That Young Boy…

By Tasavur Mushtaq

While curfew has been imposed in Handwara following three killings on April 13, 2016, youth resorted to stone-pelting on Wednesday. (KL Image: Mohammad Abu Bakr)
While curfew has been imposed in Handwara following three killings on April 13, 2016, youth resorted to stone-pelting on Wednesday. (KL Image: Mohammad Abu Bakr)

Sleep eludes me from last many nights. Even after hectic days, the evenings are long. Nights are blank. I changed place but it did not work to get me sleep. As soon as I lay in the bed, uneasy calm prevails. A deep sense of guilt compels me to twist and turn in the bed. With prayers, humming hundred names of Almighty, I somehow could manage a brief nap last night. Only to wake up after unusual heartbeat, sweat, shivering…

With all the windows open, it was suffocating. Air was squeezed out. Trembling hands could reach the glass of water with all the difficulty. Something has happened worse. Possibly a dream, a nightmare or, mere thoughts. It was chaos which I could not comprehend. The only soothing sight was when my mother entered my room. She felt my uneasiness. Hugged me warmly, kissed my forehead and reassured me that everything is fine.

Nayeem Qadir
Slain Nayeem Qadir

I had another glass of water and recollected what actually happened that made me to shiver and sweat. It was a dream. A teenage boy with shining face, nicely cut hair, branded clothes, ankle high shoes was all walking to me. I thought he is someone from Bollywood. He was so agile that I thought he is a sportsperson. He surprised me when he introduced himself as a boy from streets of Kashmir. Accompanied by many, only he took fast steps to reach me. The only disturbing in his appearance was the scar on his head, a wound in his neck…

He held my hand, looked into my eyes without saying anything. With his smile, he conveyed who he was. His smiles sent shock waves across my body. He has shed blood for Kashmir. He was killed for being different than me. He was the one who risked his life to protest. He preferred physical over virtual. He was killed for not Tweeting but making it matter most by his life.

A common Kashmiri, he is not enjoying perks and incentives of government; he is aloof from cafés, not used to “gadgetry resistance”. He has not been to comfort zones. He is the one who braves odds, bullets, and blood on streets.

Not a drawing room judge, he volunteered himself while I was busy in managing my affairs. He did it for me while I am busy in enjoying holidays (due to shut-down). He spilled blood and I got an opportunity to do household chores.

He lost his youth to give fresh impetus to the resistance movement. His life lays the bedrock of sentiment.

I gathered courage to speak. He was happy. He had no regrets of losing life to such a brutal occupation. He showed no remorse. He had nothing against those who perpetuated his murder. He did not condemn action of his murderer.

But all he said was: “do not stand at my grave and weep. Don’t grieve for me for I’m free now”.

“Continue my heritage,” the young boy, ten years younger to me, told me in his last message. “I am counting on you.” This made me sweat and shiver. I came to know about my weaknesses: perks, incentives, comforts! He was called upon by other boys and he left me with unwavering gaze.

I was lost in thoughts as how my mother consoled me. What about that mother who lost her son. She has nobody to put her hand on. She has no hope to see her son again. He left home and never came back.

The dream took me to my childhood days when I walked to my school in Old Srinagar. Routine, I would walk by hundreds of dead buried in Malkha. I used to jump on candies spread on graves. I was cautioned not to touch them.

As a child I was full of anger; my mother knew the reality of these candies. She knew how young men lay deep down in the graves. How a mother feels about her children. For me, it was just a candy.  Just a young boy Sameer (Sameer Rah of Batamaloo) had when he killed.

For me, now it is just an issue which I give vent through social media. I judge action of youth in my cosy room, while they fight on streets.

Is state really worried about the virtual world? No, it is action on streets! And ordinary souls like me don’t fight, but judge and keep on judging.

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