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Of Growing Up Too Soon

June 8, 2020

Trigger warning: mentions distressing events
[Historical fiction: Teenagers at a refugee camp after India's partition at independence in August 1947. British India was partitioned on the basis of religion, with the creation of Pakistan from the Muslim-majority areas. This led to a lot of violence and rioting, with Hindus and Sikhs being targeted in Muslim-majority areas, and Muslims being targeted in the Muslim-minority areas. Around 10 million people were displaced, creating an overwhelming refugee crisis]
The medical volunteers here at the camp often tell us that we grew up too soon. We know that they're right. We are all teenagers, but we've witnessed more violence and experienced more grief than most adults have. We have seen people at their worst—robbed of reasoning, consumed by hate. Isn't this what growing up is? This acquaintance with life's sorrows?
Some of us came here by bloodied trains, and some made the journey by our now blistered feet. Some of us lost our families to the hate of the musalmaan, while some are alive because of their benevolence. Some of us used to live in houses half the size of this camp, while some used to barely survive. But here, we're all the same, with our tattered clothes and shattered souls.
We seldom talk about the family, friends, homes—the lives—that we were forced to flee. Those are the memories that we've locked away in an obscure part of our brains. Most of us let them out at night though, for the tears and the pain they bring help numb our senses. They are, surprisingly, the only things that let us sleep.
The people on the radio tell us that the coming winter months will be spring for the country and all its citizens. They talk about equality and secularism and development. Those of us educated enough to understand these words know that we're trapped under ice, one that will take a lifetime of spring to thaw.
Musalmaan: Muslim(s) in Hindi


See History
  • June 8, 2020 - 8:58am (Now Viewing)

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  • black_and_red_ink

    You chose a very tragic event in history to write about. This was a great idea to use the collective voice for. Wonderfully descriptive piece!

    4 months ago
  • ~wildflower~

    This is amazing. So many heartbreakingly beautiful descriptions! I especially love the line “ But here, we're all the same, with our tattered clothes and shattered souls.” Also (*drumroll*) you just earned your hundredth follower!! Yay! You totally deserve it

    5 months ago
  • inanutshell

    that last line hits hard, and the title fits so well. love this heartbreaking piece

    5 months ago
  • spurtsofdarkness

    This is so good, I actually wrote a little poem on the plight of a Muslim man during the partition, and how the events came back to him later. It's called 'IQBAL' but it's in Hindi...

    5 months ago