I think I should get a life!!!

Arshid Malik
I am a nocturnal person by nature. Ever since I was a kid I used to keep awake through the nights which was a matter of concern for my parents, especially my mother who thought something or the other was terribly wrong with me. I tried to change my habits but failed and felt that it was somewhere woven into the fabric of my being. Night time held great value for me; it was mysterious with the whole world enveloped in black. Every step you took counted as an adventure in itself. My comprehension of the world grew in association with the nights rather than days. Days were always accounted for, while nights slipped by just like that. Sometimes I would slip out of my home in the dead of the night and wander about in the locality, filled with a certain sense of ardor and slip back in, fearing that my parents might discover I was not in bed and create a commotion.
As I grew up, my nocturnal nature metamorphosed into the only “life” I had to myself. I keep a passion for reading books and since daytime was spent fiddling with school and college books besides other redundant stuff, I relaxed in the fervor of the night and enjoyed my reads and most nights, a long walk in the dead of the night. I also listened to light classical music at night which somehow blended in with the mysterious character of the night. Later in life this love affair of mine had to go, not because I changed but because the circumstances changed. In the early 90s, as the situation in Kashmir turned bitter, the authorities imposed curfew and the worst hit part of the twenty four hour day was my beloved night. One could not even dream of strolling out at night, and in case any one did dare, he or she would be shot dead – that was the rule those days. You sometimes could not even talk to each other, as troopers patrolled the by lanes of the Valley. The splendour of the night was lost to the tumult of times. Even though the situation improved towards late nineties and people started living seemingly normal lives, but there was little or no relaxation during nights.
Today, when we have come a long way from the situation of the 90s – at least that is what the authorities here tell us all the time – we are, by all describable dimensions, prisoners at night. We cannot move around freely at night and that arrests our thought as well. When you question something its character comes alive and that is what needs to be done with the half of our lifetime that we spend behind invisible walls at night. You don’t usually feel the sting, but if you throw a question into the blankness at night levered by the basic precepts of freedom you will hear strange and intriguing noises that come from within yourself and these score well as plausible answers.
It has been a long time since we Kashmiris have rejoiced the spirit of the night. Why at all should we surrender a good half of our lifetime to undeclared custody? It is time the authorities acted out on this one. When someone wants to go out for a long walk after dinner he/she should be able to do it without fear and then we can talk about peace and stability.
As for me, I don’t have a life right now, at least not by my living standards. I am nocturnal by nature and I now know nothing is wrong with me. Rationally, I am not wrong if I raise slogans of freedom.


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