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Ignoring Repercussions can be Painful

October 15, 2020 | Arshad Hussain

While I lie here in my grave and look at the sprawling beauty of the Valley of Kashmir I call home, I wonder what went wrong? How did I get here within a month of that fateful night of peacefully eating a sumptuous wazwan meal with my family to running for my life with the forces hot on my heels?

I was 17 and preparing for my board exams. It was a cold February night and I was called by my mother to come and join them for dinner. It was then that I first met my famous cousin who had joined the cause. We exchanged greetings and we all sat down for dinner. The air was thick with a mix of feelings. My father looked glum and distant. My mother was fussing about how he had lost weight and the colour of his cheeks and why he should take more servings. My sister was crimson and beaming while stealing glances from him. It was then I noticed what my four years elder brother was clinging to and was not ready to part with. It was an AK-47. With its barrel peeking out ever so little from his firan and adding bulk to his otherwise fragile frame.
“Is it uncomfortable?” I asked, before I could stop myself. And before I knew it, he took it off and handed it to me to see it for myself. I was scared and mesmerized at the same time. The cool of the metal against my skin felt strange. It stayed by my side for rest of the meal. I tried to give it back to him but he asked me to take care of it for the night and retired to my sister’s chamber because it was bigger.
I carried it to my room and my father saw me and gave a disapproving look and muttered a prayer. My mother was talking to herself fussing over how we need a bigger space and more utensils to entertain people if my sister had an alliance. She was already fifteen and ripe as an apple as my mother would often put it.
Alone in my room, I caught a glance of myself with the gun and couldn’t help but wonder if Shirin would get the same look on her face as my sister had, if she saw me holding it. The thought made my heart flutter. The next morning when I woke up I found my cousin had left in a hurry and I realized he had forgotten the AK.
The rest, I recall, is bit of a blur. It was after two days that I got a call from him that he will take it back in a few days, till then I’m to safeguard it. I remember taking pictures with it to show them to Shirin and showed it to a few of my friends too. The day I shared a picture with Shirin I got a call from some man who told me that my cousin cannot come and take it so I need to go and deliver it personally to him.
I don’t recall how I hid it in my firan but I do remember the weight of it. It felt strangely heavy, much more than the weight of the gun alone. I got a message from Shirin that she wanted to see me that evening and I was beyond excited, so I wanted to quickly deliver it and go back to her. I gave it to the man safely and asked where my cousin was? He gave a vague answer and asked me to deliver a phone to someone, to a place I knew well and thrust a bundle of crisp Indian currency for my service to the cause. I was surprised and curious. Immediately I had planned what I would do with the money and was on my way to deliver the phone. I would buy Shirin a pair of earrings she was eyeing on our school trip to Srinagar. Maybe I’d buy us a fancy dinner on our next date. Between all of this I got a call from my mother that I should not come home that night and I should perhaps stay at one of my aunt’s house for a few days as our house was marked by the forces because of my cousin’s stay the other night.
I called one of my friends to tell him about the money and he told me it was not much as he had received much more for pelting stones and asking people to join in. I felt a little cheated. Shirin sent me a picture of her in her new red firan, holding a kangri in her hands.
That night I called the man who had asked me to deliver the phone and asked him why he gave me less money while others got more for just throwing some pebbles. He was quiet for some time and then asked me to meet him at the barber’s shop the next day. I went there and he told me I could get much more if I threw ‘this’ instead of a pebble, and thrust in my hand what looked like a riveted dried pine cone at first and the very next second I froze. He took it back from me and said if you are scared then there’s no point. At that instant Shirin sent me another picture and by reflex I opened it in front of him and he asked me smiling if she’d be pleased to know that I am a coward. And the next minute I was in a car with this man, as we drove to a nearby camp and me throwing the grenade and driving away as fast as we could to a house down south and staying there for the night. I messaged Shirin later that night that I am sorry I couldn’t see her, and I would meet her soon.
I must have stayed there for a week or more and was getting restless to see Shirin. So, I got ready to go see her. I went to the guy and told him I am leaving, and he gave me a nod and handed me an AK-47 and two bundles of pink Indian rupees. He told me I had to keep the weapon on me all the time as I am now serving the cause and will get assignments at short notice.
I took the host’s car and drove to Shirin’s house. I met her and had delicious biryani her mom made. I shared the room with Shirin and her brother. I couldn’t sleep from excitement. Later that night I got a call from my employer and was asked to leave the house immediately and quietly move towards the hills where he’d meet me. We went further up and deeper into the woods. It was slippery, cold and wet. The snow was beginning to melt a little. We hid ourselves into a cave like nook. I was told we were being searched for and somebody had tipped that I was at Shirin’s house. We hid there for two nights. Without food or water. It was cold and I was hungry. I dreamt about my mom smiling at me while serving a hot meal; one I could not reach. I felt she was trying to wake me up but actually it was my partner who was shaking me vigorously to run as the forces had found where we were hiding and were heading up. I frantically ran out into the dark and heard a clap and a thud with a shooting pain in my chest. It made me recoil and before I could understand what was happening, I fell backward and saw the clear sky studded with stars.
I lay here now. Thirty days after that fateful night. Dead and reflecting.

