This Hope is hopeless

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Bilal Handoo

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He celebrated like a Brazilian soccer fan over ‘their victory over them’. But more than one party’s win, he cherished the loss of other—the one, that incarcerated him for reacting to orchestrated state of affairs. Now the change of guard has brought a hope for the young fellow.

Last month while casting his vote, he poured his heart out: “I want to topple the regime with my vote!” Now, that is certainly some confidence, dude. But he has no party affiliations. He is a commoner. He wanted to use his vote to stop paying attendance at nearby police station. Whenever they sniff law and order problem, they buzz him up—directing him to report there.

He is perhaps 21-year-old, who dress chic outfits and sport cropped, but stylish hair. But he is no drug-addict. At college, his teachers tell him: “you are way ahead of your years.” He once wrote in Sociology paper—when asked to define Marxist: “Marxist is but a big social crap that drives orgasm by calling religion: opium for masses. Grow up, social weirdo. God’s existence and His order don’t need dressing room fantasies of a mad socialist!”

But that day when streets had worn deserted look, he came out and voted with a hopeful outlook. He doesn’t throw those stones anymore, like he did in 2010. He already paid the price. They confined him for two years—but even then, he couldn’t end a cycle of suspicion for himself. He wants to move on. That’s why, he has a hope—that regime change might emancipate him from their clutches.

But he isn’t lone soul, wandering for hope. One man’s exit and another’s entry isn’t her hope. Her hope is different. She is hoping for reunion. She is a mother. But she is no ordinary. Her son is not showing up since that damned day of January 1998. He was a baker. He has four sisters. They took him away—and since then, those four sisters and that aged mother are craving for his company. 16 years of his disappearance have weathered them down. But they are still exhibiting hope by turning up for the gathering that seek whereabouts of their disappeared ones every month in Srinagar. But their hope only lingers on.

And in those narrow lanes of Habba Kadal, a family has been harbouring hope for last half a decade. Being mother of that mysteriously missing boy—Mehran, is no publicity stunt. It is akin to curse yourself. His mother who looks aged is only in her thirties. Growing old is not always a license to sit on wisdom chair. Ask her, and she will tell you: it surges a sense of longing for some precious loss. But what is with the melancholy?—It seems to have a spacious room for hope, to hit the old times, once again.

His mother has a hope—that is why perhaps, she has kept everything intact: his scribbled notebooks, half-chewed pencil and that oceanic love of mother. This hope is, undoubtedly, her catharsis.

But it is equally farce for somebody like a 45-year-old lady from Batamaloo. Her world must have crushed hard on ground when they silenced her groom six months after her marriage. And since then, she is hopeful to punish the killers—who have a license to decimate dreams. But 21 years have passed while chasing that evasive justice. They made her cry countless times all these years. They broke her heart, again and again. But she never dropped her chips.

She adhered to the cause amid altered moods and growing indifference around her. But even then, she has a hope—that one day, she will catch hold of justice. By stalling that justice, they have already devoured her youth. She said a big “no”—when asked to restart her life. Such is her hope. But her unending battle for justice—in and outside courtrooms, has reduced her health into a house of disorder. But for the mother of a grown up son, the journey from a newly-wed bride to a middle-aged lady hasn’t squeezed space for her hope, her survival.

And then, we heard that roaring voice when elections were round the corner in 2008. A young scion of the powerful clan roared like a tiger in their temple of law that day. He hit them hard—akin to proverbial: left, right and centre. And in a jiffy, miffed youth of the land hoped—that this young man has been cut from a different fabric, unlike what attired his tribe. He became their hope, their saviour…

But once he wore that crown of authority, he terminated both: hope as well as hopeful! And then, cage never felt as dreadful as that ‘glimmer of hope’ made it. He confined lives, and made it sure—to maintain a free run of red. And then, he raised hopes by offering an insulting bouquet of menial tasks to end mounting miseries of the young. His oratory, they now believe, is as hollow as the hope, he offered, at the first place.

Now, they call him: a detached czar, who rotted their hopes and piled up peril for himself. That bloody ‘120 summer figure’ has now cost him dear. And that covert nod to satisfy their ego than conscience—has finally hit him hard on his face. By the way, directing a script of bloodbath in real world fetches no Oscars. Doomsayers had already warned him—that, fiddling with young hopes is akin to apocalypse for you! Now, everything is overt.

But after ended up making Frankenstein of their hopes, he left the young livid in rage. The very idea of hope is now making their stomach sick. Now blame yourself—in case, you find some of them ‘radicals’ for your fragile facade of peace. Hold sessions, spread awareness and catch them young—but know something: they now believe, this hope is hopeless!

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