Even Kashmiris have never known such a lockdown before; confined to their houses, they are at their wits’ end

Even Kashmiris have never known such a lockdown before; confined to their houses, they are at their wits’ end

Srinagar: Furkan Amin, 30, resident of Parmipora, is usually in a hurry to open his shop which is located near Amar Singh College. These days, of course, he cannot do that. In the past whenever there was a lockdown, he managed to give the slip to security forces deployed on the streets to go see his friends and relatives but now he is confined to his house, willingly.

“I usually pray and watch the Turkish series on the founder of Ottoman Empire, Kurulus Osman,” he said of his routine now. “I also try not to touch my eyes, mouth or nose, apart from cleaning my hands at regular intervals. In previous lockdowns my only concern was how to give the slip to those whom I can see, but here I don’t know who to slip past.”

The valley of Kashmir is no stranger to lockdowns, but this is something that even Kashmiris have never seen before.

People say they feel like ghosts, unable to be seen by others, unable to see others.

“People have locked themselves in their homes. Everyone in the valley is mentally distributed. I am mentally disturbed,” Furkan said.

Rafiaya Farooq, by profession a teacher, said, “It is not a joke. There are 13 active cases now and one death. I can’t even bring myself to hope for the better. I read some books to keep my mind engaged, and do some work in my home garden.”

Day by day the panic increases. A student from Bemina, Insha Rashid, told Kashmir Reader, “For me, days and nights are the same. I try to be positive all the time but then seeing our present condition, especially the people who aren’t taking it seriously, makes me even more fearful. They think it’s just another curfew for them. The fear of disease isn’t bothering me so much as the attitude of society. I divert myself by reading books, using social media. The internet speed should be restored (to 4G) so that we can avail the benefit of the internet,” she said.

Many people said they were doing odd jobs inside their homes, Rafia Ahmad, a resident of Dargah, said, “I am repairing electric fittings, gadgets, spraying disinfectants on door and window handles, maintaining the kitchen garden, unnecessarily washing the car, playing with my kids.”

Nayeem Rah, a resident of Soura, said, “It is really different from the previous lockdowns. I mean, here we are not struggling for our identity but for our lives. The last lockdown was all about communication blockage but this time we have some connectivity. People are comparing this with past Kashmir lockdowns but this is totally different. We cannot step outside our houses. The stress level is increasing with every passing day. We hope this, too, shall pass.”

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