Time flies, they say. It’s true. This time last year I was going through my detention exams. Just like any other day I opened my eyes On December 16th 2014 to find my world changed.

I woke up, put my uniform on and left for college, skipping my breakfast as usual. I met up with him and the last I heard from him was “beta pass ho jayega?” The last words I ever heard from him.

It was 10:35am when the turmoil began. It left behind nothing but blood gushed uniforms, bullets embedded bodies and a thousand-ton rubble of broken friendships.

This was December 16th, a day that broke all the barriers of humanity and questioned the very basis of the falling standards of humanity. I saw my life flip upside down as I was cursed to witness all of this around me. Destiny wanted me to learn and pick up on a few lessons that I missed. And it didn’t stop there. No.

The follow up was a horror that nobody saw. I buried 17 friends in the ground to find myself in utter despair. Nothing seemed to fall in the right place.

What was worse was the fact that the people who had to provide the cure started saying ‘You are perfectly fine and that you need not to make this an excuse and get back to your studies.’

A couple of months later, I had to take my board exams. I knew it was a shout into the void, where nothing would echo back. But then again giving up was no option. I sat in the examination room to witness what that day did to me.

Attempting my paper out of nowhere, I called his name and said “oye question 3 ka answer kya hai?” and he didn’t answer. How could he? He was asleep in his grave resting in eternal peace.

I was broken down to the extent that I couldn’t stop wondering what lay next. To me it was the end of my life, but this is where the story began.

Spending almost seven months in an endless pit of doom, I fell down the hole and saw no end to my fall. In the beginning I hoped that someday I might crash, but soon realized there are only two ways out of it. Either I find strength to pull myself all the way up or I succumb to the darkness of the pit and one day become a part of it.

I was put into therapy, which worked for a bit, but then soon after the demons unleashed themselves relentlessly on me. It was now or never, and so I chose to deny myself the ecstasy of the psycho meds that I was prescribed and decided to fight it all the way through.

I picked up the one thing they tried to snatch from me: my pen and my paper. I wrote and wrote endlessly to a point where I would ignite the paper by the fierce stroke of my pen. That’s when I discovered someone who was hidden within me for so long. In the corners of my heart was a writer waiting to be unchained. It was then that I realized that the darkness was a friend, a blessing in disguise which helped discover who I really was.

December 16th by all means is the day that made me witness the doomsday as I call it. It transformed the human that was inside of me. It made me become my own hero and I stood up for the heroes that were no longer with me.

People might see them as 150 dead bodies. For me they are more than that: they are 150 dreams and if I can make at least one of them a reality I think I would satisfy myself eternally.

A whole year has passed in between and yet I find myself in the same place where I was. I’m sure that they did not want to die that day. Someone wanted to be a doctor, someone wanted to be an engineer, somebody wanted to get married and have a family.

They were robbed of their dreams and this is what I want people to remember. Because then maybe all of us would remind ourselves that the essence of life lies within.

Yes, the demons inside haunt in the middle of the night. They take over you in an endless state of misery. But to become a phoenix one must burn to ashes and rise from them again.

I burnt that day and this is my rebirth. I want to give my all to the world and achieve my goal for a better world that they wanted to see. And so I became the change that I wanted to see. This is what I had been taught for almost eight years of my life: “I shall rise and shine.”