For all I know about myself, my sanity sits solely on my stories.
In my childhood days, I looked after our animals with a slingshot in my hand. I lived in our black tent, pitch per the dictate of the seasons. I still hear our mastiff growling at the wolf pack when foggy weather frightens the herd. Life has been strenuous yet straightforward as a Yak herder.
Chasing rabbits and rainbows tirelessly; riding yaks and horses, surreptitiously contending with the other nomadic clan’s kids of my age – I found myself lost in that timelessness, heeding the age-old omens of nature, feeling completeness of belonging somewhere.
Snow Mountains touch the blue sky; rivers and flowers draw a beautiful landscape to the nomads on the prairie. Four seasons blissfully unveil their unique attributes to the people who never had a lesson on ‘The Importance of Conserving Ecosystem’ in their entire life. Where the livelong days of the elders spend on circumambulating and chanting Om Mani Padme Hum.
Well now, I am far away from my home and all its memories. I don’t see any Yaks here in this place, I am myself struggling with the summer heat; I don’t think Yaks will survive even with ACs here. If you’re still wondering & wanting to know all in one line: I’ll say – I was not knowingly exiled from my childhood playground.
Before all of this happened to me – I was creating memories, I was conversing with my ancestors in my own native tongue. I was not someone who struggles with retaining his memories – I was more than that.
Right now, I am not what I used to be – far from it, but still I live on while 147 already burnt themselves. My elders told me that it’s not just numbers; all are flesh and bone, 147 souls mine alike. (One more set himself on fire today in my native place; we don’t know his whereabouts after the cops took his charred body away. We don’t know whether he is alive or dead. I fear for his remaining family members’ safety more than anything. Even if I try, I can’t express their feelings because I simply can’t imagine their despair right now.)
Today, I am no longer a Yak herder; instead of the slingshot, I hold fast to this pen. It is my only hope and the last refuge now. I am ready to permanently exchange my slingshot (once my constant companion) with this pen as long as it keeps the hope alive – the hope of Freedom. In brief, I’m here to witness the power of this tool, this pen in my hand.
April 18, 2017