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Ignoring Repercussions can be Painful

October 15, 2020 | Arshad Hussain

While I lie here in my grave and look at the sprawling beauty of the Valley of Kashmir I call home, I wonder what went wrong? How did I get here within a month of that fateful night of peacefully eating a sumptuous wazwan meal with my family to running for my life with the forces hot on my heels?

I was 17 and preparing for my board exams. It was a cold February night and I was called by my mother to come and join them for dinner. It was then that I first met my famous cousin who had joined the cause. We exchanged greetings and we all sat down for dinner. The air was thick with a mix of feelings. My father looked glum and distant. My mother was fussing about how he had lost weight and the colour of his cheeks and why he should take more servings. My sister was crimson and beaming while stealing glances from him. It was then I noticed what my four years elder brother was clinging to and was not ready to part with. It was an AK-47. With its barrel peeking out ever so little from his firan and adding bulk to his otherwise fragile frame.
“Is it uncomfortable?” I asked, before I could stop myself. And before I knew it, he took it off and handed it to me to see it for myself. I was scared and mesmerized at the same time. The cool of the metal against my skin felt strange. It stayed by my side for rest of the meal. I tried to give it back to him but he asked me to take care of it for the night and retired to my sister’s chamber because it was bigger.
I carried it to my room and my father saw me and gave a disapproving look and muttered a prayer. My mother was talking to herself fussing over how we need a bigger space and more utensils to entertain people if my sister had an alliance. She was already fifteen and ripe as an apple as my mother would often put it.
Alone in my room, I caught a glance of myself with the gun and couldn’t help but wonder if Shirin would get the same look on her face as my sister had, if she saw me holding it. The thought made my heart flutter. The next morning when I woke up I found my cousin had left in a hurry and I realized he had forgotten the AK.
The rest, I recall, is bit of a blur. It was after two days that I got a call from him that he will take it back in a few days, till then I’m to safeguard it. I remember taking pictures with it to show them to Shirin and showed it to a few of my friends too. The day I shared a picture with Shirin I got a call from some man who told me that my cousin cannot come and take it so I need to go and deliver it personally to him.
I don’t recall how I hid it in my firan but I do remember the weight of it. It felt strangely heavy, much more than the weight of the gun alone. I got a message from Shirin that she wanted to see me that evening and I was beyond excited, so I wanted to quickly deliver it and go back to her. I gave it to the man safely and asked where my cousin was? He gave a vague answer and asked me to deliver a phone to someone, to a place I knew well and thrust a bundle of crisp Indian currency for my service to the cause. I was surprised and curious. Immediately I had planned what I would do with the money and was on my way to deliver the phone. I would buy Shirin a pair of earrings she was eyeing on our school trip to Srinagar. Maybe I’d buy us a fancy dinner on our next date. Between all of this I got a call from my mother that I should not come home that night and I should perhaps stay at one of my aunt’s house for a few days as our house was marked by the forces because of my cousin’s stay the other night.
I called one of my friends to tell him about the money and he told me it was not much as he had received much more for pelting stones and asking people to join in. I felt a little cheated. Shirin sent me a picture of her in her new red firan, holding a kangri in her hands.
That night I called the man who had asked me to deliver the phone and asked him why he gave me less money while others got more for just throwing some pebbles. He was quiet for some time and then asked me to meet him at the barber’s shop the next day. I went there and he told me I could get much more if I threw ‘this’ instead of a pebble, and thrust in my hand what looked like a riveted dried pine cone at first and the very next second I froze. He took it back from me and said if you are scared then there’s no point. At that instant Shirin sent me another picture and by reflex I opened it in front of him and he asked me smiling if she’d be pleased to know that I am a coward. And the next minute I was in a car with this man, as we drove to a nearby camp and me throwing the grenade and driving away as fast as we could to a house down south and staying there for the night. I messaged Shirin later that night that I am sorry I couldn’t see her, and I would meet her soon.
I must have stayed there for a week or more and was getting restless to see Shirin. So, I got ready to go see her. I went to the guy and told him I am leaving, and he gave me a nod and handed me an AK-47 and two bundles of pink Indian rupees. He told me I had to keep the weapon on me all the time as I am now serving the cause and will get assignments at short notice.
I took the host’s car and drove to Shirin’s house. I met her and had delicious biryani her mom made. I shared the room with Shirin and her brother. I couldn’t sleep from excitement. Later that night I got a call from my employer and was asked to leave the house immediately and quietly move towards the hills where he’d meet me. We went further up and deeper into the woods. It was slippery, cold and wet. The snow was beginning to melt a little. We hid ourselves into a cave like nook. I was told we were being searched for and somebody had tipped that I was at Shirin’s house. We hid there for two nights. Without food or water. It was cold and I was hungry. I dreamt about my mom smiling at me while serving a hot meal; one I could not reach. I felt she was trying to wake me up but actually it was my partner who was shaking me vigorously to run as the forces had found where we were hiding and were heading up. I frantically ran out into the dark and heard a clap and a thud with a shooting pain in my chest. It made me recoil and before I could understand what was happening, I fell backward and saw the clear sky studded with stars.
I lay here now. Thirty days after that fateful night. Dead and reflecting.


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© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved. Quantum Technologies

Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.