Path

It was a beautiful day. An amazing company. Shared laughter. While one conversation was leading to another, he asked: “What plans do you have for yourself?” “None”

Plans. Unknowingly he had now touched the raw nerve he talked about a few days earlier. Plans. What she wanted to do with her life. Which direction she wanted to choose. What paths did she desire to walk?

Very few people had bothered about this. Her desire. What she wanted to do with her life. And yet, amongst those few people, her family never featured. It was twice that someone wanted to help her. That the destination had been fixed, so let’s find the path together. Let’s walk together.

There couldn’t have been any sound better than that sentence. “I will show you how to.” And it still remained a mystery to her. Was it her naivety or was the person too convincing? Or was she too desperate to arrive that she drank from all cups offered? Never differentiating, never trying to probe whether it is water or poison.

A part of her did feel poisoned. Cheated. Like being promised of a dessert and getting a toffee. The path promised did exist but it lead elsewhere. Her desire, her dream, her destination was too far from the path she was trodding upon. A part of her always grieved. Maybe she should have probed more. What fun was it walking with people who wouldn’t even understand? Who mocked her? Her passion? What did they know? Had they themselves ever yielded anything from their labor of love? Just how could they?

And here she was, with another hand to take her there. The path seemed better. Familiar. Things she should have been doing for long now, but wasn’t. But a part of her was still hurt. Still afraid. Still wondering where this rendezvous would take her to.

Advertisements

Owned?

The fault was in destiny. The day which bore her a burden forever. Cause when everyone was speculating a baby boy, out came a girl! The most common form of heartbreak once you get married. Everyone accepted her half-heartedly. The first thoughts associated with her? “She is a burden on our shoulders. To be married off someday.”

The years following her birth were not as deadly as the first day but she was still treated as a burden, constantly being reminded of it. While her brother had permissions to do anything, it was all vice versa with her. She was hindered for doing anything and everything. And the most common aphorism to follow? “You have to live with another family someday. All this would not be tolerated there. Hence be in  your limits.” Even before being married, she was bound by the idea of marriage. Her flight delayed.

All through she was taught how to do household chores. And above all, she was taught to be doctile. How she should never argue back. How she should not look anyone in the eye. How … blah blah blah. All this while she thought maybe marriage is the end to all this torment. Maybe it is not as bad as they show. Maybe …

And atlast the day did arrive. The burden was off from her parents’ shoulders. She was being married off. And she? Naive as she always was, she was dreaming. She thought her prince charming had just saved her from an unpleasant life and hereon everythibg would be smooth. Like a fairy tale. Alas! Life is no fairy tale…

With marriage came responsibilities. And soon it dawned on her that she had no help there. She alone had to manage everything. And then you could not say no to your husband. Angels will curse you all night. She wondered why was only the wife cursed? All day she toiled hard and all she got at the end was curse and displeasure? For what did she do all this then?

Gradually she realised that though she worked as hard as her husband, she had to work at home too. He won’t move as much as a spoon. While he got to rest, all she got was more work. And displeasure of in-laws too. She wondered why only a woman was supposed to work at home? Was God biased or humans? She forgot our society believes in male chauvinism.

As some more time passed she was blessed with a baby. A baby girl. All her in-laws cursed her for bearing a girl child. Blaming her for being responsible for this tragedy. But what was her fault in it? How could she know what she bore. Yet no one thought about it. And instead of celebrations there was gloom in her house. It was another tragedy for them. But not a soul remembered what she had undergone to bring the life to this world. No one acknowledged her patience or tried to share her pain. It seemed she was unwanted. Surrounded by a whole lot of relatives and still alone.

As the birth of girl was gradually accepted, life began to be normal. But when the baby would cry, it would be her job to pacify her. Even after the baby was born, she alone had to take its care. When it would cry in night, she would be awakened to pacify it. She wondered why her husband could not have changed a diaper or fed it with milk that lay nearby?

She soon resumed her job too. Now she was handling too much together. House hold work, office, a baby, in-laws and a husband. She kept wondering why she had to be subdued and doctile. She wondered why women were doomed to this fate. Why was God partial to her gender? If her husband could rest after office why could not she? Why could she not go out and enjoy? Why could she not live?  Why were all bindations imposed on women only?

