(Ms. Monisa Qadri was born and raised in Srinagar. She has been a Mallinson Girl and studied bio-chemistry at the Women's College, Srinagar. She has studied mass communications and journalism from Kashmir University, and works in the Corporate Communications and Public Relations Department of the J&K Bank. She writes as a freelancer.)
I just heard about a baby, who could not live for long. Not only because the Creator sent him with fewer breaths, but we gave him lesser glimpses of life. She was in need of something manmade - a ventilator. And since this part of the world is deprived of things; she was deprived of life. Our hospitals have few, but all occupied. Only the ‘lucky blessed souls’ get a chance to breathe. She could not. Perhaps, she was luckier to fly away from here into the heavens, when angels soothe and caress her with the purest of love and warmth.
We may reach anywhere, but a small reality somewhere, somehow makes us realize who and what we basically are - Kashmiris. Survival becomes so difficult despite being alive, when you only exist as another piece of non-living entity, deprived of life. Living may be a pipedream, but perishing is not. Our life so cheap that we simply have to encounter petty options to die? Die and go on dying. It appears that we have mastered the art of finding unique ways and means of helping this world get rid of us. We will never have a bigger reason to live, to contribute and to mark our presence on this stage of life?
After all, born on the streets, on the ‘Curfewed nights’ and days, deprived of the genuine water to quench our thirst for sustenance, we are. All our lives we try and struggle to walk on the decayed streets and roads, leading to nowhere. Each grain of rice has us begging outside the doors. Each drop of oil sees our lamps die a thousand times before it moistens its wink. Our life continues. We exist, we go on existing.
The darkness of the preparation nights engulfs even the brightest of the minds, who even lose the spark of their eyes and minds to the struggle with the bulb to see it lit sometime, someday by some divine blessing. And still our poor souls shall travel together, not towards eternity but to some worldly destination, in a sick container moving on some holy wheels. It goes on getting filled until we choke, until our spirits suffocate. We ride rather we are taken for a ride, for which we even pay. Do we deserve it all? Or do we think we deserve it all?
Every day we have to prove to some stranger who we are. Our identity has to be identified. It seems, perhaps, we don’t even know it ourselves. Had it been, we wouldn’t be carrying a tag on our foreheads on this soil, where we were born and we wouldn’t be ‘labeled’ outside, where we were not. We continue to instill enthusiasm into our work, but there is no one there, in front of us, hiring the hands and minds, offering a single opportunity. There is nothing like an ‘Opportunity’, it is only a mirage for our degrees. The youth, who have been thinking of, ‘Miles to go before I sleep’, are thrown into the dungeon of despair and depression forever, until they find a way to die.
We can’t breathe in the air, which flows from the windows of the heaven into our lands, over the face of Dal and Lidder. We can’t eat the fruits on the branches of the trees, which bow down to us, offering their bloom with the greatest affection. I presume, the fruits are not; the life is forbidden. We can’t drink in the streams, coming from the lap of the sky, flowing down the shoulders of the mighty mountains and into the heart of the earth. We cannot. We cannot. We simply cannot.
But we will of course do something. We will die! Die, in the shadow of books which taught us the letters but not the livelihood, in the hands of our ‘saviours’; of the trauma that we faced after someone close was buried in some unidentified grave somewhere, for one stone, under the burden of our own dreams and hopes.