31st of December 1990
Her soft cries are turning into loud screams. Her father tells her mother, “Wat yi bistar” (put the sleeping mattress away). Her mother holds her head, “Khuday kare sahal” (God will make it easy for you, the father is deeply engrossed in reciting from the Quran. Her other cousins come in with their parents. Continue reading “Born in a curfew, in a snowstorm”
Faris Meer wakes up to the sudden rush of the morning sunlight. Winters in Kashmir are depressing. But at least in summer, the sunlight offers occasional distraction, like Prozac or curfews with everyday death count. Meer’s attempts to snooze, are put to defeat by his mother’s calls to come for breakfast. He throws his smelly blanket off, the iodine off his bandages had smeared it. He looks up at the roof of his room, contemplating about his plans for the day. These days, he is contemplating a lot about his plans for the day. You see, he is blinded in his right eye. Continue reading “Zē Lačh tē Zē Aēčh”
“I don’t know how to do this.”
Nobody should know how to do this.
— At a gathering for a friend who passed away.
Continue reading “Grief”
Over the many decades, many non-Kashmiris who have zero Kashmiri experience, have written songs, novels, articles and even books. Most of this literature and art, turns out to be culturally appropriating Kashmiris, and their culture of resistance.
After careful research, and consistent trolling, here are few things you must consider before writing about Kashmir or its people. Continue reading “How to write Kashmir”
There’s this story of my grandfather’s workshop that Baba would recall often.
My grandfather’s workshop was located in Jabgaripur, a small mohalla in the maze of Nowhatta lanes and alleys. Often this woodcarving workshop colleagues (czatboaj) would go to the Mughal gardens. Led by the woste (the chief) that was my grandfather or Abba as my father would call him, they would take a break from the noise of theaps (wood hammer) and the tools that would carve paisleys and chinars on the hard surface of the walnut wood.
My grandfather was best friends with Ghulam Ahmed Sofi, the famed Kashmiri classical singer, who also happened to be wood-carving artisan. On occasions, the popular demand of the chatbojs would be to ask Am Soof as he was lovingly called, to sing a sufiyaan qalaam whenever he would come visit.
So this time, the workshop had decided to go to Shalimar. Like the tradition is with the Kashmiri picnics, the food is the heart of all matter. It’s not hanging out, if there’s no food, it holds true to this day.
Of Abba’s colleagues, his immediate woste was Amme Qaez, Ghulam Ahmad Qazi who is the father of a famous teacher, Shafi Qaez in Nowshera.
As they were going to the Shalimar wearing the Keashur dastar, looking like Budshah’s nobles, Amme Qaez on his way to the Shalimar, lost money from his pocket. Apparently his pyjamas (yazaar) had a hole, and the money had found an escape and fallen somewhere. In those days, the rupee was valued a lot.
One of the reasons was that Kashmris were generally poor, another being that Indian state that governs our economy wasn’t a free market yet.
So for Amme Qaez, the happy day to escape the noise of the karkhaane. To smoke the Hubble-bubble while listening to Amme Suufe, turned out to be a disaster. One of his mates, asked the grumpy Qaez sb, while they were inside the Shalimar, how he was feeling in the lush and magnificent gardens of the Shalimar
” basaan tchum soari duniya dazaan”(the world seems to be on fire for me)
I was thinking about this story the other night. That how something you hold dear, can mean so much. If the heart is happy, everything around us has a meaning. Without the happiness of the heart, the world just seems like a lifeless post-card.
Continue reading “Amme Qeaz yeli ruush.”