Here is a great lesson from my life. It counts more because it is first hand experience. I have always been a Philosopher so I was sceptical about weapons like guns even while I was learning how to shoot.

I learned how to use the rifle when I was a teenager. I scored pretty high on my first and only shooting test. This was part of the college curriculum; and the training was designed by the Pakistani Army. The shooting boards were in the middle of a large training ground; and, we had to line up very far away in order to shoot. A male Army Battalion Captain stood next to me so that he can help me refill my rifle; he didn’t had much time to teach how to do this properly because we were learning and testing on the same day. I could feel the rifle shake on my shoulder every time I would shoot at the board and then there was this weird smell that left my nose and throat feeling queer. As the Battalion Captain refilled the rifle for me, the hot bullet that he tried to take out of the rifle fell inside his sleeve. He screamed in pain as I addressed him in a worried tone, “Are you okay, Sir? Should I get you some help?” He reassured me that he was well; and, I smiled at this gentleman. I took the rifle back from him; positioned it on my shoulder; and starting shooting again.

This was the last day of our training. As I shot, I thought back to all my hard work. “The curriculum requires me to pass this test”, I told myself patiently.  I remembered how I had to run for hours in the large grounds along with the rest of the Army personnel and female students; I had to do this even when I was menstruating. I used to get tired sometimes from all this running—mostly while I was menstruating; so he would let me sit under the tree and drink cold water. I even skipped some First Aid training so that I may eat junk food and drink some tea with my close friends. I loved how four to five of the young women including myself planned our escape; and, how the Army Captain who was teaching us never noticed us leave his class. We girls were really that cunning together! It was hilarious to see that one of the Captains actually tailed us and finally found us by looking at the shoe prints and talking to people. Our Battalion Captain probably realized that we were missing from the class because of some empty seats. Then, he must have signaled to the other captain about us. Get Real! They were our friends so all this felt so funny. “My children! Eating Samosas during training! Just wear your Army caps and march behind me please. Oh cadet Arzoo! My most prized cadet! What are you doing here? I think I will file a complaint with your family this time,” he laughed heartily as he marched ahead of us.

I eventually stopped shooting at the provided target; and gave the rifle back to the Captain. He thanked me as I saluted him. I marched back to my battalion; and, I almost cried with pride at my victory. I knew I had scored really high again; and that I had finally passed.

The grand finale of this training took place when some members of the Pakistani Army visited our college. We performed a routine parade for them that included shouting patriotic slogans, holding flags, and saluting the Army and College personnel. The parade lasted for hours; and, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire parade training and the actual parade.

Despite having this great training, I gave up on the idea of guns simply because I had experienced the pollution these can cause. I think if armies need to engage in self-defense, then they should use environmental friendly weapons like swords—World Peace is still a more tempting alternative although I feel its impossible given that mankind always had fights and wars.

Saying this, I still love the fact that I know how to shoot although I know that I would do crappy on loading the rifle. I mean I cannot forget my training at all; and, shooting is probably the easiest part. I learned many things from this training including how to lift heavy loads; how to overcome fear and pain; how to keep moving forward despite physical pain; how to enjoy company of my friends regardless of circumstances; and, how to win even after being defeated. 

Saying all this, I know some critics won’t like my opinion about not using weapons like guns for self-defense. But, who cares! Like my Battalion Captain had always said to me, “Good Job! Cadet Arzoo.”

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

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