Homecoming

Azaan Javaid

It was a bright Saturday afternoon and the glorious mountains of the valley were clearly visible from the aircraft carrying the excited passengers of India who were poking out of the window to get a glimpse of the heavenly abode. The flight was coming from Mumbai destined to Jammu via Srinagar. The Kashmiri crowd however wasn’t that excited but a sense of proud was clearly visible on their faces as the fellow passengers whispered “So beautiful”. That’s when boy of hardly five or maybe six questioned his elder brother who must be a year older that where were they? The elder boy answered “we are out of India, out of India.”At this point both me and the passenger sitting beside me looked backwards to see from where has the comment come. It was two minutes later when he asked “Are you going to Jammu”? I answered humbly “Kashmir”. The man looked distressed somehow after one of the shortest conversations I have ever had. The highlight however came when all Kashmiri rose to exit the flight. The passengers seemed to have seen a ghost, everyone except the boys who few minutes ago were discussing the landscape.

The cold October chill had already taken over the fragile body of mine when a graffiti on the wall caught my attention. It said “We want” and rest was rubbed off. I knew what was written there before. Not only me but every Kashmiri and a non Kashmiri who has walked on the promised land of Kashmir and even beyond knows. The first day was not eventful until in the evening when I was having a walk back home with a friend with whom I shared a couple of light moments. This however was curtailed by their stories of getting beaten up, harassed and living under curfew. Coming back to the time when I was heading back to my home, a normal chit chat with a friend was again disturbed with a cop pointing towards us and abusing some other youth whom I guess wanted to go to home just like me. We crossed the road with an intention that our step will  save us from the beating which a majority of Kashmiri’s have witnessed, we looked back if anyone is chasing us. Just then a stone came flying and landed near the boots of the cop who was just abusing everyone around him. As we walked hurriedly, on the way saw a group of youth preparing for what seemed to me a showdown. My friend turned towards me and said “welcome to Kashmir” and I replied “I never left”.

The next two days passed listening to the horrors of what people have been through. “The villages have seen the tremendous atrocities, everyday they (villagers) are beaten up, women are disrespected and continuous curfew just seems very normal thing now” said another friend of mine as I sulked in the guilt of not being able to do anything. As I walked with him on the busy streets of Red Square (Lal Chowk) I saw a familiar face, a friend of mine from school. He had grown into a fine boy of almost 6 ft in height. A good looking boy of maybe twenty was staring at me and I remembered how we spent our childhood days together. Though we weren’t that close and didn’t even know where he lived we did share great memories. “You looking very good” I complimented, a friend of his added “You should have seen him before he was in jail”. At this point I was meant to be shocked, but I wasn’t as arresting youth had become a part of the standard operating procedures by the state police and the CRPF. I confirmed “Kani jung” (stone pelting), he smiled which was more than an affirmative for me. He was in for four nights during which they were beaten up and abused continuously. “here I have a broken fist; doctor said I am too late for treatment and fist will remain twisted” while taking a drag of cigarette and blowing the smoke as if he didn’t care for anything.”The worst was not when they were beating us or abusing or even hitting us with poison ivory (soi), the worst was the mental torture. We were twenty five inmates in that tiny cell and they repeatedly told us that we will rot in here and never get what we want”. He looked sideways thoughtfully and repeated “That was the worst”. Why I asked why you do it he replied “Why will we be denied of basic rights, I just do it to protest and to make the world listen what we have to say”. On asking will stones help he said, “I don’t know, but I know staying quiet will do no good”.

I looked around and found myself in a completely different Kashmir. I don’t know whether it was the revolution or hundreds of martyrs or was it the tiring of people from the yoke of tyranny and oppression but things had changed. Things have changed forever and they have changed for the good

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About theparallelpost
The language of words is more heavenly than the language of tongues and lips. The Parallel Post is a forum to offer a space for people who dare to speak through their words. The intention is to create an environment to share in words what we perceive in our minds...

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