Numbness

Over the past few days, in many of our conversations, I was asked whether I was hurt. Whether what was said didn’t go well with me. Whether it was offending. Or angered me. For that matter provoked any reaction within me.

Somehow nothing anyone said had any effect, any impact on me. As if nothing mattered. As if nothing was said in the first place.

Had I attained maturity? Or is it some other level of numbness? Numb to the extent that nothing pricks, nothing causes a reaction, nothing stirs me up! Why?

I remember in my childhood my sister was not ticklish and I used to call her inert. After all these years, am even I insert? Non-indulging. Not feeling.

Have I lost my neurons?

Have I internalized and normalized everything to the extent that nothing matters anymore?

What have I done to me?

Chained to Chores

Busy, bustling, daily chores
A life full of demanding more’s
Ah! The clock goes too fast
Just can’t do enough!

With hands full, I hear a call
A familiar, cherished voice
somehow it felt different
So wrong, painful

I look back, the source of the voice
Dad crumbling, drenched in sweat
something seems utterly wrong
the panic on his face

I run, trying to get a hold of him
save the fall, the anguish
But midway something hinders my run…
A chain round hand.

I try jostling it away
breaking free and going over
somehow seems too strong
Ah! What do I do…

Somewhere I comply, negotiate
I get timeouts and return back…
like a dutiful slave!

 

 

Of Freedom

They say, “You are free
The chains metamorphic
You don’t need to break free
You already are”

I thought how I had two worlds
One real, other fascination
How one felt like a cage
And other set me free

Yes, I could fly
Soar to the zenith I seek
I could be whatever
Behind the daydreaming eyes

Amongst consciousness and insanity
Lay a desire – suppressed
Why follow routine
Why be free in dreams only!

I Kept Wondering

Living beyond caring
on the turf-magical
right, wrong didn’t exist
and I kept wondering

Is this they call free
unaffected by boundaries;
by frameworks of society
I kept wondering

Not thinking for a moment
Spontaneity
life’s secret of contentment?
I kept wondering

Should I, Shouldn’t I?
indulgence is costly
and where to
I kept wondering

In those moments of freedom
a life time happened
and when I look back,
I keep wondering!

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.

 

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!”