She had no answers. All she knew was that it all was unjust. Whether God was partial or the society, but she deserved much better, much more. And one such day, when she was tired of asking for her rights, she broke off. She broke all her chains that didn’t let her do her choice. She flew off away that day. Cause that day she realised life could not be what people say.  And your husband cannot be God. A wife has as much rights to rest and recreation as her husband. But still women feel chocked up, exhausted and sick.

A caged bird never sings of green fields.

A bird in a case can never love it’s owner.

 

marriageb

Recovering Childhood

She sat comfortably in a leather chair. The room looked cosy and was dimly lit. And a feeling of familiarity. As if the room was designed in a way to make people feel comfortable. To make them speak their hearts out. And so did she. In there a voice had asked her her story. And she had obliged.

Her story comprised merely of disappointment, gloom and regret. She was born some 20 years after her siblings. That meant they were busy with college studies when she was of playful age. Even their mother was working. So she had no playmate. All she ever played with was her own self. And the few toys she had had.

The biggest disadvantage of being the youngest sibling is that your clothes are not new. They are passed on from the elders to you. And sometimes they are not even your size. She never asked for new clothes but when she saw her friends all dressed up she yearned for the same. She thought when she would grow up a little she would get her own new wardrobe. Alas! That remained a dream. She had to wear the older sibling’s clothes much more longer than she had anticipated.

But all these were minor things that occur to all such kids who have an older sibling. What had hit her was the loneliness. She had no one to talk to. So she took refuge in mirrors. And even for that her sister used to scold her. “What are you doing? Standing and looking at the mirror all day? What does it serve you?”  So she started talking to the moon. Maybe because moon has patterns which make it look like a human face. That period was the start of talking to her own self. The lonelier she felt the more she talked to her own self.

Siblings are thought of as support. But it was different for her. Maybe because they were elder, they found her problems ridiculous. But they were not ridiculous for her. And it killed her to see that her siblings laughed when they saw her crying. Sometimes she had trifles with her friends. So when she turned to them for help, they laughed back. She probably never stated her problem again. This later triggered her to write a diary. A daily diary. And her siblings used to steal that and read it. Spying maybe. But they would not bother to talk to her or play with her. Instead spying seemed easier. Further breach of trust.

She was later not allowed to lock her cupboards or room. Her room would be searched in her absence. And everyone did so separately. She never really knew why. What could a 14 year old hide? This might not have been so complicated if school life had been a little more stable. There friendships were formed and broken in a matter of days. And nobody really liked to keep up to each other. Friends could have been a support but they never were. So the loneliness followed her everywhere. Absence of one could have been managed but absence of any kind of support was way different. It meant she was alone even before she was ready.

Among other things and scoldings, what bothered her was the lack of appreciation. Whatever she may do, however good her marks, she was never appreciated. All they ever said was, “Why are you lagging behind?” “Why did you lose marks?” “Why is your handwriting so bad?” Her hard work, her problems or anything related to her was not their concern. Their concern was results. And the worst thing about results was comparison. “Look that girl fared more than you.” “Why can’t you top your class?” These questions stung like needles. They made her feel so worthless. A zilch. This made her hate the girl she was compared to. What was in her that her parents loved her more than their own daughter? Why could they not love her as much?

Sometime later she made a big decision. She wanted to go live in a hostel for higher studies. After a month of negotiation, counselling and counter counselling she was approved to go. Maybe she didn’t realise how significant the consequences of this decision could be. A new phase. They say you can grow only outside your comfort zone. And so did she. In some ways. There were many things that she got better at. Shyness. Lack of words. Blah blah…. The list could go on and on. But it also elevated some of her fears too. The fear of being replaced. Back home there were many things happening which she was unaware of. And when she did come to know of it, she felt bad. She was clearly been replaced and apparently she was not needed. And there her fears took root.

In her course of study she could rarely visit home. And the days when she could she was made to feel like a zilch. The taunts of other children being better had not ceased. And they probably never would. Back at college all her professors looked at her with admiration but at home all she could see in eyes was dissatisfaction and rejection. As if she could never satisfy them whatever she did whatever she tried. Her family’s approval, their consent and appreciation meant a lot to her. And that was the most difficult for her to achieve. This triggered her emotional instability.

Amongst all this loneliness and unappreciatedness she was an easy prey. Talking to strangers and confiding in someone on social network was easier. Even fake sympathy and a kind word was enough. Not that she walked away astray but it did affect her. Sometimes her online friends were her only solace.

