Blindness meets Fire

•August 24, 2008 • 6 Comments

The distant hour. A morning, a weeping afternoon or a silent night raped every hour that it never lived. All of them. The little twilight hours and a hope that rises again. The tempest. A thought, two thoughts, a third one…The apocalypse…

Of what little I comprehend, the discerning sight unravels a paradox. A farce which finds no equals. A dysfunctional ideology which forms the crumbling basis of “The Country of Blind”. An apparent phantasm, where the blind can see what they want and how they want it. Welcome to India-The “El-Dorado” or as they say “the mythical land of fabulous riches“. The riches of clandestine unity in diversity, the fake democracy infested with vermin like VHP, Bajrang Dal and other “nugatory” offshoots, the mirage called secularism and the hallucinations of nationalism.

The proverbial potrayal of this sham is the suppression of freedom….the freedom called paradise-Kashmir.

Kashmir….the tale of blood bath continues unabated. The tale that India enacts and re-enacts. We all live and die. But Kashmiris live, die and then rise again only to be carried through the pain of death again. A million souls lay shattered and wounded but that million becomes a miniscule when the tag is “A Kashmiri”. A Kashmiri who takes birth to be martyred and to be branded what apparently is a figment of hypercreative Indian thought-the terrorist. The holy mother lies in the wait of her only son and this wicked hope lingers on till the life and death become the same. The aging father needs a hand to walk a few more miles but the son faltered. He walked even lesser. The sister was stripped away of her sanctity a few hours or a few days or a few years ago in the era of “Apocalypse”. The young kid, the little brother still plays, the infinite void now his only friend.

But alas…”The Country of Blind”…the perpetually blind. The starry night makes no wonder for them. They want to paint it…all red… Ironically, they have no sight, no memory…

At the crossroads

•August 24, 2008 • 7 Comments

My journey from the innocent crawling toddler of 10th class, to the excited teenager of 11th class, who has just taken the first step but thinks she has mastered the art of running, to a still struggling and trembling youth of 12th class, I have finally reached the first milestone of my life. The point where I have to decide the path which I have to take in order to realise my dream.Yes, you guessed it right. It is the stage of my life in which not only me but my entire family, cousins, uncles, aunts, maamus and maamis and even the next door Aunty ji have jitters. It is the after +2 stage or in common language the so called “entrance”!

 
Confusion, depression, frustration, are just a few words to compliment it. It is the time when everyone has their eyes on you. Your teachers and parents have great expectations from you, they expect you to burn the midnight oil, work really hard and just prove yourself. All have their fingers crossed and what they want you to get is that great seat of “dactaree” or “inginering”  but in this plethora of expectations and pressure, the innocent child crosses his/her elastic limit and can breakdown at any time. The traditional essay “my aim in life” seems more difficult than the quantum mechanical model of atom or the Einstien’s equation. And if you think that this is all then the much hated question arrives next ”so beta what have u decided? Ab aagay kya karna hai” . I really don’t know guys what next. It is my sincere appeal to all the Uncles and Aunties out there not to ask this question in such a tone that it makes us cry out for help.

 

For the past 19 years I have been thinking of my ultimate profession, my greatest dream. Sometimes I wanted to be a pilot, then a teacher, I saw barkha dutt and thought of journalism, may be a social worker, as the hartals invaded the valley I stressed on being a politician making Kashmir liberal again, but what about a KAS officer that would be really cool, architect or a painter, MBBS craze is gone and engineers don’t have a job. Oh! leave everything I think it is best to just relax at your home and be a home maker!!

Huh.The more I think about it, the more I get confused. “Hazaaron khwahishein aisi ki har khwahish pe dum nikle” seems a perfect quote for me. Also, boredom has crept into our life now; tuitions and school-life has finished; not heard of my friends since ages; dinesh, pradeep and agarwal wont leave us. Some friends have gained a lot of weight due to over-eating while others have starved themselves. Due to last week’s hartals, whole of Kashmir was on boil. How can you study in such conditions, internet went berserk and we still had to complete the counselling formalities, admit cards didnt reach us as the Post-office was shut off, and all this made even me cry out the slogan ‘Hum kya chahtey azaadi’.

Well, well, well, after such a long list of complains and grumbling, a ray of hope still lives out there. The silver lining though thin still finds its way in the storm. The simple thing is that we are not the only ones in the entire world who are going through this confusing phase. Ask your brother or cousin and they will narrate their experiences, their journey through the rugged path of life. Ultimately everyone will come to the conclusion that whatever happens, its just for the best.

Digressing, I would also like to add that parents being the most important people in the life of their children need to show love and care for them. What they need most at this phase of life is just their support and belief in their dreams. they should be guided so that they may opt for the right choice. Teachers also play a vital role in moulding them. Proper counseling and few words of encouragement are enough to set them going and face the world boldly.

