Aug 31, 2012

The Missing Light


Today it was the International Day for the Disappeared People, an event that made realize what I never realized before...a four letter word called pain. Pain of a mother who lost her only son to anonymous jackboots, pain of a father who died hoping to see his son again, pain of a devoted wife who vanished her sight waiting for her other half, pain of a child who knows not how a father looks and lastly the pain that I can never pen-down, no matter how good I write. But a trivial attempt of my poor perspective dedicated to all the unfortunate partakers in the event goes like this: 

Kashmir, the living earthly paradise, needs no introduction as such. The Vale is very well distinguished for its incredible landscape and for its awful tribulations; unfortunately. Praising Kashmir here for its stupendous beauty is not the argument but the subject matter is to present an ugliest part behind the beautiful veil of paradise.

Before digging in, we need to understand the primary aspirations of Kashmiris. To have a prosperous state, that is a peace center for the entire world, is the primary aspiration of every commune and Kashmir is no exception. The demand for good roads, jobs, banks, schools, health centers is a familiar claim but above all is the right to self determination. But in the dictionary of Kashmir there is no word like freedom needless to talk about the rest.

Now “people” talk of reconciliations to facilitate a constructive dialogue towards a lasting resolution. But I feel sorry rather pity for such less learned people for their ignorance of facts. There is no good in brushing the violations under the carpet by wiping a victim’s tears with political butter known as ‘compensation’. Truth is that no fortune in this world can bring back the lost son to an ailing mother.

To a noble soul it is not an easy task to pen-down the sufferings of a nation. It needs a mountainous courage to summarize the bitter facts. The Kashmir conflict has dented the whole valley both physically and economically. We cannot acknowledge the quantum of the sufferings of the Kashmiris in the real sense. It is an admitted fact that the whole valley is under the fencing of stress, agony and pogrom. I can go on writing like this for ages with my blood fused with pain and agony but my write-up cannot describe or ascribe the real aches and pains of my brethren. 

Before wrapping up, I would like to share some precious words for all the occupied regions in the world (here in context of Kashmir). These are actually the last words of Rachel Corrie, one of the famous American Journalists, which she emailed to her mother prior her death by Israel's Bulldozer:

"No amount of reading, no conferences, no documentary viewing and no word of mouth could present the reality and the situation here in Palestine. You just cannot imagine it unless you see it yourself."

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Aug 22, 2012

My childhood Eid

"And I returned back with a good collection of bounty, a jam-packed tummy and some disappointment."



Eid-ul-Fitr, the heyday of happiness and prosperity signed off all in peace.  All the believers who refrained from “things” and all the Deheldes who consumed those “things”, both rejoiced the Eid equally. Shunning the differences and disputes while suspending the rest, people reaped the benediction of Eid. Fortunately I too joined the same, this time at home in Kashmir...thank God.

The bazaars and parks were all packed with kids in their best clothes. Everything minus some indecent pompous lads, presented a beautiful panorama. Little girls wearing pinkish frocks attracted my eyes. The baby damsels carrying shiny purses looked hilarious with their bodies flooded with bangles, earrings and other flashy trinkets. The boys on the other hand presented their naive bully nature with an Ak47 in hand while pockets filled with other ammunition. Ha-ha...needless to mention the plaything.

The D-day of Eid has always been the chief stimulator of adrenaline rush in me and my peers. I vividly remember the level of excitement that I, my twin sib and other two cousin brothers used to carry about the feverous day of Eid. We used to keep a bookmark on the much common J&K Bank calendar, marking it all over with our code words only to gauge the countdown to the upcoming Eid. I still remember preparing long list of items to be bought on Eid. A doodling of the crescent and a star served the purpose of the letter-head while the content was filled with childish handwriting that was hardly legible. The list was tailored on each passing day with some items removed while few more added as per our expected “Eidi” budget. The contents, as I recollect, included mainly the fire crackers with hilarious names like Bagwaan Taas and Zebra Bangool.  Our squad of four used a witty strategy of buying the crackers from the wholesale market of Maharaja Bazaar in almost half the market price. Indeed very witty at the age of 10, I must say.

Toy guns listed the top. I liked Aab-e-Bandook, the water spattering gun while my brothers admired the Taas-e-Bandook, the cracking toy pistols. The list also carried the eatables to rejoice and the places to be visited on Eid. Eatables mainly included the junk food while places comprised of well-known names like Mughal Gardens and Nehru Park. The trivial amusement park at Khankah ruled the roost. We were insanely fond of its merry-go-rounds that had seats with thrilling shapes in the form of jeeps, horses and airplanes.   