She understood her parents had gone through a lot but now they did not have to. They gave her a good, luxurious life but they forgot about emotional needs. They forgot a child needs a playmate, a confidant. But for her both were absent. In their bid to fulfil needs they forgot a 7 year old would be frightened to be home all alone. That for a child so young it was fearful to be alone, not fun. They did not realise the lack of appreciation and the constant comparison had rendered their child instable and insecure. That she constantly felt the need for attention so that she may feel someone’s affection and love. That after years of growing up she would still feel insecure and alone. That she would have to take sessions with a psychologist to recover from her childhood.

She was always surrounded by an aura of melancholy. Her moods would suddenly shift. And at times she broke down for no immediate reasons at all. She might not have found a solution but she did vent out her disappointment.

What was striking in her story was the statement, “I remember, once in childhood we were discussing America. We thought that if children are not happy there with their parents they can ask for another parents. I was young but I still wanted a different set of parents. 20 years later I still desire the same.”

Hearing stories was not any easier for a psychiatrist too.

A Ragging Incident

It all started with a simple introduction. They called it an icebreaker. “Why be ignorant about each other when we have to be together.” That was the first time we interacted with our seniors.
We were asked to introduce ourselves. Names, previous university and hometown. On the mention of hometown they asked to pinpoint the place of residence. I refused straight away. Why should some strangers know of my residence? What purpose would it serve them? What fun? But they didn’t see my point. All they understood was that I had misbehaved. Insulted the seniors. Hurt their ego.
Later that day, Her classmates displayed the first signs of trouble. Someone came in and asked who talked like that to seniors. When pursued further she revealed that seniors said it was rude to refuse revealing your address like that. Discussions on my behaviour had probably started. The feeling of unease settling in.
This incident highlighted me in the department. I could even see my classmates eyeing me thinking probably of my (muhnphat) behaviour. Faces of seniors even worse. That day I knew I was all alone.
A few days later seniors confronted me in department. Asking me how I could gather the courage to answer them like that. How could a junior survive in a campus with angry and annoyed seniors. I did not answer them for this. But I merely told them that my data is personal and I shall not share it. And if residential details were so important for our cordial relations, why wasn’t the guy first to be introduced asked to reveal his exact residential location? What was the reason for this bias? And yes, I also gathered the courage to tell them that a person is himself responsible for the safeguarding of his respect.
This all didn’t go well with them. The next thing to follow was a call at hostel. Seniors called me up to their room in hostel. They held me accountable for the humiliation they faced in front of all juniors as well as seniors. But that wasn’t my fault, was it? They tried to make me feel guilty, horrible and get me to apologize. But why should I? I was merely protecting my identity. And I have every right to decide how much of my personal data is revealed to strangers. But they were seniors. Seniors with a hurt ego and a revengeful mind.
Seniors would not have bothered me if it would have been restricted to that. But would that not be too simple a life? For the life of my miseries was destined long.
The seniors in hostel were warden’s favourites. She did as and whatever they said. But I had not anticipated what happened further. In a conspiracy with the warden they created issues for me. Everyday I had a new issue to tackle. For some consecutive weeks I was made to shift from.one room to another citing one reason or another. The warden would not even listen or understand. Tired of adjusting the luggage in a room every week I simply stopped adjusting them. All my luggage remained in my bags. In college everyone had started eyeying me. And my classmates were asked to stop talking to me by seniors. I was made to feel like an outcast. No one to talk to or ask for help.
As gradually as one could sense, isolation was taking its toll. Sometimes I found soothing in tears, on other days nothing. The most painful thing was telling my parents that i was fine and happy. Talking to them in a cheerful voice was the most difficult task.
And one day I climbed up the terrace and jumped. The world won. They had successfully killed all my courage and hope. Only light remained.

Mourning

The air was mourning their loss. A scream. And the scream gradually turned into sobbing. Heartbreak!

Their day started with buzzing of alarm clocks. Most annoying thing in mornings. And a second later mom would find her way in their rooms. “You are not up yet? You are going to be late. Hasten.” And there the struggles start. “Mom, I am not taking all this stuff with me. I can’t eat all this.” “Mom, let me sleep na, please!” All answers in negative. Nothing was entertained. They had to get up, get dressed and leave. Story of every student. This was a routine and they knew it won’t be altered. Nevertheless, they pleaded as undeterred. Has there ever been a child who wanted to go to school! Who did not need persuasion? Who liked it far from mom? Probably none!

