It was only a few weeks back that I made my first trip to Ankara. I did not have time to see anything in Ankara except the hotel and the meeting places. It did seem a calmly peaceful city.
Today as I watch scenes of death and destruction in Ankara, my heart and my prayers are with the people of Turkey.
Bombs and blasts are unknown to them and may they remain safe and secure forever. May this be the last bomb blasts in their lives and history books.
I come from a country where there was a time, bomb blasts were weekly events. If a week went by without a bomb blast, many among us feared something more catastrophic was in offering.
I remember a time being in the office. There was a huge bang. Everyone thought it was a bomb blast. I thought it was just some noise. Everyone was right. I was wrong, but I was always wrong.
When the Sri Lanka cricket team was attacked. I was warned not to go to work. I thought the firing shots were of a wedding party. I was wrong.
I am one of those who believe with incredible belief that all is well even when all is not well.
I have often wondered at my idealism. I grew up in a different Pakistan. My biggest fear was a thief breaking into my house and taking away my things. I also feared a war with India, for I thought that it was only war time when people could be killed.
I do not remember how I reacted to a Pakistan, where without war, many were killed. I think I has no option but to accept it, yet every time a bomb blast happened, I convinced myself this would be the last.
I do not know how those who become suicide bombers convince themselves about killing innocent people. Are these people not sons, brothers, fathers or uncles? Whose fault is it that they become desperate enough to kill themselves and many others with them? Have we failed those who died and those who killed them? Could we have prevented it?
As I watch the scenes of bomb blasts in Ankara. The fear on the faces of survivors is known to me. The tears of the loved ones of the victims is known to me. The chaos after the bomb blast is known to me. I had seen all this before. I had thought that the blasts did not impact me till I started writing a novel. On each and every page is a mention of that fear, of that helplessness, of that frustration.
People who die in blasts go to a better world. Those left behind, continue to live in a deteriorating world with a guilt that does not let them have a life.
I often wonder, those who incite the suicide bombers, to commit the act, do they live with a guilt too or are they convinced they are the rightful people.
I do not know but what I do know is that today many in Ankara would be grieving for their loved ones. Life will never be the same for them. With them are my prayers for that is all I can do.