Identifying myself


Arshid Malik

I have lost my identity card and am worried sick to the stomach. I hunted everywhere, places I had been in the past one week, surrounding the actual day of this major loss, but have not found any traces. I asked many people, whose faces I seemingly recaptured, about any chance occurrences of having noticed my identity card, but all I met up with were sorry and dejected faces. I have grown impatient and fidgety ever since I lost this very important card and am not at all able to balance out my life as of now. My identity card means so much to me.

I am worried sick to the stomach imagining the scene where a poor me is stuck up in a security frisk and am asked to produce my proof of identity, my solemn vow of existence, my sole contingent of endless pain and misery, and I have to cut a sorry figure. What shall I do if this imagining leads to an actual occurrence? I would be doomed.

I will be held responsible for all the bad things that have taken place in the past few eons; I will be castigated for not belonging to what I am supposed to belong. My crisis is genuine and is cross linked with all political and apolitical pacts that Kashmir has witnessed in the past century, or more. I am a Kashmiri and politically speaking I am no one unless I bear my identity card.

Just think about me getting caught up in a situation without an identity card with a trooper who is upset over undercooked food that was served to him for lunch and the consequent stomach ache. Why wouldn’t this trooper collegiate the bad meal with my not bearing my identity card? He has every right to do that and thrash me for it, I guess.

It is so very cold and I am supposed to fetch bread from the market at the first light of the day and I can’t, only because I am a Kashmiri and have lost my “emblem of belongingness”. Does it matter as to how well I can plead innocence and talk myself out of a mini cordon? As a matter of fact it does not. I am no one as long as I am without my identity card.

My identity card is my subterranean refuge. It is my pledge to honour. It is my sole proof of sustenance. No matter how hard I try to make the “other” understand that me without my identity card is still me and no one else, it will never get me out of trouble.

More than often I feel like lurching headlong into the dark depths of the earth and never promise a return, these days. At least the earth would accept me without reprovingly turning me away for not bearing my identity card.

I am a Kashmiri and am identity less, for my identity card is my sole proof of identity and my only route towards local and national indemnity.

My dear friends please do kindly confuse my perpetual references to the term identity card with what is generally known as an identity card – a piece of paper or plastic with printed matter and a photograph, as we are not looking at anything else here. This piece of paper (or plastic) matters a lot to me and happens to represent my state of being, my raison d’?tre, my past, present and future which I have hopelessly lost in my endless endeavours to establish who I actually am. I am hopeless and a Kashmiri and that too without an identity card. How worse could things possibly get? But hey, 26th of January is just around the corner and my experience tells me that things could get even worse.


About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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