The Smallest Coffins Are The Heaviest

These 6 words sum up the burden of grief inflicted by the terrorist attacks of the highest cowardice in Peshawar, Pakistan. A massacre targeting a school resulting in untimely death of 141 lives, 132 of them children.

In the past, tragic news like this one caused me to question my faith & question why the world was the way it was? What followed was confusion, hopelessness, anger & hatred right behind it.

I was by myself at a local cafe waiting for breakfast today when this news popped up. As I clicked on the BBC news article & waited for it to load, I noticed my breathing getting heavy. Tears followed while I was browsing through it, I could not muster up the strength to read the article in detail. I turned my phone away & tried to collect myself… I had to excuse myself to the restroom. As soon as I had the privacy of being in a small room by myself I let myself be taken over by the profound sadness & cried my eyes out. More accurately this profound sadness overpowered me & as a result I wailed uncontrollably. It was at least 30 minutes before my breathing normalized.

As I gained some sense of control over my senses, I reached out to friends who responded almost instantaneously. These friends varied in their age, culture & nationality but were united by this profound sense of grief that felt too.

It was not about questioning “God” or another Higher Power today, it was just a spontaneous unabashed connection with the suffering of my fellow human beings. Thousands of miles away from me, conflicted over a political dispute for decades, my neighbors, my brothers & sisters who were suffering the worst pain there possibly is.

All through the day, my response was to send silent prayers. For those who have passed on; a safe journey, eternal peace & love. For families & friends directly affected that they find the strength & hope they need. For Pakistan & all the nations of the world including America where a different kind of mindless killing is causing so much suffering. It did not matter as to who I was praying to & if my prayers will be answered. It was simply the best I could do.

This evening, I heard a tune calling to me in my heart, I had spent my teen years listening to it on repeat. It is the title song of the album Gurus of Peace, a collaboration between of two legends, music composer A. R. Rahman of India & singer late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan of Pakistan.

As I heard this song again after years a certain section of the lyrics caught my attention.

Here it is in Hindi/Urdu & translated in English:

Duniya mein kahin bhi, dard se koi bhi…
Duniya mein kahin bhi, dard se koi bhi 

anywhere in the world, when anyone in this world

Tadpe toh humko yahaan pe 

suffers in pain, then we too 

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Ehsaas uske zakhmon ka ho ke 

feel the pain of his wounds and 

Apnaa bhi dil bhar bhar aaye roye aankhein 

our own heart also becomes heavy and our eyes weep.

You can read the full translation here.

I am not sure what helped me make that transition from anger & hatred to a deeper sense of connection with the pain, perhaps it was the two 10 day silent meditation courses (Vipassana) I had the great fortune of attending this year or the amazing community that surrounds me… What I do know is that having friends I can reach out to for sharing emotionally challenging situations helped. And with every little step I took of being vulnerable about what’s really going on for me, the other person also opened up & shared with me how they really felt.

This is my first ever blog post, another small step into vulnerability.

I leave you with the video of the song itself (it has english translation subtitles) and with a prayer… Let there be peace within us all. Let there be peace between neighbors of various cultures, castes & skin colors. Let there be peace & harmony between all the nations of the world.

May we all be happy.

– Prashant