In school it was a usual day. Made to study when they wanted to play. They did not want to but had to. No choices. After all this is what schools are meant for. And then recess. Freedom. Relief. Not long term but yeah, still a rescue. Their chatter filled the air. Gaiety. It is wonderful how a kid’s presence can change the environment. How a calm, quite place can be transformed into festivity.

Back home, their moms were busy cooking their kid’s favourites. Persuasion. Can a mom let her child be displeased with her? Never. She would pamper them as soon as they arrive back from school. Schools tire after all! Many a times they had no energy even to walk. Enter home and fall asleep. It was not pleasant for their mom’s either but it was for their future. How would they learn and prosper without attending school? They still did not. Life had other plans! Different from them and their parents.

During recess that day some strangers entered their school. Nobody noticed. None until they took out their weapons and opened fire. Bullets! Randomly, in all directions. Targeting anyone and everyone. But it was a school, wasn’t it? Occupied by children. Children! They were being gunned down. Killed!

As there were cries for help, security personals came into sight. Gunned down the intruders. But by then the damage had been done. So many mothers had lost their one dear child!

The scene was dismal. All one could see was blood. Lying around were corpses of festive children. Those who changed a place’s environment. Those who cheered everyone up. Whose presence only led to festivity. No more laughter filled air. Agony of life! Even the skies seemed to mourn. Everything and everyone fell silent in that moment.

On her arrival, all she could see was red! A scream escaped her lips. Everything seemed to have stopped in that moment. Nothing moved. Lifeless. She could not identify he child. Had he survived? Was he killed too? Where was he? No one knew. Unanswered!

She heard his voice, “Mom, I don’t wanna go to school today. Please don’t force me to. I just wanna stay with you.” Why did she not listen to him? Why did she force him to school? How would have one day’s absence mattered? She cursed herself. Why did she need to be so hard on him? Why did she not yield? This caused a stream of tears flow down her face. Remorse.

“Smallest coffins are the heaviest.”

Painted in Red

They all sat together in a single room. Pin drop silence. All that could be heard was the sound of T.V. A news reporter was reading out the latest developments in the area. Developments not in the form of infrastructure or education but of situation. Of a situation that had led them to be locked up in their homes. Curfew. It had been a week that they had been locked up in their homes. First internet services were snapped and gradually all kinds of connectivity. One could not even know how a person was. No news source other than the national television. Indian television.

The issue with being dependent on Indian media was their non-reliability. They would never showcase the truth. They did cover the militant army encounters. They rejoiced on militant deaths. They showed their disapproval of people joining funeral of militants. But they never digged down to understand why an 18 year old would shun his studies and take up arms. They showed the angry mobs protesting on streets but could never gather the courage to bring forth the reason for their anger and anguish.

But right now they did not really have an option. They had no other source. The unrest was triggered by an encounter. And people had poured in thousands on streets for his funeral. Along with the prayers there was one thing that reverberated in the air that day. “Hum kya chahte? Azaadi!” This word, “Azaadi”, had compelled the forces to disperse the procession. Means used? Tear gas shells, pellets, rubber and even live bullets. That day a dozen more boys were killed. And hundreds others injured.

Tear gas shells are frequently used for mob dispersal. The proper usage? To be shot at an upward or downward angle of 45 degrees. But in this part of the world, tear gas shells were shot at 90 degrees. Right above the waist.  As if they were aiming it at people so as to cause injury and panic. More than tears by a gas, a mob can be dispersed by the realisation that a participant is hit by a canister and needs medical attention. From protests their attention gets diverted to calling an ambulance or arranging a vehicle and driving the person to care and safety. Similarly pellet guns are classified as non-lethal. On being shot they shoot out small balls ranging from 300-30. In most parts of the world they merely shoot 30 pellets at a time. But we live in an exception. 300 pellets are released from one shot and they are not as non-lethal as claimed by the security agents and the governing bodies.

Pellet guns did not merely cause death. In majority of the cases it caused something graver. It caused the death of dreams and hopes. Ideally they should have been shot below waist area. Instead every injured person with pellets was hit above waist. Most of them hit in head and eyes. Some wounds recoverable, others not so. The worst sorts of injuries were in eyes. And even worse the news that they had lost eye sight.

