Saturday, December 27, 2014


"Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven." -Henry Ward Beecher

When I was five years old, I wanted to read a book. I did that when I was six. The title escapes me but it was something in the vein of “Fuss meets Muss” or possibly like that.  At 9, I wanted to write a story and have it in print. I accomplished that at 11, the writing part that is, but a friendly rejection from the Reader’s Digest all but crushed my hopes for authorship. Imagine the lofty dreams of the youth.

And then somewhere there between the solace of parental guidance and the emergence of hormonal defiance, I wanted to be an Astrophysicist.  I don’t exactly know the motivation for that but I was struck with that fancy. Forget the earth, I actually was interested in the universe and how it ticks. In the end however, I settled for the more down to earth vocation, as a physician. This decision was layered upon me through the premature winter from the loss of a parent and the desire to quell death; the ultimate victor. There must be a way to stop the scourge? I thought. But most of my friends suggested that everything that was to be discovered had already been discovered, from the lunar surface to the genome within, everything. Anything could be laid out in paper and ink. Signed sealed and delivered. I had other ideas though, mostly unfulfilled dreams.

"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see." - John W. Whitehead

After many thousands of patients that I have cared for, have potentially saved many from the untimely frost of disease and provided comfort to the many souls in despair, I now realize what might have been.

The pre-teen who dreams of going to the moon, to explore new worlds, but never can take the step into his teenage years, is a tragedy. A dream quashed. A desire ruffled. A life snuffed. A teenager, who dreams of creating a business to employ thousands of people and change the world but is never able to spend the first dollar, is a travesty. A 12 year old who dreams of building a skyscraper, for that matters to him so that hundreds will live and grow within the walls, never is able to lay a single brick, is a society’s great loss. A 13 year old who walks lightly in her steps propelled by the desire to harness the digital world and create the next big internet of things never writes the first letter of the code and a 14 year old who looks up and sees possibilities in the flight of an aircraft; the potential of a faster cheaper and more efficient flight never leaves the surely bonds, are the untold catastrophes of our times. These are all dreams that litter our universe’s soul, emptied out of their promises today, for they belong to those little minds that were forced to abandon their dreams and forfeit their lives to the mad schemes of the inhuman adults.

(WARNING: some images from Peshawar, Pakistan are GRAPHIC!)

And I wonder what if my dreams had also become ethereal springs of the soul hopelessly flailing through the winds of time. The only marks left were the bloodied footsteps. What would have happened?

I would not have gone on to become a physician. I would not have had the privilege of helping countless human beings, bringing comfort and health to them. Some of them would not have fathered or mothered children of their own. Some would not have gone on to become influential in society. Others would not have seen the smiles on their grandchildren.  Maybe the postman who continued to deliver the mail might not have saved an elderly man who fell in the street and who might not have survived or the teacher who sparked the imagination of the young one who would grow up to spawn a new industry. One never knows the consequential dominoes that fall from an erased image in a photograph. My own nuclear or extended family would not exist, if I would not have.

"The soul is healed by being with children."

Then, there is the massacre of 132 children that happened in Peshawar, Pakistan and all those diminished lives, wishes and dreams come to the fore, just as the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy brought the feelings of dread and foreboding when a deranged young man took the lives of 20 children. Both equal in magnitude in destruction of unrealized lives and of vaporized dreams. This shameless, cowardly act rekindled the feeling of hate for inhuman actions. Inhuman because that is what they are, under any guise or pretext. The word “hate” by any other name would not fulfill the emotion against such horror. What breed of man can descend to such reprehensible acts? What mind of man can contemplate such an atrocity and then go so far as to commit it? What verse in their religion can deem this an altruistic cause? None within humanity's dictionary.

These are our children!

Imagine, if you can, the horrific moments of this carnage. The wide eyed children rushing across the aisles in panic, jumping over others paralyzed with fear as the bullets sprayed away life. A child searching for his eyeglasses as the mayhem broke loose and an 11-year old apprehensive with confusion and fear, ducking under the seat as a bullet tore into him. The clamor and cacophony of life that still must resonate of this ghastly past within those bullet ridden walls and the blinding automatic fire-burst of death that echos in the minds of those who lived and then the turmoil of internal traumatic silence. This shakes the foundation of our being where every nucleus within every cell of the body shudders in pain. What makes a human devolve into such inhumanity?

A human being ceases to be one when they usurp the life of another, under the pretext of religion, wealth or existential differences. When one destroys the desires and dreams of another no amount of justification can soothe the pain. A human being without humanity is no different than a predatory animal without a higher brain function. Such function that thinks before it acts and then acts not for the benefit of man but to the detriment of mankind. But taking the lives of children? That is the abysmal poisoned well of inhumanity! These murderers must be a new kind of soulless, bottomless pits of psychopathy that deface humanity.  To what God do they pray? To what future do they ascribe?

For the sake of Our Children...!

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