Life was not very perfect but it was not that bad either. Occasional sounds of firing used to be heard now and then and we used to be excited about that at school. My friends, they all used to tell tales at lunch when last night they heard three continuous shots. Or the time when they found a used bullet. Baliya, my best friend said that he can take me to the place where we can find some more. I was excited. I came back on that evening after school. At night my mother woke me up. She was crying. She held me in her arms and ran out. I couldn’t find my dad. The haste of it all sunk in only when as soon as she stepped out of the house, I heard a shot and my mother’s body felt stiff. She limped and we fell on the ground. I looked around in the dark but there was no one to be seen, no one to be heard just a faint sound of shots heard from the far end. I couldn’t move as the fear froze me. I don’t remember anything afterwards.
I woke up in the morning and looked at the still eyes of my mother fixed upon me as her lifeless arm covered me. I escaped from underneath her and shook her to wake her up. She wasn’t moving. I looked at the cracked walls the firing had left by the side of our front door. There was no one around. It looked like the firing had swept all the life away from the neighbourhood. I sat beside my mother and started waiting for dad or grand ma to return. My mother lay there, still and I called out to her. I was hungry. She didn’t move. I waited for someone. Nobody came. It was after a while when I heard the noise and they came. They took me and I kept telling that my mom is sleeping. Take her too. They took me to the trucks where people were flooded and I was put on one of them. I looked around, they were from my village. I found Dhani uncle, he was crying. I asked him what happened and where are we going. He didn’t reply and just kept crying. I asked him where was Baliya, his son, my best friend. Why hasn’t he come? He looked at me and started crying more. I asked again. He said, “he’s dead… ballu is dead, they killed him.”
The horror is borne by Monu aka Manas, a 5 year old child from the village where cross firing not only disturbed the peace and injured many, but also orphaned him as he lost both his mother and father in the firing. He is housed at the shelter for the affected border residents for now. At this age, when he is too young to understand his loss, his fate is now left in the hands of his relatives and neighbors if they take his responsibility. He had a fulfilled life just until last night but in a few moments, it all turned in a tragic misery. Same is shared by many residents who lost their homes and loved ones and have been seriously injured. In the middle of such cease fire violations and the politics of who started first, who will end first, we often seem to forget who ultimately pays the price for it. The matter will be resolved after inter-country talks or it may get worse, we will forget or may remember it forever, but many monus and baliyas will forever bear the burden and pay the price for such unfortunate tragedies.
The story is fictitious in nature. Any resemblance to any person, dead or alive is a mere co-incidence.