What was moving was an interview of a journalist with one similar patient. He had been operated upon but recovery of his eyesight was unachievable. When he was asked about his dreams, he said, “ Earlier I had but now everything is black. Nothing is left.” And tears had started gushing out of his eyes. Gloom. It was not merely the loss of eyesight. It was not merely a genocide. It was not a mere mob dispersing technique. It was intentional breaking of dreams, lives and souls. How could a democracy do this to its own people (and an integral part)?

The answer was more political than human. A solution which no one was ready to implement. Egos’ and personal motives stood higher than humanity. And the streets of Kashmir were forever painted red.

 

Of Here and There

Apart from the stark contrast of culture and lack of mountains, one thing was very apparent at the new place. Wherever you look, however far you try to search there is no army man standing with  a loaded gun. This seemed so abnormal. Back home an army man could be found every 100 metres or even less but here…  She was clueless as to why. That was the first time she realised her homeland was a conflict zone. And that it was captive and yearning. All the people had a single dream. Freedom!

Adjusting to Indian society and culture was difficult. People usually asked very difficult and strange questions. Is it safe there? Have you seen terrorists? Does it blast every day? And they go on and on. That was when she knew the partial news coverage Indian media provided. For them it was merely a piece of land. For her? Kashmir! It was difficult to give them answers and bring forth the reality of Kashmir. Not because of the complexity of the conflict but because of the adamant nature of her questioners. They knew only one thing. “Mera Bharat Mahaan”. And they would not listen to a word spoken against India. Or to something that would paint India in bad light. They could not bring themselves to think or realise that India could be wrong and atrocious too.

Amongst all this a news took everyone like a storm. A guy had turned a militant and was now attacking army convoys. Army and CRPF were being attacked. It seemed as if armed struggle had started afresh. Following the news of blasts and killings she came to know about the person doing all this. (A name that means “bearer of good news”). This person claimed responsibility of all the recent attacks on the Indian army and forces. He also sent a strong message to counterparts in India, “We will earn our freedom soon.”

(the name). It was stuck in her mind. She could not understand why. Later, videos and pictures of the guy, who was by now being hailed as a hero, emerged. And she got her answer. She knew this guy. Not only did she recognise him, she even had memories of him.

She vividly remembered the smile that was always on display on (his name)’s face. How he displayed empathy with everyone. His kindness was an example in the whole school. Even teachers adored him and said the level of humanity he had was exceptional. He could not harm even a fly. Today the same guy was hurling grenades at humans. Unimaginable.

(his name) had lost his father very early in his life. Bought up by his mother alone, he knew her hardships and made sure he caused her no additional headaches. He was the calmest child of his age. His siblings were an elder sister who helped run the household with her mother and a twin. He always thought he was bestowed with the best mother and sister anyone could have. And his twin was like his own shadow. Inseparable.

It was late November. The sky was dark with black clouds and light was low even during the day. It had been snowing all night and it seemed to continue the whole day. Despite being the first snow of the season there was a strange lull in the atmosphere. As if something was utterly wrong somewhere and yet nothing could be done.  That day his brother was untraceable. He searched whole of their place but he was nowhere to be seen. Mother told him that he had moved out to buy some snacks. The nearest shop was a mile away. So (his name) started walking towards the shop. All the way long streets were strangely desolate. And the army numbers were higher than usual. Sensing trouble, he hurried. As he reached the shop, he met a strange sight. The snow was no more white. It was red. Even snow had withdrawn support. On the molten red part of the snow lay his brother. Shot dead.

For months together he did not talk to anyone. Neither did he attend school. He could hardly sleep. And when he did, he woke up shouting and crying. Doctors said he was suffering from PTSD. PTSD is not so uncommon in Kashmir. Almost half of the population suffers from it. Almost everyone has seen dead bodies, heard gun shots and grenades go off. People have dreams of identification parades and gun shots. And who held those killer guns? Army.

For a long time (his name) was depressed and could not resume his daily life. Probably he could not accept the loss. How could anyone ever anticipate losing a twin. It was after a year that he could finally face the reality and resume his life. It was difficult but he did all he could. Sometimes he would break down in middle of activities. Sometimes in midst of a crowd. That seemed to be the most difficult part of his life. Only if we knew better.

