In Depth

That summer when a siege was laid on all lovers

Deserted view of Lal chowk area in Srinagar on 28th August 2019. [FPK Photo/Vikar Syed.]

‘My phone reminds me of photos clicked in August 2019 now. I look at myself in the photos and feel like a madwoman…’

Your exasperation leaves in sobs, as I seek violation of your silences with me on the phone, when I try hard to make sense of the breath that leaves your lips and reaches my heart in digital waves, after months of network lockdown.

I tell you always, of my disgust with everything digital and too distant, like we are—struggling to best express and understand what still goes wrong, if no one cheats on the other.

Our plight in love is so pure, innocent and scary like our love is in the valley. We don’t fight what others fight in love. We fight a hiatus, which makes our love grow like a cancer, that everyone wants to throw out of our chests, as every malignant tumour is thrown out of bodies.

But what’s this habit of glorifying everything which is painful? I to you, and you to me.

We long to keep our prescriptions for pain by the bedside, and never let the diseases die. We take the medicines of memory, but prolong the pain.

I lost the journal, in which you wrote of how you cured the pain of memory, when in August 2019, a siege was laid on all lovers.

You see, we die in concentric circles, we died a little in history, we died a little in conflict, we died a little in caste and class, we are dying a little every day and yet hope for a union, peace in a place, to which there is no roadmap.

We try hard making sense of the dust settled on the footprints of old lovers decimated on the way.

Some lost senses, while in exile, trying to make sense of love trapped in the circle of history, some lost strength in the circle of conflict while some lost all meanings in the circle of life.

Incoherence has taken over. I tried to write my pain but it gobbled down the form. So fragments remain, of thoughts and speeches and conversations. All sentences, grammar, syntax—everything went incoherent like dreams.

Dreams are black flood waters, I see myself sailing on a boat with a small hole, shaped the map of Kashmir, Cashmere.

Cashmere reminds me of blackhole. What they must be doing to feed their families? It’s the 65th day, 66th perhaps, of complete silences inside the valley.

I lost the count on Eid when I missed the Eid-Namaz, when no one greeted Eid Mubarak. I waited to wish Eid Mubarak to my beloved.

I am forgetting what he looks like, what loving looked like. How did the love of a reason remain untouched by the silences?

Jiji had beaten her chest on Maamjan’s death and laid herself on his body. A flying bird fell dead near Alam Sahib shrine. Thousand knots of hope are knotted by the devotees on the iron grills of this shrine’s windows through which they see their emancipation.

Amaa who saw the bird falling, peeks in curfew from the window of her baithak into the compound of this shrine.

“This soil has turned crimson,” she says when newsmen reek of normalcy, tell of silences enforced, no wounds, no injuries, although I was injured.

You too are injured. Do you still manage to speak? I speak in fragments, like this. Do you understand the nature of this injury?

My phone reminds me of photos clicked in August 2019 now. I swiped the digital calendar of my phone to August 2019. I look at myself in the photos and feel like a madwoman counting the dead birds on ground.


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