From that windowpane,the ailing mother of my friend grins as I open the front gate.’We will meet again on the eve of Eid,right here in the prison,’she has promised her son:the stone-pelter,the freedom fighter,the half-martyr,the one who says no to the idea of slavery.
On the gateway of the prison,soldiers have been grouped.Clean-shaven Udham,who is so noisy has been assigned to make searches.He screams so loud:
“Jaana hai ya nahin,apni pant jaldi khula chod do”
(If you have to meet the prisoner,loosen your pant quickly)
Then there is Paramveer,a bearded man with a king-size moustache.He registers names of visitors.He keeps you waiting for hours and does not want you to go inside with a pen which is for the friend who wants to write stories.Paramveer is a warrior.How can one fight him over this issue!How can one dare even!He is Paramveer-A warrior!
I understand my powerlessness.I do not want to do anything extraordinary except shedding oceans of tears.
Rehman welcomes us into the prison.He is moderately bearded.So merciful is Rehman that he on the very entrance of mother starts misbehaving with her.His concern is time that we are to take inside the prison.Mother is so surprised.She has yet to set her feet inside the jail premises.She has yet to see the face of her son,boys of whose age are busy playing football inside the Eidgah.
I tell her:“Mother,we have Section 354 of the IPC.”
“Beta,we are helpless.If we are going to complain outside,they are going to take revenge inside.”
She is so cautious.My God!So merciful.
I think in my head:
I am fed up with you
Are you unaware of the power of tears of a merciful ‘mother’?
Are you unaware of human values?
I do accept:I am irreligious
But I promise:I will never hurt anyone.Yes,anyone!
With so much of hatred around
I will still love
After a torturous experience,we are into the prison.
The son is so weak to walk.So weak!He does not demand anything from me except the pen which I had promised to bring him when we had previously met at the very place.
I have no answers for him.I weep and throw my hand on his left shoulder and rest my head against his right shoulder.I want to hide my tears.I want to hide my blood.I look into the eyes of friend.Deep down,his eyes speak volumes,books,bulks.He is like me in a way and wants to become a storyteller.He tells me about the book of Hosseini that I had gifted him on his birthday.Our times were beautiful then when we used to read stories in our garden under moonlit nights.
Mother is so hopeless and tired.But son tells her to take care of his academic certificates.He has hopes.Many of them!Tons!
When life calls for struggle
Hopes never cease to exist
On our return,mother is so relieved.She is so happy and I talk to her of the talent her son has nourished inside the prison walls.
In a way,I struggle to muddle through the situation.A violent struggle goes on inside my head.
I am so weak to walk.I do not want to.
My words may be of no wisdom
I may lack intellect
There is violence
It runs so deep
There is no space for tranquility
And I do feel at times
‘Violence has to be fought with violence’
‘Violence has to be fought with violence.’