It was his higher secondary school exams. The ones parents say are the way to an easy life (the most common lie though). He had studied hard and thought he could ace the exams. It was the physics exam day. He was glad for he had attempted whole of the paper satisfactorily. But as he reached home that day, a new pain was awaiting him. In his absence some army men had entered their home forcibly and tried to impose themselves on the ladies. When the ladies did not yield they took them along with. Later, their bodies were found in a nearby brook. Both of them dead.

Rapes, forced disappearances and deaths were not new to Kashmir. But when this all happens to someone first hand it is difficult to bear. That day he felt helpless. His brother had not been given justice. And when he wanted justice for his mother and sister, he was met with same fate. Post-mortem reports were altered. Rules were bent. And the killers were given a free passage along with a transfer. Justice was murdered once again. Again, like all those years when 100’s of youth were killed and no one was held responsible.

The day he realised he could not get justice in the Indian legal system did he make up his mind. He wanted to avenge the deaths. Not just of his family but of Kashmir. Of the 1000’s of martyrs who laid their lives to free it from the occupation. That day he disappeared.

She could still remember the day like it had happened yesterday. (his name) had not appeared in any other exam. Nor could anyone get him to talk or do anything. It was the onset of depression. And this later led to his disappearance. Some said he killed himself in grief. Others said he crossed over the border. But no one did anything. Moot spectators.

It had been a year since his disappearance. He had returned as suddenly as he had disappeared. His eyes still spoke of the ordeal he had met. His pain had not died away. Time did not heal his wounds. Incurable.

Yet, whenever she had conversation with her Indian class fellows they held him wrong. He was labelled a terrorist even without hearing his side of the story. News anchors shouted to establish their point. People started discussing him on national television. But they never knew what provoked him. She wanted to ask them how they would feel if their brother was out to fetch snacks and was shot at without any fault. Was it some play? Was he a wax model? A target to practice upon? She wanted to ask them if they had ever reached home and found that some army men had misbehaved with their mother and later killed her? Would they still worship their country, their army as they do now?

Her staunch Indian fellows were blindfolded by the media and their national chauvinist mentality. The truth never reached them. She wanted to tell them his truth. But then are Kashmiri students studying outside the state not killed and labelled terrorists or lodged in jails for no fault? Or even worse, they sometimes merely disappear. And quiet she kept.

 

Azaadi

freedom_of_speech

 

A protest. A ruckus. A new trending news. An uproar against. An arrest!

All these events followed only a basic fact – death anniversary of a convict. An alleged terrorist who tried to blow up parliament of democracy. Anti-nationalist. And a little mass of a university gathered to pay their tributes to the terrorist guy. They speak in his favour, call the judgement a judicial killing, taint the hands of leaders and judges red with his blood. Call the convict a martyr. And what do they ask for in these protests? Azaadi!

Following this protest whole of the nation goes up in arms against the students and the university.
“How come university approved such an event?”
“And how dare people call for Azaadi and remember a terrorist? ”
“All these are traitors. Only worth throwing out of the country. Send them to Pakistan, or Afghanistan or anywhere.”
“They should be charged with sedition and tried under anti-terrorist laws.”

The whole nation united against these few voices. Deeming them unfit for the country and a waste of resources. They were misusing the freedom of speech and the democratic nature of nation. Bloody  *************!

Eventually the uproar of people due to constant telecast of the event by news channels led to arrest of the student union leader. And the telecast was definitely not neutral. It was laden with all kinds of hate speech a person speaking as VJ can. Influencing people’s mind to what they desire. Sedition charges were levied upon the student. Was the nation satisfied now?

In all this chaos and confusion, uproar and call for shutting down the university people forgot to do their homework. They simply relied on what the news anchors and social media fed them with. Their own knowledge of the incident was almost nil! Oh, isn’t media there to educate us only? Well maybe! But all the country’s media cared about was their TRP. They didn’t mind blowing a news out of proportion or speaking to influence because their primary concern was their TRP not truth.

Nobody asked the student body why they had held the event. Or why they were supporting a convict who has been hanged three years earlier. Nobody bothered to know their side of the story. Because the society believes in being with the flow. Go where the crowd is going and mimic them.

The students had decided to hold the protest in their sane mental states. All they wanted to project was the real nature of conviction of the aforementioned. All the evidence presented was circumstantial. And even the judgement mentioned that the conviction is taking place for collective conscience of society. Did any member of the society read the judgement before declaring Afzal Guru a terrorist? (You don’t even need to file an RTI. The judgement is easily available all over internet!)