Even if you were not able to go through the great entrance exams like AIEEE, AMU, AIMS, COMIDK, JMU, IIT and all other ABCD’s, don’t lose your hope yet and have faith in yourself, these exams are not the ultimate tests to prove your worth, you are much more than all this. Isn’t it? MBBS and Engineering are not the only professions. There are tonnes of subjects of your interest calling you with open arms.

“Koshish kare insaan to kya nahi us ke bas main

Yeh hai kam himatti jo ki bebasee maloom hoti hai”

And all those who have not seen the bright sun over the last 6 months, do work hard but don’t miss to enjoy the ride. Take a break and meet your friends, spend some time with yourself, fiddle with those crayons which have been left untouched since your school days and color your imagination, speak to your elders and express your views but then do come back and continue your studies.

So all guys and gals out there, just work hard, dont think too much and then leave everything in Allah’s hand, for He is the most merciful. He will surely take care of all of us.

 
“Hai kahaan tamanna ka doosra qadam ya-rabb
Hum ne dasht-e-imkaan ko ek naqsh-e-paa paaya”

I don’t know where my next step of desire will take me to, but I must take another step for something beautiful has already been written in my destiny and I want to disclose it.

Best of luck to all.

(Deebha Mumtaz)

Away from Home

•August 20, 2008 • 1 Comment

Gazing out of the window of my bedroom I see an endless snake, illuminated with red and yellow lights waiting at the traffic signal. The light turns green. The snake starts crawling and while doing so the order is not disturbed. With my eyes fixed at the traffic light I travel through time and space only to find myself gazing at the traffic policeman, trying in vain to control the traffic that is zooming past him, not just from the four directions but at every possible angle. He finally manages to control it but the horns start blaring and the whole place is filled with commotion. We finally get a chance to come out of the jam and head to our rendezvous point. The names are of no consequence.

We are C1, C2, C3 and S. A and Z are yet to arrive. We take a seat on the first floor of this coffee house. The sign “Place under surveillance” grabs our attention and it follows a narration of a series of incidents that led to such a sign being put up there, followed by a lot more that has gripped our society. We laugh at old jokes; make new ones, S being the centre of our laughter frenzy. I sometimes think that we (C1, C2 and C3) are being unfair by dragging him into every joke. But then, we don’t even spare each other.

Z arrives followed by A, who doesn’t stay for long. We chat for a while, about the first get-together, the evening teas, the late dinners, mid night ice-creams, early morning movies and a lot more. I realized that this is probably the last time all of us are together. I looked at C1 and then C3 and their thoughts were no different than mine. Somebody cracked a joke and we all laughed. Sadness got lost in the laughter. I felt a little relieved.

Now we are heading home, listening to one of our favorite tracks and the ringing doorbell brings me back to present. It’s my apartment mate. “Dinner time”, he says. We go to the SUBWAY that is in the ground floor of the building we are staying in. Its 9 in the evening and the air is still burning hot. We rush inside and the cool air hit us on the face. For a moment it felt like I had opened the window of my room, back home, on a fine spring morning. Thoughts started flooding in again. My friend, D, has already arrived and we are running late for the early morning class. I grabbed my bag and rushed down the stairs. “I am leaving mom”, I shouted.

It has been a month since I have left. And I hope to return soon.

Ground Realities

•August 18, 2008 • 5 Comments

Ah! How far is perception away from truth.

Last week has been a homecoming of sorts. The only difference though is that the protests are peaceful and spontaneous. Get an idea from the headlines over the last few days.

Friday

Night protests are back in Srinagar

World wakes up to Kashmir crisis

Saturday

Shutdown, blackout in Valley

Green flags hoisted on Clock Tower

Sunday

LAKHS ASSEMBLE IN PAMPORE

No dearth of refreshments enroute Pampore

Fabric comes free for flags

For all those who still do not want to believe, they deserve the relentless agony of sordid channels like India TV and company. Let them listen to tales of utter nonsense. A glimmer of hope amidst this filth is NDTV and CNN IBN, which to some extent can hold their head high. That reminds me of the latest debate on ‘We The People’. Some brilliant bytes:

“For us the land deal is over, If you want it, touch me if you can”, Sajjad Lone reducing a Samiti’s leader to shame.

“I thank BJP because what Hurriyat could not do for last 10 years was achieved by BJP in a month, Revival of the Kashmiri sentiment.”, Shaukat Sheikh, Law Professor, Kashmir University.

“New Delhi likes to believe that they will sleep over the Kashmir problem and it will get solved magically”, Omar Abdullah.

“You have a problem, you have a severe identity crisis and that is why you are probably shouting over nothing”, Sajjad Lone making a mockery of the Jammu protests.

