New Delhi, August 9, 2019: I have just boarded the flight to Srinagar. The only way I could find to reach my parents. I haven’t been able to contact them since past four days.
This is the story of every Kashmiri living away from the valley –a valley writhing under the weight of brute force.
Once I reach there, I’ll be incommunicado. No phones, no internet, not even landlines. This air journey feels like one down an abyss. I’ll give an update when it’s possible to. I don’t have the faintest idea when that will be possible. I am surrounded by numb Kashmiris.
There is so little I know about my people there. Yet I know so much. My mother’s eyes would be red by now — from hours of crying and lack of sleep. My father would be weaker than before. They’ll hug me and cry, I know, even when I don’t know how I’ll reach home.
I feel like a messenger with a great burden, carrying a dozen voice messages of my friends, cousins and neighbors, who recorded them for their families. I made a promise to them, that I’ll deliver the messages to their families.
Every other Kashmiri I met at the airport, flight and I’ll meet in my homeland would be teary eyed. I know my street will be marked by gun-toting armymen. I can already feel how their stares would make me feel.
Friend, the last four days have been very tough. While I was dealing with stress and anxiety, most of you have been a great support. I’ll be in debt to those who reached out to me in every small and beautiful way, texting, calling, sending kind words, and through so many other gestures.
I am also amazed by the depravity with which some people have unmasked themselves. Every person I earlier gave the benefit of doubt, was indeed a bigot, or a hound cheering for bloodbath. Don’t blame you. You’ll never know how it feels until it’s one of your own.
I don’t know what the future holds for us Kashmiris. But I know, that whatever has happened, and whatever worse can, will only bring us closer.
A few minutes more. See you home.