My name is Aadya. I am 17 years old. Last night I was pulling an all-nighter to prepare for Monday’s weekly test. Having revised chemistry, I’d moved to economics when I opened my phone for doing calculations and saw the notification: ‘US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan.’ My first reaction was to scream, but I wrote a poem instead.
Tonight, The World Is Asleep
I am studying Introductory Microeconomics,
It is the hour of the nocturnal student,
It is the hour of cramming and memorising,
It is the hour of furiously scribbling pens,
It is the hour of cheating and using the calculator instead of the log table,
It is not the hour to have your world shaken.
I imagine millions of students like me burning the midnight oil,
Children like me engaged in this fruitful toil,
Children like me with futures brighter than the sun,
Children like me swallowed by flames, blackened by burns.
My brother is sleeping next to me, his head burrowed into his pillow,
My brothers are out there in the world, staring out of their windows,
My brothers are out there in the world, waking, eating, working, living,
My brothers are out there in the world,
I wonder if they know, a sister misses them.
I will go to sleep, soon,
The world will go to sleep, soon,
But tonight, Nangarhar will not sleep,
It will be wide awake,
The fire will burn its face,
Tonight, Nangarhar will watch itself die,
The flames will lick every crop,
The smoke will choke all cattle,
Tonight, Nangarhar will not sleep,
It will count the survivors,
It will hold them tightly,
Remind them to breathe,
Remind them that they’re alive,
Tomorrow, Nangarhar will see the dawn,
The red blood will have turned brown,
The detritus of bones, homes that drowned,
Tomorrow, Nangarhar will count its dead,
Tomorrow, Nangarhar will mourn,
Tomorrow, the world will mourn,
Tonight, the world is asleep.
The author is a 17-year-old Class 12 student at Delhi Public School, Faridabad, who considers herself an amateur slam poet. She studies science, has a ‘passion for economics,’ and frequently participates in MUNs.