A splurge of young blood has stained the history of this world. 141 children’s lives were lost at a terrorist attack in Peshawar, Pakistan in December 2014, marking it as the deadliest attack to ever occur in the country.
Upon hearing about this incident the very next day, I kept mulling over the fact that the attack took place in a school and the majority of victims were children, who were yet to know life. I thought of how those children were helpless and even worse, lifeless in just one second. Along with a few of my friends, I decided to organize a small candlelight vigil to offer condolence to the lost lives. This act would not be able to bring them back and it certainly could not lessen the sorrow and grief of the bereaved families, but it would give us some peace and maybe restore a small faith in humanity.
A few days later, someone said to me that I never thought anyone would be so heartless to say. One of my teachers said, “You’re not going to get into a good college by lighting candles.” I was dumbstruck with outrage. Tears rolled down my eyes at the courage he had to make such an uncanny comment and I was at loss for words. Regardless of who he was, I wanted to punch him in the face. However, what I chose to do is a complete different story. It is one of the few moments in life that I can say I was proud of myself; I chose to keep the negativity out of the situation and learn an important lesson from it. Even though remembering this incident still sends chills down my spine, I now able to feel much better about it because I chose that moment to realize that what any person says is not going to affect what I do for myself or for anyone else. He had the right to say whatever he wanted, but he should not have been that rude and give an inconsiderate comment and I had ensured him that right.
Deep down, I knew that I did not make that effort so people would see what I had done. I made that effort for myself. I know I was nowhere as closely affected as the victims’ families and I could do nothing to lessen the grief for them, but I knew that what I had done was for a noble cause and no one except myself will ever have the right to deny that from me. That moment of rage gave me a moment of clarity, followed by what I consider an important lesson of life. What people say and think does matter, but whether what they say affects me in a positive or a negative manner is a choice I have to make for myself. Life is not about pleasing everyone, it is feeling good about yourself and that is exactly what I learnt from that moment of rage.
Aditi is an undergraduate student at National College