Dear Maa, I Never Stopped Loving Kashmir But I Just Had To Leave

Dear Mother,

How are you doing? I hope you and everyone at home are well. I miss you all. I miss Kashmir. Yes, I miss the place that I wanted to leave as soon as possible. It’s not like I stopped loving Kashmir, it’s just that I was tired of the everyday violence. I couldn’t take what was happening there. You know how emotional I am.

I used to feel petrified. I never wanted to leave, it was the violence that forced me to. After coming here, I’ve stopped reading the news about Kashmir. I’m sorry, but I cannot. I am tired of counting dead people. I am tired of looking at gruesome pictures. I am tired of every piece of news that comes from there. But I won’t forget the place, I won’t forget you, I won’t forget my people, I won’t forget home.

Don’t worry about me, I am good here. Everyone I’ve met here is nice. They listen to me, they don’t abuse me. They understand Kashmir. They may not be well aware of our problems, but they understand us.

I’ve made a lot of friends here and they ask me about Kashmir. They expect me to tell them that it is a beautiful place but I end up telling them about its violent side. Do you know everyone I’ve met here wants to go to Kashmir?

I met a girl here who really wants to visit Kashmir. She wants to settle there. It made me smile and it made her smile too. I didn’t tell her about the violent Kashmir, I didn’t tell her that even I am not safe there. I narrated to her, stories of our beautiful Kashmir. She was happy. In fact, I welcome everyone to Kashmir.

Do you know that there was no curfew here on August 15? Internet and calling services were not barred here on August 15. Everyone was celebrating. No one was caged. The people were enjoying their freedom. They were celebrating it. Here, people have every freedom, they fly like birds. I want to be here. I want to feel this freedom. I never felt this kind of freedom at home. I have always craved for it, maa.

I miss Kashmir and I cannot take it off my mind. I cannot forget the fresh air and the beautiful mountains. There are a lot of Kashmiris like me here. They miss home too. We also want to be free there like we are here.

Before leaving Kashmir, I remember what you told me. You told me not to talk about Kashmir with anyone. I’m sorry maa, I couldn’t keep the promise. I tried very hard but failed. I hope you will understand. I don’t know when I will be writing to you again. Till then, take care of yourself and send my regards to everybody. Don’t worry about me, the people here are good. I am safe here.

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