Got My Wallet, Lost My Friend

by Umar Mukhtar

SRINAGAR: It was just the routine on October 1. I had to meet a person regarding my story. Till noon everything was fine, and in between, when I reached to my pocket to get my pen out of it, I realized that my wallet was not there. Thinking it would be in my car, I carried on with my assignment. In between my phone buzzed and an unknown number was calling. “Tuhund purse tul me (I have found your wallet.)” I tried to complete my assignment hurriedly to get back my purse that was picked by a tipper driver some 6 km away.

Javid Ahmad

As I was hurrying, my phone buzzed again. This time it was a WhatsApp message. As I opened it, I almost dropped my phone from my hands. I saw Javaid, my friend lying on a trolley with a bandage around his head. The caption below read, “RK reporter died of a heart attack.” I was numb and could not react. It was quite unbelievable for me.

I called up our mutual friend Mansoor to verify, to my utter disbelief he said, yes. His smile that he always used to have, flashed in my mind. I called another friend of mine and told him about Javaid. We drove to his home in Watergam Rafiabad.

I vividly remember our first meeting at the press enclave way back in 2017. I saw a young smiling boy wearing formals with my friend Mansoor. He introduced him to me as a ‘senior reporter.’ We shook hands. I remember, in our first meeting, we talked about our studies and journalism.

Then we used to meet daily in press enclave, discuss story ideas, gossip, and sip tea at a nearby tea stall. Much of the time in our hour-long conversation would go in discussing journalism. The energy and passion as a professional of Javid was a thing to get inspiration from. He used to seek emails from editors of national portals.

In 2017 fall, Javaid and along with other friends, we made a trip to the city mountains- Pari Mahal. We sat there for hours, clicked pictures. His persona was undoubtedly a character to envy upon- humble, soft-spoken, and always helpful.

I remember when last year August 5 happened and communication was shut, journalist fraternity comprising of hundreds were “privileged” that they were given 10 internet connections at a media facilitation center. So, getting time to sit on a computer and access the internet was literally a hard thing to do.

I used to rely upon Javaid always, I knew if he is on a computer, I do not need to wait for long. With an authoritative tone that friends had in between, I used to get him aside and get myself there. With a smile on his lips, he never said ‘no.’

I used to taunt him there, agar ne Javaid kaem karre akhbaar katte neare (if Javid will not work, how will the newspaper print) and used to make him aside.

Last year he did a series of podcasts for a national online portal. The next day he met me and showed me his podcast. Like a true reporter, he was all the time after stories. “Southas manz kya story che,” (what is the story in south Kashmir) Javid always used to enquire from me.

As we reached to his home Javid was already lowered in the grave. His distressed father narrated how he got to know about Javid’s demise.

Javid entered in his wedlock recently in the month of March. He is survived by his parents and two siblings, who are younger than him.

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