Tormentor

I sit with him, Ah! the pleasure
His eyes, the way he smiles
chiseled biceps!

He asks, I speak
The trauma at my heart
What is it that keeps poking me

I speak of red,
The spilled colour
The bundle of joy dead on a street

I speak of a bed
Devoid of rest
Haunted by nightmares

I speak of rooms;
Painful, brutal sounds
Electrocution

I speak, unaware
the words incoherent
the ache, constant….

My tormentor, moved to tears
I, unphased, numb
unaffected

Boundaries

We all come across posts trying to make us realise how blessed we are. How we should not whine because someone is deprived. How we should be content and satisfied and how the presence of such deprived souls should make us live humble.

But sometimes I wonder why do we want to stop our growth because someone is not so well to do? Why can’t we grow and instead of being upset and pitiful, help these people up too? Why can’t we work so as to benefit them as well?

Giving them a share of our earning doesn’t help. They remain dependent. Showing sympathy and being pitiful does not help either. Our getting content with whatever we have doesn’t matter. because in all this, the question of their betterment remains unanswered.

What is it that we should do, as a collective society, to improve the condition humanity is in? What way leads us to a blissful garden?

But before we find answer to such questions we have an obstacle to tackle.

When do we erase the boundaries and consider all humans one?

Being a Girl

I talked of chains
How I felt my wings bound
How it was suffocating
Smothered, numb
They asked, ” Where are the chains
You talk about;
Who binds you, you seem free
The cage is just metamorphic”
I think the words over
Were they right?
Why was it that I felt caged?
What denied my wings flight?
No, the chains couldn’t be seen
They were just words, lingering
A collection of random events
The burden of ‘Izat’
Stereotypes bound me
The rules- how, what, right, wrong
The piercing eyes- disapproving, shaming
The label of being a girl!

Call to Freedom!

FotorCreated-9I have seen dreams die
Youth crying, panicked
“I cannot see a thing
What happened to my eye”

I have seen sleep stab
Flashes, nightmares
Face in palms, crying
“Where did my peace go”

I have seen mournful weddings
No songs of joy being sung
Groom was shot on the way
“Where did his promise go”

I have heard kids wonder
“Everyone comes with parents
I go alone, with my mother
Where did my father go”

I have seen women
Half widows
Not even a grave to cry
“Where did my husband go”

I hear a mother lament
“He was all I had
Peace to my heart, light to my eyes
Where did my son go!”

I see a procession, a funeral
children mourning
I hear people sloganeering
“Azaadi, Azaadi, Azaadi, Azaadi!”

 

Blunder and Pain

They talked freedom
how they had had enough
Tyranny, Monarchy
sought an end

They start out, seeking
fighting their way through
somewhere religion creeps in
Blunder?

A line drawn on religion
supressing minority
threatening, depressing
Inhumanity?

Fleeing home,
protecting
bleak faith
Kashmiriyat stabbed?

Fear in eyes
Tears
Years going in vain
Exodus!

Along, people in procession
slogans booming
“Asi Gasi Pakistan,
Batav Ros Ti Batnev Saan!”

He is a Human Too!

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Talking of home, peace
the beauty of my place
the calm,
Paradise

We somehow reach conflict
the tug-of-war
nobody ready to give in
the dilemma of rope!

I narrate how, every year
we lose sons to bullets
how, abruptly
our streets are painted red

How, out of blues
a pellet hits your eye
How, in an instant
the world turns black!

I explain the mass graves
AFSPA, PSA
Tufail, Zahid, Wamiq Farooq
their graves asking for crimes

Fake encounters, promotions
disappearances
Half-widows, orphans, posthumous
Machil!

Crackdowns, rapes, torture
Papa II, Mama II
Bullets, pellets
Teargas shells!

He asks, “Why are you silent
how can you bear someone
barging doors
killing beloved

Why don’t you retaliate
fight back
serve them as deserved
An eye for an eye!

How could talks help
why yearn for justice
why empty handed
missing rifle…

How could you just sit around
mumb over blood bath
does your blood not boil
Are you so weak at heart?”

How could I explain
I have closely seen pain, death
and when I kill
does his family not die like mine?

Everything is Fair in War!

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“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?

 

Come Over

 

Look at the war, the turmoil
The way it affects you
A future awaits
Come over

What are you holding onto
Fear? Trauma
A bullet with your name on it?
Come over!

Tranquility awaits you
The grass is greener
Paradise,
Come over

I wondered if it was true
Far away, in exile
And yet paradise
The insistence, come over

Why quit for peace
And justice?
who would ensure that?
Bring back the golden days, come over

I stay back
Work, where others quit
Ensuring justice, brick by brick
I act rather than being a spectator
I won’t come over!

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.

 

Terror

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They asked, ” How are the circumstances?
Still tense and unsafe?
Do you still have bomb blasts
Or meet terrorists?”

Speech failed and so did words
Thoughts raced further than they should
All attempts to describe the place
Went futile; all in vain

This had happened even before
They were national chauvinists
Unable to understand and comprehend
Beloved national can be wrong too.

They failed to acknowledge the land a conflict
For them it an integral part
But the truth lay hidden from them
Truth being the first casualty in conflict.

They trusted what media presented and
Politicians said; situations blown out of control
Being naive,thinking all was truth
Is that not how they ruined it?

Least aware about politics
How leaders used the issue for benefits
How cruel they could be with people
Diplomats and hypocrites .

They failedto know how people disappeared
And were killed in cold blood
No terrorist did so, but
Beloved security desirous of promotions

Neither they knew how voices were suppressed
Tear gases and bullets to shoo away
For them it was only water;
And didn’t sometimes police even protect them?

What they knew wasn’t whole of truth
A three year old can’t be a threat
They weren’t killing terrorists
It was a planned genocide!

Yet, not a word escaped lips
They were national chauvinists
Perceptions and beliefs would clash if expressed
And he, the only child of his mother!