Last night my cousin called up. His voice was chocking and amidst sobs he said that his friend, a teenaged chap, Muddasir, is no more. The kid was shot dead, at point blank, for, perhaps being the median age of a protestor. In Kashmir if you are too young for a beard, you are a sitting duck. They can plunge a poisoned bayonet in you and ofcourse you can’t even squeak.
I’m told Muddasir, an avid footballer, couldn’t run when the hail of bullets came. You don’t have a centre-forward position in a street as narrow as a grid of a cross-word puzzle. His mother who had looked at him longingly only a moment earlier -- perhaps anxious about his career in the strife torn valley – was stupefied into a statue. Guess it is difficult for parents to outlive their children.
How many more parents must weep in the crook of their arms at night, silently? You cannot have glib commentators in TV studios spinning old wives tales for us. You cannot have ruthless men in Khaki, instructed to put the fear of government in people, stomping around looking for their next prey. Has it suddenly gotten so inhuman that nothing but the smell of blood satisfies their predatory instincts? Is democracy suspended, north of Pir Panchal?
A lot of flowers grow in countryside and towns of Kashmir this time of the year. So everytime a kid is killed in cold blood, friends do the most innocent thing one can ever imagine. They go about the neighborhood plucking away all the most beautiful roses and hyacinths and tulips and chrysanthemums and while their friend is being taken away for burial, they rush to the top floors of their homes and shower the body with flower petals. The coffin carries no less than a flower in it, plucked away, young.
Muddasir, our little town’s best footballer
And all other flowers that didn’t deserve to fade away. RIP