A Death Trap Called Kashmir
My fingers ached to dial my landline. The constant dialling also led to frustration. Like a cardiograph, I could feel the formation of the crests and troughs, my heartbeat became inconsistent and I could notice that my heartbeat went up and down very fast as if it has gone for a marathon. Weird thoughts wrapped my mind and I became very restive. After the break of 20 minutes, I tried again to call home but the reply was ‘this number doesn’t exist.’ Same like Kashmir doesn’t exist now in the world.
I was really tired of this Indian drama, imprisoning people for 55 days at a stretch. My weekend went to dialling and redialling. I lost hope and thought to leave this quest of calling home. Nevertheless, my heart and mind went into confrontation a la India and Pakistan over Kashmir. At last, my heart won over my logical mind, same as Premier Imran Khan’s speech won the bruised hearts of besieged Kashmiris.
I followed the Scottish King, Robert Bruce’s story, try try again. So, I tried and tried, until the Indian telecom BSNL bowed before my will power and thus connected me to home.
The bell rang and rang.
Hello, who is this?
Me: For a while, I couldn’t speak as if something stuck in my throat. Before my father could drop the line, I spoke. It is me. Just wanna know how are you.
Father: He began to cough as if he had never coughed before. I could feel his eyes protruding while coughing. But he couldn’t speak and handed over the phone to my brother.
Brother: Hello, it is me, how are you?
Me: I am all right. Tell me about you. How are you? I heard curfew has been lifted. So try to consult Cardiologist for dad.
Brother: Don’t follow the rumour mill. We are under constant curfew and the situation is very chaotic here. Can you hear gunshots? Did you hear dad coughing? It is because there is a haze of smoke due to pepper gas and this has created another havoc for us. How can I consult a doctor when nothing works? Kashmir, at present, is a house of betrayal and terror.
After a while, my dad resumed his breath and I could visualize his plight due to the tear /pepper gas smoke since he has Asthma and cardiac problems.
Me: Dad are you alright? Please take care of yourself, don’t go out even for a walk, I suggested like a motivational Guru.
Dad: I don’t go out rather none goes out. We are in prison for 55 days. Life is like a hell to us all. I wanna breathe but can’t because the air is filled with this deadly smoke called pepper gas. I tell you something. You take care of yourself. I don’t know whether I shall be alive or dead. This gas is killing us slowly. Don’t stay silent. Tell our stories of misfortune to the silent world. Don’t worry about me but be a storyteller. We are in invisible chains, our voices muted and our lives have reached to a dead end. Even if we try to run, we can’t. A deadly fire is chasing us and when we try to escape it we have a vast ocean where we fear to be drowned. So we are in a death trap.
With these words, he sighed! As if he has lost trust in peace, in reconciliation, democratic West and especially on the defunct UN.
Before the call could be disconnected, he said, ‘only divine intervention’ can save because the whole world is dead and their criminal silence is deadly than this pepper gas/tear gas.
The call dropped. I felt so bad about the guardians of democracy and peace, custodians of the world and the helper of fragile and wispy. The so-called superpowers and economic giants to Kashmir are walking dead idols. Amidst this, I received a piece of news which read that seven people have been martyred by the so-called security forces. My beloved youth were gunned downed against stones. What a comparison. Kudos to the democratic world that we have two Palestines now. One in the Arabian peninsula and another in South Asia under the controls of two Uncle Sams. Sandwiching Kashmir and Palestine in a death trap and we have no escape from this death trap at this juncture.
Sumera B. Reshi