“Firing is the last resort, the Indian army does not seem to have water canons while dispersing protesters in Kashmir Valley. Even if you are forced to fire, fire in the air and if that fails, fire at the legs. The people who have died over the last 2-3 days have sustained bullet injuries in head, chest and shoulders”, Omar Abdullah stunning Indian politicians with bare facts.

Seeing the unity of thought of Kashmiris, other panelists were approriately stunned.

REVOLUTION

•August 12, 2008 • 6 Comments

‘Beneath this mask there is more than flesh… Beneath this mask there is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof.’

V for Vendetta

I tried my best not to involve myself in the quagmire, but patience has limits (for I am human). How long can you wait, not an eternity in all. What is the point in waiting for I have a duty. A duty towards motherland. An unsaid commitment. And those who resist against this will bite dust in this world or the other.

I begin by saying, Kashmir is special, not because it ought to enjoy special status, but it will bleed to rise. It will defy oppression to hoist the flag of grit.

The oppressor is a country which has all the time in the world to boast about its petty gold medal (for they had won none) but has no channel-space for the people it is buchering on the streets of Srinagar (Impartial Media-bloody farce). It is so weak a country that it needs 7 lakh troops to martial a territory, which it claims to be its integral part. What paradox. The worst part is that it makes itself to believe that the people of Kashmir would forget the brutal attrocities, custodial killings, inhumane interrogations and public humiliation.

Indian Security Forces, who are reffered to as dogs in Kashmir can exercise no control over the non-entities blocking the highway but can definitely shower bullets on unarmed people in broad day light. The numbers speak for themselves. A 30-40 day unrest in Jammu results in the death of 4 policemen and 5 civilians, while as a couple of days of genuine protest in the Kashmir Valley sees 20 people attaining matyrdom.

And as far as Amarnath Yatra is concerned over which Jammuites whimper, there has not been a single untoward instance involving a Yatri. And yet, label the revolution as being communal. Keep in mind that if Kashmiris want, they will not spare a single Yatri, but we are not mass murderers like Indian authorites.

The only thing India or its citizens can do other than killing Kashmiris, is having an economic blockade, holding Kashmiris to ransom. It is good that India is taking away what little dependence we had on them. Let us die but we will not beg. We will excercise our freedom of choice of trading outside. Apparently India doesnt want that as well, what it only wants is to kill and cripple Kashmiris.

And finally, I salute all those Kashmiris who have laid down their lives for the elusive freedom. Your sacrifices will not go waste, in this lifetime or the other. Nasrun Minnallahi Wa Fathan Qareeb.

Children of Heaven – Film Review

•July 28, 2008 • 6 Comments

I had only heard about Iranian films being original and simplistic. ‘Children of Heaven’ made me believe it. This unassuming movie makes you realise that cinema is all about telling stories with sincerity and unfeigned thought.

As the tagline ‘A little secret…Their biggest adventure’ suggests, the film captures the relationship of a brother (Ali) and sister (Zahra) and their endeavor over a lost pair of shoes. This struggle of sorts brings out their poverty of choice and purity of love.

Scenes where Ali and Zahra converse in verbatim or otherwise are the real highlights of the movie. Ali and Zahra exchanging notes, Ali gifting away his gift to Zahra, Ali kindling hope in Zahra of getting shoes and Zahra’s gaze at Ali’s feet in the climax are stirringly emotive. Infact you cant stop yourself from hitting remembrance of innocent childhood.

The movie reaches a zenith in the penultimate sequence of foot race where Ali is natural to the hilt. Check out his unpretentious expressions, they have never been captured before on celluloid. Well if I am not deducing too much, I would like to believe that Aamir might have had a sighting of this movie while making ‘Taare Zameen Par’. Even if what I am suggesting is true, it would be a case of genuine inspiration. [Drawing competition and Foot race dont compare well]

As fate would have it, ‘Children of Heaven’ lost out to the Italian film, ‘Life is Beautiful’ in Best Foreign Film Category of Oscars in 1998. What competition. What cinema.

Nazm-e-Shaam

•July 4, 2008 • 1 Comment

The view is from a solitary hut in Yusmarg. The place silently breathes tranquility. That is ample inspiration for penning poems. This one is about experiencing nightfall with the beloved. It is purely imaginative and was envisaged by me, Muneem and Nadeem.

Nazm-e-Shaam

Shaam se aaj rubaru, Hum hogaye

Waqt to thamta naheen, Ae chand tu thahar

Jugnu bhi aane lage, Saraa shabnam huwi

Anjuman taaron ki, sajne lagee

Ik hirs jagee, dil main kaheen

Kaise kahoon tumse, Shreen-rukh saamne

Hairaan hoon main, Khamosh hoon

Shaam-e-Shameem main khoya hoon

Khaalis dil hai mera, Mumkin to zaraa

Baithe raho saamne, Nazm abhi zaahir nahin