Not a story teller!

 Irtif Lone

Doubtless, you want me to tell you a story. But let me tell you I am not a story teller. Neither do I remember things so well. No, I am not old enough to have a life filled with experiences. But now, when you force me to do so, I am left thinking. Today, when I look back at quarter of a century, no, it’s little more than that. I have a sigh of relief. I remember life, facts and lies. Pain and love in balance. No, I have much more to say. I am not deaf and dumb; I am a pretty normal human being. I have every right to speak and tell you the truth. I have had the privilege of being a mystery. People were always curious to know more about me. And now I want to talk, for long something has been cursing inside. Something inside wants to speak, but story telling is such a dangerous thing.

No, I am not writing a political article. I don’t even know what will this end up on. But then I don’t have anything else to do. I think this politics is never going to leave me. I just want to make myself remember that I am not writing a political piece. By now people would have started thinking, do I really know how to write a political piece. But let me tell you, you should be polite enough, to not ask in public.

Let’s come back to the story, which one do you want to hear. My story, no please I just said, I am a mystery. What about a Badshah daleel? No, fine. Have you heard that Kashmiri folk song in which they talk about of a Cock and Hen, yes they also talk about the cat? Fiction, what’s wrong with that. What do you want to hear about then, 1931 martyrs? Maqbool Bhat, 1988 elections, Dargah and Chrar-i-Sharief Siege. How do you know about all this? Shhhh, keep quiet. Okay, I will tell you a story. Few men on their way back from the heights made way to Chrar-i-Sharief. These people were headed by Mast Gul. Somehow the Army sensed their presence and laid a cordon around the shrine. Insiders were cut off from light and electricity. They say these men were offered a safe way back to their land.

I was a young child those days. Unaware of what was happening around, I loved my holidays. Yes, a month long holidays were so pleasing. I played a lot of cricket. The siege was so long that we made a cricket team and it broke before the siege was over. And the nominated treasurer, who had our Rs 75, ran away with them. He was elder to us and more than that a rogue. So, no one dared to ask back for money. It was during those days that I started reading stories. Tom Sawyer and Ben Hur were the two of my first books. I did not like to read, but reading made my parents happy.

Conflict taught us so many things. In snowy winters, we made bunkers of snow. And, we used icicles as rockets, snow balls as bombs. One day, when we had built our bunkers and fresh snow was still falling, army turned up in our house. All the children were so afraid of bunkers being taken as real that we promised to ourselves, we would not play for the rest of the day if nothing serious followed. The first thing we did after they left was bombardment of bunkers. We just ran over them. What do Americans say, “We raised them to dust”. And please that should not be considered as playing. We fulfilled the promise that day.

It’s getting dark; I think I should take a walk. But someone just came in to say that curfew has been imposed in few areas. They have killed yet another young boy. Damn it.

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