After the talk; prospects of loss,
death, and grief
Of life without
I sit in a garden
Looking for a four-leaf clover;
calming my storms
You stirred inside
After the talk; prospects of loss,
death, and grief
Of life without
I sit in a garden
Looking for a four-leaf clover;
calming my storms
You stirred inside
It is raining. I am warm and cosy in my bed. A cup of coffee and some books add to the pleasure. And I guess everyone using Facebook now is equally cosy and at ease.
But some people aren’t. Some people are being thrown out or beaten just because of their identity. And the fact that something happened in their area, in their they had no say whatsoever.
Even they aren’t the reason for my post this time. The reason is the constant revenge posts in my feed. My six years of NCR gave me a lot of friends who proudly call themselves Indian. I am glad to have them. But after the Pulwama attack everyone, almost everyone is posting solitary with the soldiers and how they want revenge. From Pakistan and from Kashmir.
The 45 soldiers who lost their lives might not have deserved this. But did anyone step back for a moment to consider why a 20 year old youth would want to blow himself up? He wasn’t raised in the so called Afghanistan and told killing people will bring him to Jannah. He was raised in a village in Kashmir where I am pretty sure he was told, and it was emphasised that suicide is one of the gravest sins. That once committed, the doors of jannah are shut for him. That this suicide results in eternal hell.
Then why? Why would a person having his life ahead of him take such a step?
Why wouldn’t he consider the fate of his family after he is gone? Didn’t he know how families of militants are treated? Didn’t he know that even if PM wouldn’t say anything, army would avenge itself? Would at the minimum burn his house down. Beat all the Male members up and harass them at every opportunity? In a fit of rage, his mother and sister could be raped?
Or was it because he had had so much of this pain and trauma that he couldn’t hold back?
After all, does it not need immense strength on part of a person to just blow himself up? How many of us can survive that thought without tearing up? How many of us can could the time, the seconds till our death? And then cause our own death too? How many?
Or was it that he was already so dead inside that no heaven or hell mattered to him anymore? That he had seen enough to blow up not just himself but 40 other people too?
If he was so traumatised didn’t he know the families of these people would be in pain too? What had happened that rendered him numb to everyone’s pain? Tears?
Did anyone think, or ask for his story before asking for revenge? Did anyone even care to seek out the wounds inflicted on him? The reason that he drove to his own death?
I had someday, against nature
taken that one step; dreaded
I knew all that could go wrong
Nevertheless, I found the courage
for once to risk it all
the reward too lucrative
for once, vulnerability ceased
A surge of courage, strength
a step towards the dreaded journey
Fear, excitement, adrenaline
How does it sound?
Ever witnessed flight of a bird
a broken wing, nearing death?
It breaks into flight, not merely for its sake,
to escape… Alas!
Why didn’t it know its fate?
the flight of a broken wing
How far could courage take
or service of a fake smile?
I repeatedly ask myself
“For how long?”
When I am asked for my birth date, I have no reply
I have died a million deaths and from there reborn
The last time you said goodbye and I said alright, remember that time?
The last time we saw in each other’s eyes, let those words be, and left. Remember that silence?
The last time we could have held each other and didn’t? The support we could have been and didn’t? Remember that time?
Now, I see you grieving. Wailing. Lamenting the loss you suffered. The Trauma.
But I wanna ask, “Did I not matter when I existed? When I was there? Why did you take me so for granted then?”
Now that I shed my mortal skin and am leaving for chasm, why do you call my name? Chasing a ghost? Shouting out regrets?
Would the words not work if I heard them when alive? What fun now? The purpose of this regret?
“Everything is fair in love and war”
Everyone is well aware of this statement. About how there is nothing defining right and wrong when you have an enemy and a goal to achieve. How no one cares about right when there is a war.
But is victory that important? Is it some epitome of forgiveness that once we achieve victory everything else would fade out? Would our atrocities clean out? Would the blood on our hands turn transparent?
And if so, then are our everyday struggles not war for us? A new battle, a new challenge everyday? Should this philosophy of everything being fair not be applicable there as well? If for being declared a university topper I need to cheat, why should that be deemed morally incorrect? Is this goal not a war for me? And does the society not itself justify the means used in a war?
War or peace does not matter. What matters is whether what we do is justified. Going out killing someone just for its sake is not fair. Having impunity and shooting people around to abuse the power is not fair. Whether it be a war or a conflict, nothing can be beyond a human. Nothing, no victory is more important than a human life. And yet it is the human life we value the least.
It might take a lifetime to put this thought into our politicians’ minds. What is the value of a piece of land without its inhabitants, its culture? And when occupation of land does not matter, why have borders? Why divide ourselves? What high does this wall of separation give us?
Why could we all not co-exist. Peace. Imagine the amount of money this would save us. The amount of work that could be done when the military finances are redirected. Why should there be any need for military and nuclear weapons. Why should we stand against each other?
Sometimes it seems easier being an animal. No set boundaries. No visas. No weapons. No gunshots or blasts. But we were created humans. Superior to every other species that ever existed. And yet we are the only species that stands against each other.
Is the pain of a lost son not same for mothers of warring nations?
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.
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.”
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.