The air coming through my window is heavy with the grief and passion that we carry in our hearts. I can’t clearly hear the voices. But the distant vociferous slogans seem like a forgotten lullaby. I quickly realize what is happening near my home in Kashmir’s Old City.
I open the window slightly to hear the sloganeering clearly, but all I hear is random word doused in cacophony.
Moments ago everything was caged and still.
It was an election day. There was enforced peace — with brief intermittent clashes. I was working on my story when I got a text, from a friend, to confirm about the situation in Nawa Kadal – which is a neighbouring locality of my Safa Kadal residence.
I call a friend in Nawa Kadal to know about the situation. “A boy is critically injured,” he says. I confirm about stone hurling in the area. “No, stone hurling but the area was tense,” he says.
I drop the phone and begin to pray.
Fear and restlessness begin to mount in my heart. There is this pain we all share in Kashmir. We have grown up seeing blood: we have seen mothers and sisters helplessly seething in pain— of losing their loved ones to a random bullet.
I don’t want another mother being pushed to a lifetime hankering, not any young lad to fall prey of insatiable hunger of an oppressor‘s weapon.
No, Allah, please save this guy – I began to repeat like in a Zikr.
As I try to get more details about the incident, Saif, my younger brother, comes running. He is panting. “Nawa Kadal ka ladka shaheed huva hai (The boy from Nawa Kadal has been martyred.).” I read it on internet as well but didn’t believe. I told him not to rely on ‘rumours’ – like I always tell him.
But he is right. A young, unarmed, innocent guy – who after day’s caging would have left home – has been killed.
The guns devoured one more youth.
My restlessness grows all the more strong, tears begin to trickle profusely. I didn’t know the slain youth, Bashir Ahmad, personally but there is something we share – our identity of being Kaeshur, our oneness of growing amidst bullets.
I don’t know his mother but she was taking rounds to my mind. It happened again and will happen again – my heart said to me.
The voices again pierce my window. It is Bashir’s funeral which is passing through the street – a few metres away from my home.
I lament on my inadequacies of not being able to join the funeral. I take pride in being born as a girl but on instances like this I regret being one; regret for not joining my brethren to fight the oppression.
I hurl all the wrong words I know at the killer. I write and write; my words try to absorb my pain but it does not help. My words which are my greatest support cease to give a vent to the anger pent up in my mind and heart.
Someday, somewhere, maybe I can blow out all the frustration which I am carrying with me since I was born. Till then— I write; I write the torment; I write the blood; I write the story of our martyred young; I write you Kashmir.
(Lubna Reshi is a journalist. She is a Safa Kadal resident and is pursuing MPhill from the University of Kashmir. She is also the editor of www.hervoice.co. She tweets @_LubnaReshi)