Last evening, Dadji’ s routinely funny jokes made me laugh loudly. Suddenly, however, everybody became mute and turned around to my mother whose sigh and gloomy face suggested and carried umpteen, unexplained stories. Was it loneliness? Was it some deep wound? Was it forlornness or did it all stem from injustice? What was it- I asked myself?
It was the time to offer the Isha nimaz which I did. But, before going to sleep, as is my wont I began to read,. But, this particular night was very different, as shattered dreams slipped in my sleep and sound of ghosts disrupted it. As I woke up, my sunken eyes, exhausted mind took a peek at the news headline on my phone. My hands trembled at the news headline: “A class 12th student had fallen to bullets and succumbed”. My heart start beating very fast and I drowned in a flood of tears. The victim was neither my relative nor a neighbour. This boy was another Kashmiri poor civilian whose father was a street hawker. He was neither a militant nor any criminal.
The night was not different from doomsday. The sound of ghosts and crowd of crows haunted me. I could not open my eyes because I was in that city where there was fire all around and nobody was ready and able to douse it.
The voice I heard again and again (Haa Myani Goubro, Oh My Child) tore me apart. I saw so many dead bodies which can’t be identified, so many brides whose henna hands turned into bloody hands when the dead bodies of their bridegrooms arrived, and I saw numerous orphans still awaiting for their fathers. It was one hell of a nightmare.
I was at a place where there is little space left in sprawling graveyards, that is, a place where people are bound with unlimited boundaries. This Peere Vaer or My Kashmir where the honour of ladies was their scarf which they held close to their heads but in search of their blossoming buds, they put their scarves on their bloody faces.
The future of thousands of children here is darkly dismal. There is fear and anxiety. Everyone seems sunk in flood of fire. The mirth of childhood is gone. No more children found playing in lawns; neither are the pretty girls singing Kashmiri’ Roff’. There is loneliness, emptiness and darkness everywhere. I am here, with my eyes wide open, and my trembling hands searching for a glass of water as dogs outside are barking loudly.
I recall my mother’s words (un)blossoming rose buds I dwelt on my dream which was the answer to my question in my mind since long.
Many in Kashmir are blinded. How can they read again? How they can see the colours of the world again in their shattered dreams?
Their world is full of emptiness. There are so many other examples that are dying before they are blossoming. Yes, they are the (un)blossomed roses of Kashmir.
—The author is a student of Mass Communication and Journalism at Kashmir University and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)