A Call from the Voiceless City
As usual, I woke up in the morning with a broken heart and swallowed eyes. I don’t enjoy my days since I fell victim to Indian coercion and deceit. But I have to earn bread and butter or I can say to gather food like a hunter in a faraway wood. Every morning, I am more in pain than at ease, unable to reconcile that I am under the thumb of India, under 800,000 occupational forces who have been stationed in Kashmir to kill us, maim us, rape us and humiliate us every day, every minute and every second. Besides, my heart isn’t here with me. My heart is with my people. Even though I am away, I can feel the soreness of every wound, restless of every mother, concern for every sister and fear of every brother.
I have and I can feel the utter hopelessness of my people. I know what my paradise looks like. I know the hustle-bustle of lane in Srinagar on Eid and now its deafening silence. I can smell a strange stink in my air, yet I have to keep going, stay alive in order to fight back.
I always put a smile on my face just to make sure none can peep in my heart and have a glimpse of it. It is difficult to reconcile that your sovereignty is in tatters. It is hard to accept that you are under the control of colonial power. It is callous to make peace with your warlord. It is very unkind even to think that the world’s largest democracy trampled your freedom and threw you in the stone age by controlling all the means of modern-day communication. It is hard to befriend your enemy.
Throughout the day, my heart goes out and out for the people impounded with deceit. I keep on thinking are they dead or alive, I don’t know comes an answer within. My mind is always a pessimist but my heart keeps me alive. It reassures to me that ‘this shall pass’ and all is going to be alright.
This morning I was loss while working on my official newsletter when my phone rang. I stood like a stone looking at my phone not believing the number is from my beloved Kashmir. Like an immovable object, like a dead rock, like a worthless machine and like a memorable photograph, I stared at the number, completely bewildered by the numbers, then with an adrenal rush I came into sense, picked up the call. My heart was thumping as if I knew there is someone my own calling from Kashmir.
Phone: Hi, this is errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
The phone dropped. I tried again and again but no luck. I got disappointed. My heart went back to my memories. I didn’t lose hope, I kept trying the number but no contact. This added to my frustration. I then went back to work.
After half an hour, my phone rang with the same number. I picked up the called.
Me: Hello, please tell me who is on the line.
Phone: I am X, your brother.
Me: I couldn’t speak, but I rushed to ask how are all of you?
Phone: We are alright, phones aren’t working, life is dead here and I am calling from the police station. Don’t worry I shall try to call you again in the coming week. But I can’t talk much right now as many people are cued to call their loved ones. With this, the line dropped.
I burst into tears, unable to control my emotions but equally content that I could hear the voice of my brother. Ah! There was long and a deep sigh. As if someone removed a mountain from my heart. As if somebody dragged me out of my grave as if someone offered me ice-cold water in a dessert. I felt relaxed and sleepy. I just wanted to take the day off and sleep the long sleep ever. At this moment, I just wanted to forget everything and recall happiest moments in my beloved Kashmir. My face lit up and I went to work as usual with a lighter heart with a hope that all will be well in the voiceless city –called Srinagar.
Sumera B. Reshi