A pauper on a searing street and a merchant in an AC-fitted upscale store bear a stark resemblance with each other these days.
The duo is defined by a screaming silence—an indiscernible cry in Kashmir’s echo-chamber—that hints at a post-haste in highlands.
This silence, some wandering souls say, stems from the solemn survival in times of panache and polemics.
Characters caught in this conditioning convey the concern with collective consonance. Even gloss and gallery, they assert, aren’t uplifting a strange cloak of stillness over streets.
In a forlorn corner of the city, there sits an old woman holding a green polythene bag in hand. She retreats to her zone once dusk ends her day of labour. With wary eyes, she inspects her surroundings before opening the knot. What comes out are the pleated and soiled currency notes. And thus begins the daily count down and a deep sigh.
She conveys her struggle through her heavy eyes—without speaking a word. Such silent conversations drive the growing destitute in the city filled with urban poor, migrant mendicants and causative castaways.
In the same city where the steam of survival is getting hot, some trendy youngsters are learning the art of silence. Their poses, and the moves they make, are fashioning an effervescing expression of life.
One drops his head down and captures his moment of silence. The new profile is ready to go online now. Quietude, it seems, is quite chic these days.
Some are guarding their calmness like a religious duty. The man slumbering here has no desire to wake up to a ‘smart’ reality. He can sleep serenely—because he has long stopped making sense of anything.
The vale’s depth of silence is quite detailed on fresh-faces. Far from the shrill surrounding him, the boy waited patiently without minding the mindless rush for life. His tribe’s silence resonates in the valley where such buds were brought up with some battered realities.
Silence isn’t merely a sullen expression of life. It can be a sweet gesture, like this kid’s smiling act. Yet to learn the language of influence, she did express her silence with a smile before her guardian hushed her blabbering to groom her expression.
The seasoned souls have spent myriad summers surmising the state of affairs, but now they’re silent beyond their belief. The things aren’t the same anymore, they rue, as they play silent spectators on the streets full of stunts plunging them in quietude.
The scenes are no different on sidewalks where the struggle of the fittest is getting cutthroat. Those left out of the race still hope for some living which is hard to come by. But in this wait, the escalating silence of their stare is becoming a piercing look of life in the valley.
Those on wheels define a dogged drive in mountains. Moving in tandem and juggling for living, they create a specimen of speculations and leave behind a smokescreen of silence.