When the students called for Azaadi they did not mean to draw a new line of international border. They wanted the country and the world to recognise Kashmir as a conflict. They wanted the world’s largest democracy to end the human rights violation that happens there day and night. They want Azaadi from AFSPA, from PSA and from all other draconian laws that permit army to kill anyone anywhere without being held accountable for it.

The meaning of Azaadi is not bound to borders only. Kashmir wants Azaadi from army men beating a 3-year old to death and then roaming free without any conviction. Kashmir wants Azaadi from army shooting a 16-year old while playing in the park and never being held accountable. Kashmir wants Azaadi from army entering a village and raping all its women, then stubbornly  denying all the charges.

Kashmir is fed up of politics and false promises, of all the hypocritic people calling Kashmir an integral part but never  raising their voices for the atrocities done there. People of the world or of the country have done nothing to make them their own. Not a soul from civil society raised his voice of concern when mass graves were found in Kashmir or when army men were found guilty of fake encounters. Why did they all not raise their voice against the violation of rights then? Was Kashmir not an integral part then? Were people living there not humans? No one has any right to call Kashmir their own. Kashmir wants to be Azaad!

And for all those whose pride takes a dip in admitting Kashmir as a conflict zone, switch off that idiot box, move over your prejudice, and read about Kashmir.

“Kashmir Ki Azaadi Tak Jung Rahegi!”

Awaited

She was jolly that day. A day out with her best friend. What else can cheer up  a person more than a friend. They didn’t do anything extraordinary. Only a walk down the road and a dessert in a famous shop. As she was relishing her dessert, she suddenly noticed he was gone. Nowhere within site or in the shop. A quick glance around confirmed that. She frantically got up to check the streets for him. No clue. He was gone!

A cry escaped her lips. Scanning her surroundings she realized she was home. It was still dark. Clock on the wall read 2. A nightmare! Relieved, she went back to sleep.

The next day she met her friend. Together they laughed on the weird dream. At that moment they could not conceive the thoughts of separation. They had no reason after all. There was no possibility.

As much as they liked each other’s company, people envied them equally. As per the traditions of our society, their friendship was condemned on all levels. The most common thing? “A guy and a girl can never be just friends!” To counter them, they only had truth. Their minds had never wandered to the romantic sides. They did not consider gender when together. They were just two souls searching and seeking together.

But our society does not take rest easily, or does it? His friends started to taunt him. And ask about their relation too.
“Are you flirting with her?”
“Is she your girlfriend?”
“Are you two in a relationship?”
“What is going on between you two? You two are always together!”

After some time the guy snapped contacts with her. No explanations, no goodbyes. This sudden change of behaviour drove her crazy. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t contact him and didn’t know why.

She had hopes he would return, If only for a final goodbye, but he would. She kept waiting, pinging him. Neither did he reply nor did he offer any explanation.

She kept wondering whether he was not affected at all. Did the sudden parting of ways not affect him?  Not the least? Depressed, she kept wondering what had happened. Was he so fed up with societal pressure that he gave up a cherished friendship? Or did the taunts of society reflect his true feelings? Was he somehow inclined to his friend? To her? Did he love her as they all said? Or did he quit so she may not have to hear anything?

In the dark cold nights she kept wondering. Why did he quit? She awaited an answer. None arrived. And the void remained!

Biased Children?

All through our childhood we see our mothers work feverently for us. Even a moment’s rest seems a luxury for them. And yet, when we gain enough strength to replay them we choose, instead, to neglect.

All through we tend to see the duties of our parents towards us but never do they work for their rights. Are our parents not entitled to our care and love in their years of down?

But instead, we tend to make them work even more. In most of the households, parents are treated as servants and maids. Maybe this is the only reason they are kept at home. Unpaid and trusted labour. Does none realise that we are doing them injustice?

In  a bid to please our wives and not let them get burdened by household chores and children, we tend to thrust work onto our parents. Thinking they have served us before and would do so forever. But are we not taking them too lightly?

Do we not realise that same situation might reciprocate on us? The child we cherish today might employ the same propaganda. Tomorrow he might, as well, treat us as mere unpaid servants!

They say prayer of a broken heart is considered immediately. Do we wish to bring wrath upon us by treating our parents ill?

They are entitled to respect and care as much as our partners and children deserve. Then why this bias?