She ached over the summer, her voice lingering with desperation, asking me in a languid note,” When are we going to defeat ‘The Stone Age’?”
I became her militant poet, alchemizing my words into verses, imitating my favourite poets. My voice sprung with hope, retorting back in a militant voice:
When the times are black and the people tire
When the days are morbid and the people tire
When the chains get heavy and the people tire
When the power structure gets over one’s head and the people tire
When the storm is over the head and the people tire
When the people are tired, they rise
When they rise, they croon the songs of freedom
When they rise, the celebration of freedom is nigh
Just another summer, in this inhuman world- as we made our way to the busy autumn- we drew the certain:
The graveyards filled with the nameless, young men and children, those eyes of stones blinding the young men of their vision, the passion of our mothers reverberating the streets with the calls for freedom and what not.
“What else did it take people to bring about revolution?” she asked in a tone of overwhelming contradictions.
It felt to me like I was short of words, having no real face to face the reality before me. I wanted to gather my response, put into words my real state of facts and let her know that I had no hope of making her understand. I responded tenderly, “It takes character to bring about revolution.”
“What if they break our character too, like they broke our will?”
“Beloved Kashmir, character is not broken. It’s not to be crucified. The character is our identity. No matter what they do, they can’t break our identity. It will not be broken by blinding our youth. No matter how heavy the chains are and how long the walls of prisons are, we will write our identity with the blood of our hearts. In the prevalence of enormity, your character radiates. It burns with an undying passion.”
“But why did Shabir, the lecturer, have to die?”
“They were dearest to God and died defenceless. When desperation burns, look up into the sky, the stars there are our defenceless youth. They shine there with the brightest of hopes for us.”
“Was Yasmeen, the young girl, dearest to God too?”
“Indeed, our young women will show us light to the truth. They are the dearest children of God and are conspiring to find a better future for our homeland. They are the pictures of our resilience and epitomes of a truth that the world is blind to see.”
“But I keep thinking of a little boy with blinded eyes who has so much potential to be an Olympic shooter. Tell me, for God’s sake, is he the child of a different god. So many like him, I see every day, dying thousand times a day, were they children of a different god? Why did not God love them and take them to his own kingdom?”
I stayed silent, gentle at my own place, searching for words in the sky. The sky deepened leaving me sighing with a lonely sort of feeling. Again and again I begged for answers but there was none.