“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.
At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ―Vera Nazarian
The best way to win over someone is to treat them the way they like, make them realise that they are pretty much part of your life and that they matter to you. Elsewhere this may be the reality, but when it comes to Kashmir, all these words scatter and disappear with their meaning in winding alleys like a couple after exchanging sweet nothings.
In the first place, I shouldn’t be writing about it as there are many other issues I have to deal with in my life. But, when something hurts you endlessly, you try to figure out why it is doing so and what you need to do to stop it. The latter is only possible if it is in your control, which unfortunately it is not.
Setback after setback is what we the people of Kashmir have been witnessing for decades. Our lives have turned into bullet-riddled walls, disfigured and about to fall. We are promised gold but given deceit. Sometimes, one wonders if at all we are counted as humans. The irony is that what looks like normalcy to some outside is, for us, a small pause in the cycle of pain and suffering.
Do I sound despondent? Well, you too would if you swap your lives for the time being with us. You will know through and through what it feels like to live under shutdowns, curfews, and extensive lockdowns, when guns roar in your neighbourhood morning and evening and next day all you get to see is a house razed to rubble and news of death and injury. When, despite your neutrality or just putting your viewpoint across, you are labelled a ‘traitor’ or ‘anti-national’.
The worst of all is when you start believing that things will change for good only to realise after a while or, in certain cases, instantly this is just wishful thinking. Nothing is going to change. Our destiny was sealed the day we were born in Kashmir.
What is going to change it then?
There seems no ray of light at the end of this endless tunnel. We are an unfortunate people given to cursing our own fate, for there is no one to accuse or so we have been made to think. We know only helplessness, victimhood, and suffering. How many times we abandon our dreams just because we happen to live in Kashmir and nobody seems to care. And why should anybody! If you are a Kashmiri, you got to have your share of suffering. It can’t be wasted.
But, we still hope, and that is where we go far. And that is how we are. We are humans, too. We too want to live like the rest of the world. We want to have our routines and continue them. We want a love which is not measured in square kilometres. We are a nation, not a mere piece of land.