Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I’m taking an unexpected off. I’m visiting Kashmir. At best of the times, the valley has been a glorified glade on earth. It goes on with many banal euphemisms -- Paradise on earth, India’s little heaven, Land of endless meadows et al. The place is undeniably beautiful. The climate is fantastic, unlike most of India. Gazelles hop in open wilderness. Ducks glide. Silvery mountains dot the landscape and colorful water birds flap their wings on crimson evenings. Tweedle-tweedle the birds chirp. Alas that is where it all ends!

The place has another ugly facet. It is run-over by a ruthless lot who kill at will. Bombs go off in crowded markets. Bullets start a macabre dance – unexpectedly -- on tranquil afternoons. You are frisked and frisked till you go red in your neck and bitter in the eye. It is all standard procedure. It is a war-zone. A low-intensity conflict has been going on in Kashmir for 17 long years now. The majestic Dal may gleam with its gold fish and sequined Houseboats but the murky pale of death always looms large.

I think I’ve drifted here. It always happens to me. I am taking an unscheduled off and going to Kashmir because my kid-sister has hurt herself. Poor gal went to buy an innocent pack of tang juice for herself, forgetting for a silly second, that she is walking in war-zone. Kaboom, the bomb went off. Sending the fruit-vendor, opposite side of the road, flying a metre high in the sky. Next moment, another soul exited the phantom-vale. Dead. Such inexpensive is human life in our little paradise. Thirty others got injured. My sis got a splinter or two in her leg. She fell on ground, her juice tightly clutched in her hand. Live people were on fire, children bleeding, women wailing, many shivering. What can one say: A slice of the Armageddon, only this pain is too real to be passed over.

Thank heavens, she is doing fine now. Most people live perpetually under a dun shadow of death in Kashmir. It all boils down to a little game of probability. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I reckon, there is only one reality about war: People die. Incidentally I just finished reading Gen Musharraf’s ‘In the Line of Fire’. The guy appears chivalrous most of the time in his book, yet the only time he seems to loose composure is when he describes a bomb that went off near him. A top-rung commando, a General, normally used to booms and wars, visibly perplexed. Imagine the plight of ordinary people used to only Tweedle-tweedle.

Harold Pinter, last year's Nobel Prize winner for literature puts it rather succinctly and simply:

The bombs go off
The legs go off
The heads go off

The arms go off
The feet go off
The light goes out

The heads go off
The legs go off
The lust is up

The dead are dirt
The lights go out
The dead are dust

A man bows down before another man
And sucks his lust

Hope peace kisses the water birds again.



Tanya H, New Delhi said...

thats touching. Hope ur sister gets well soon. violence is a bad thing, yet we see only violence all across the world.

Tanya H

Hardeep, Chandigarh said...

I think we need more sameers to write so boldly against such extreme acts. You are so politically correct. And seem to put the message across.

Harry, Chnd'garh

Nick, Mass, US said...

That is sad. I am shocked. How can people continue to live in such scary conditions. My heart goes out to all of them in Kashmir and other strife zones in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

sad and beautiful

yana, Nasik said...

Wars are bad sam. I wish your little sister good health.

yana, Nasik

gauri_2@htcity.com said...

I am touched in the heart. Take care sam and my prayers are with u.


Rajat Kapoor, 28, Mumbai said...

Ah, the misery of war. You right sameer, only reality about war is death and destruction. India is plagued by the modern curse

Paul, Bournemouth, United Kingdom said...

telling account.

nice blog