August 14, 2017

I woke up to the alarm on my sister’s phone, she had to go to school. “It’s off today”, I said to her in my sleep.
She asked again. “Since 3 rebels and 2 young boys were killed by Indian army yesterday so it is off today”, I answered.

I checked the time, it was 6. “Please go back to sleep”, I told her.

It was raining and when rain sings you the songs to sleep that is peaceful. A couple of hours later, I woke up; brushed my teeth and went for the breakfast.

****

TV in our kitchen is tuned to Geo news. Some songs are playing on it. National songs. Oh Yeah, it is 14th of August. Pakistan’s independence day. Congratulations Pakistan. I love this country. Every Kashmiri has a soft corner for Pakistan.

“They killed him with pellets, the young boy from Pulwama”, Dad told my mom. “They blocked the Internet again”, I told them.

“Since your schools are closed every other day, you should start studying on your own or your dad will take your classes”, my mom told my sister. My sister negotiated.

Morning conversations were going on. A norm in every Kashmiri household. Discussions about killings, Hartals, schools & universities shut off. Anger, pain, patience everything can be seen simultaneously.

Pakistan flag was being unfurled and the national anthem was being sung and I started getting emotional.

****

I was thinking about my own Kashmir, caught between India and Pakistan. Both achieved their freedom but divided us. Borders were created within our own nation.
Both Pakistanis and Indians have their own identities, their own anthems, flags. They are proud of their nations.
And us? Are we Indians? No! Are we Pakistanis? No!

Kashmiris? Yes, but we are going to be killed after being labelled with whatever names they want.

Both nations who were oppressed for 200 years should realise what freedom means. What it feels to be oppressed and killed in your own land. They claim the land but what about us, the people?

***
I was teary eyed, I thought about the day when we would celebrate our own Independence Day. Streets lightened up with our own flag. The feeling alone gave me goosebumps.

What would be that day like. Would I be able to witness that?
May be or may be not. But our next generations surely would.

I made a Dua.
“Oh lord of heavens! You don’t burden a soul more than it can’t bear. I know it is difficult today but you would ease our pain. You are the one we trust. We believe you. We have faith in you. You would help us out. Please help us. Give us strength, patience and faith.”

One thing I know that makes Kashmiris strong, that is our belief. A belief so strong that when a mother loses her son she doesn’t wail for her loss but feels proud that her son sacrificed his life for the nation.

I finished my breakfast and went to my room and opened my books. I have an exam on Saturday.

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