It was cold and gloomy when I heard screams from outside. I tried to disregard the grieving, hoarse voice but owing to its dejected locution it subdued my senses. Someone was complaining about fate; the laments pierced my heart and I came out rushing.
Stepping out, I found myself witnessing a bizarre scene: both the sky and Earth were weeping breathlessly, the eyes of the sky had turned crimson and an ocean of tears was gushing out of Earth. Both were frozen in grief as both, like me, were looking for the source of these screams.
I walked forward a few steps following the deafening screams … there I found God’s best creation with envying beauty: brimming with colours and wildernesses; glistening lakes were her eyes, green-gold her hair, glaciers her teeth and red apples her cheeks. Simply put, she was paradisal from bottom to top. She was the one wailing her agony off, her eyes overflowing tears over the brims, flushing them on her bruised cheeks. But she could not wipe her petal-like cheeks. Her hands were braced.
Her condition made me agog to get acquainted with her. I wanted to know her and her pain. What had rotted her essence? Who was she? I sat beside her and asked.
She didn’t respond. Watching her closely I saw her body strewn with bruises, scars and deep gashes. I asked her again who she was. She abruptly answered sobbing in-between, “I am where life died decades ago … where the derelict dead lie on roads … I am where there are awaiting mothers, wailing sisters, craving wives and tortured fathers … I am where there are hungry infants, angry youngsters and bunkered playgrounds … I am an ill-fated mother … I am Kashmir.”
Taking a deep sigh, she continued, with her allegorical manner, that decades ago she was a splendour to see, countless treasures remained scattered around her. Her life was blissful. She lived happily with her children. She told me how a day came when a cruel dawn grew into her joys and how its thorny hands snatched everything from her … her richness, her joys, her treasures and even her sacredness. She was left with nothing. Chains were fastened to her ankles and her chirping was gagged. She was not allowed to walk on her own, restrictions were put on her expressions. Her parts were cut and presented as presents to strangers. She was sliced, oppressed and harassed.
She represented a blemished paradise where corpses were scattered carelessly. The beautiful gardens, which at times increased her charm, turned into graveyards. Her crutches (sons) were no more with her. She just found their epitaphs embellished with wreaths everywhere. Blood of her youngsters has altered her glaciers and now, the water is no more colorless as it used to be. Her greenery no more consoles the comfortless hearts of her children. The birds get no time from mourning to sing those spring songs.
She reminded me how the world turned deaf to her cries and grinned over her pain and how her passion was trampled under feet again and again. Hopeless, she was there to unburden her heart in front of the sky and Earth. She was blaming her creator how every word in her fate was written with tears.
Her dreadful story shook my existence leaving me disheartened and dejected. After assuming back my senses I found myself back at my place with a crumbled heart. But, I knew, at its core, hope still exists. Hope which mumbles, even if in a muffled voice, that the tyranny will end, the darkness of oppression will be removed, the padlocks of enslavement will be broken and the dawn of justice will rise.
Samreena Nazir is pursuing Masters in Journalism at Islamic University of Science and Technology. She has been writing for Kashmir Life since 2017.