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Burning Youth

The sun has changed itself towards a calm atmosphere bothering the pedestrians. It was about 4.30 p.m. in the afternoon. As we have planned last night, we started our little journey to the park on foot. It was just 1 ½ kilometers away from our home. I was with my younger sister, brother, and our puppy; Timmy. It seemed the world was entirely busy with their daily routines. We heard the loud noises of vehicle horns which indicated the town was still alive. We used to step up on the sidewalk. The radio in the nearby stall was turned into the FM line for the 4.55 p.m. news. 

“Two school-aged boys were arrested keeping 10Mgs of Ice drug by the Walana narcotic division today morning.”

“Ice! Is it a drug Loku?”

My little sister who has not yet started her nursery asked me with her large eyes and half-opened mouth. My Brother who is in grade 10 laughed seeing the surprised face of Ann. 

“Mmm…no no. The ice cream we eat is not a drug but there is a drug with the same name.” Malik replied while grabbing the right hand of Ann. 

“What is a drug Loku?” Ann looked at me again.

The conversation was interrupted neither by the walking nor the passers-by. In fact, maybe the ones who passed us would have listened to us. 

“Drug is a bad thing that harms our health. If we take it once, we get addicted to it then we cannot stop using it. Addicted people suffer from lots of diseases and at last, they die untimely.”

 I explained to her in simple terms since the real face of drugs is quite heavy for her mind to understand. She nodded while pressing the button in her pink frock. As I thought she had a chain of questions to ask. 

“Is that Ice also cool and delicious?” her eyes were ready to fall out.

“No, Ann. That Ice is vicious.” Malik replied shaking the chain of Timmy. 

I could see the people in the town were looking at us, and also especially our Timmy. It was quite abnormal to have a walk with a dog in the town area.

Ann was curious about the news on Ice. She had numerous questions and sometimes she may like to taste it also.  Indeed, children are normally attracted to everything. They need to explore the hidden outcomes. Curiosity within themselves pursues them to experience it. Their world is not aware of the risks or harmful effects. In the same way, those two young ones may have fallen into the trap, not knowing the ultimate results. 

We continued walking on the sidewalk. Ann stopped us yearning for a Tipi Tip in red cover. Malik took this turn to go to the stall. Timmy’s chain was handed over to me and Ann was rubbing Timmy’s black head.  

At the corner of a stall, a group of young children were chatting and laughing. One of the boys was hiding a burning cigarette behind him. The cigarette was rotating from one to the other after breaks of moments. The scenario could not be spotted unless one keenly kept an eye on the group. 

Suddenly, a man in his mid-forties with large burning eyes walked towards the gang shouting. They had no time to run away. The man slapped one of them on the sidewalk. 

You guys have only this to be done! HUH! Go away!” his voice brought a threat. 

He caught a tall one and grabbed his hand tightly. The gang moved. Perhaps, the tall one is the son of that person. 

Ann was watching the sudden incident, of course, the pedestrians also waited a few minutes for the next step. Malik had bought the snack and given it to Ann. She used to enjoy a snack on our journey to the park every weekend.

“I thought he will slap us also. Why did he shout at them?” her mouth was filled with snacks.

“Smoking is another bad habit. He got angry seeing the young ones smoking. That is why he did so.” 

He will punish them when they go home.” Ann’s mind flew afar.

“Why are they smoking even in this hot weather.”

“It’s the foolish way of enjoying life, Loku. You know once we are addicted to those bad habits it’s difficult to overcome them. That’s what happened to them. Imagine, if we advise them, they will ignore and laugh at us saying we are outdated idiots.”

“Loku, can we smoke too? I have seen some uncles smoking like dragons. Can they burn us?”

Both of me and Malik laughed until the tears burst.

“If you smoke the lungs will stop their task and finally you will die being unable to breathe.”

“Oh! Then why do they smoke? To die?”

“Yeah! They do not care about them. They destroy their lives.” 

The busy town area faded away with a shady line of huge Kumbuk trees leaving the sidewalk into concrete block patterns. We have already arrived at our destination after about 45 minutes of walking. It was not just a walk as usual. The observations alert the world that the time has arrived to take steps against drug addiction. However, Ann and Malik obviously identified the result of using drugs. 

Prevention of the use of drugs is a need while the red flags are hazardous. The tendency for the worst habits to burn youth and ashes of darkness will emerge within society. Those who enjoy the fruit of their youth need teachings about life at all.

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