cannot say that you have written it well, but you have successfully mentioned the fact, that is going on in Syria.
    It seems that no one in this world is bothered about the civilians suffer there. Forget children’s.
    World leaders are completely ignoring the issue.
    If people like us raise it every now and then on every platform available then maybe we can hope for some action.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idle Muser says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views, Vishal!

      Syria civil war has become an old news, but every now and then atrociousness of the attackers and misery of the sufferers degrades to a whole new level. What seems impossible, takes a form, as if to challenge our beliefs and imagination.
      Victims are being traumatized to a whole new level. Be it a child or a man, as you said, with the loss of either, a family loses its part. It no longer stays a whole complete family, and I fear there’d be any in areas like Eastern Ghouta.
      Though help is being provided by various organizations, yet the loss and numbness is too heavy to bear.
      Let’s hope soon it all comes to an end.

      Just one question, as you said that you cannot say if I’ve written it well, can you please let me know what exactly went wrong or didn’t work for you? It’ll help me in my future writings.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. vishal4u says:

        No sorry, I didn’t mean to say that your writing was not good, I meant that all that you mentioned on your post was just a tip of all the war crimes happening in Syria. There is lot more happening there which I think is brutal and offends humanity hugely.
        I am sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Idle Muser says:

          Oh that way!
          Yes, that it surely is. This is just a glimpse of one of the possible situations there; a lot of other struggles are taking place, people suffering immense atrocities.

          And no need to apologize. I would appreciate it, any day, if someone lets me know of anything that goes wrong in my writing.

          Liked by 1 person

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