There is some strange congruity between my home coming and the conflict-barometer of Kashmir. Whatever it is, sneers at me! Wherever in the world I come from, someone never flunks to up the ante here. Quite dutifully. The pot keeps boiling. A crippling strike greeted me a day after I landed, followed by a gun-battle, some distance away from home. Clearly it is not over yet, whatever it is: valor, frenzy or our infelicity.
I prattled with the peace emissaries on my flight to Kashmir. In clipped English I understood thus: the pavement to Shangri La is cobbled with uneven stones. Brimstone, if you may. Radha Kumar confided that the peace train is on track but the signals are one too many. Dilip Padgoankar said his nephew studied music in Prague and lives in Dubai now. Perhaps I should listen to a song or two once I am back later this week.
I don’t know if strikes are going to lead us to the Promised Land. Kashmir observers say that symbolism of the self-imposed clamp-down is huge. There is little else we can do to tell the bully that we have forgotten nothing and the self-inflicted wounds continue to fester as the winter tide comes to an end. Many feel that Geelani – the old man with a natural knack of displeasing the Abdullahs in Kashmir -- may be stretching it a little too thin. The jury is still out on us.
You can smell the first spring blossom in Srinagar. Soon, and I am echoing my own thought, Hyacinths, blue and beautiful, shall sprout. Low rumble may follow angry thunderclaps. Clouds shaped like abandoned honeycombs will freckle the skies over Dal. April will slowly meld into May and happy songs will reverberate in the chocolate color meadows of the vale, lush and lithesome. Then June will come.
Since June is a troublesome epoch, I thought March would be a good bet. Already the itinerary of day one has gone haywire. So I shall have to redo the maths quickly and drop some occasions from the scheduler to be able to wrap it up in the next few days.
With reverence due to the revolution, I hope peace holds till atleast the emissaries of peace are around. And till I am able to drink some Kehwa in peace without a rusty bullet ricocheting in my backyard.