Everything was full of fun, amusement, joy, happiness and yes most importantly satisfaction. Period! What Now? The fervor has lost all its glory. I no more delight the same, except for some nice food. I reason probably because now I have grown up. But that’s fine I don’t carry the love for toy guns, crackers and joy rides anymore. I simply miss the passion with which I used to welcome Eid. I miss the zeal of my childhood Eid, those innocent smiles and the festive visits to friends and relatives….I miss them all.  It feels like a vacuum has snatched all those past heydays creating a big void.

Times have fatally changed and so did we. Now people visit one another only to uphold the social implications rather than regarding one another in the real sense. Eidi, the God-blessed monetary gift given to the children on Eid has become more like a rigid formality. I don’t know how and when Eidi turned monetary but it has been there even before I was born. It has become more like a give and take system… You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. If any “xyz” gives my son a hundred rupee note, then I have to return back not less than that, no matter how poor my financial condition is. Kindly ponder over this!! This is not any exchange of gifts and joys but a part of a plagued society that only teaches us how the goddamn money flows.

Moreover people have distanced themselves so much that they prefer to greet one another on facebook even if the other person is a next door neighbor. I feel pity for the tech-savvy Kashmiris, myself included.  

Now if I talk of the extravagant bakery and other palatable stuff, then I am sorry this article won’t fit in the limited space. Writing this is only a trivial attempt of my meager perceptive. At the end, “You cannot change the system”, goes the common statement. But I am happy because for me a great day signed off with great returns and yes, puzzlement. And lastly as I returned back with a good collection of bounty, a jam-packed tummy and some disappointment, I laid on my bed, staring at the ceiling, puzzled!!!  


Aug 10, 2012

On being a fresher

...a new fish into the gigantic sea of opportunities and competition.

One month back I graduated from an engineering college. “Happy Independence day”, greeted one of my peers. “What Independence??” I questioned back in wonderment. “Well you are no more a student now. You are free from the shackles of scary classrooms, boring lectures and enforced assignments”, reasoned my friend. 
Well, my friend was right in suggesting me to rejoice the completion of my academics but sadly I couldn’t respect her thought since I didn’t felt any independent space around. I had a reason.  I had the fear of getting suffocated in the toxic atmosphere of unemployment which I was to breathe in next.

“Ho! Good old days, the heydays”, I whisper to myself now, as I think of my college days. My college life was not any hunky-dory type but quite satisfactory. I was one of the well-known faces of my college, well-known for being a Kashmiri Muslim and somewhat for being good in academics and other activities. Also my debating and hosting the college events had won me a good number of admirers. I ruled the roast. Period!! What now? The game is over. That part of me died a month ago. Now I am no more a student, not anymore. I am no one in actual fact. My identity…as big as naught and as small as iota. Now I have a new name. They call me a fresher, a new fish into the gigantic sea of opportunities and competition.

I have been sitting at home from the last one month now. Though I am not a clock-watcher or a couch potato, I rarely go outside except for an interview. I restrict my social presence to the four walls of my room with my only two aides- headaches and depression. God bless the freshers, I pray.   

I am 23 now. I feel awkwardly bad asking my dad for a little money to have a simple haircut, not to talk of the money needed to fill the job registration forms or should I say to fill the banks of the employers. I have a conscience, and a sense of responsibility. How long can I live the life of a remittance man? Many of my schoolmates who jumped into business have made fortunes once they left the school. And what I have earned is barely a degree worth I don’t know what. It makes me lament the loss.

Being a fresher I am not supposed to sit back at home in my mother’s lap. I cannot afford to corrode my aptitude like this. I have to explore for jobs and hence I do. I desperately do. But everywhere I go, I find the big bosses asking for an experience or an expertise, the only thing a newbie carries not. Sometimes I wonder how the God-blessed experienced people are born. Are they born with an experience certificate in hand? I question.

Agreed that an experienced person is more valuable than a fresher but what if the latter proves more worthy once trained.  We need to respect the young talent and cultivate it rather than murder it long before it blossoms. Let there be a system to welcome both freshers and experienced at the same platform, equally or in some other measure. Let the freshers earn some experience by learning so as to transform their creativity into productivity. Else in the least bit what my poor sanity wishes is to roll back to the good old times of my father's and fore father's when there were colossal jobs waiting at the doorstep only to choose the befitting. How cherished were those times, I can only dream.    
Off the boat and a bridge too far.. 
Keeping eyes on the prize and the wheels come off ..

[P.S This post is dedicated to all the freshers. Kindly note the above opinion totally belongs to the author.]

Aug 4, 2012

A puzzle called Acne


March 30 Last year, I inscribed my sufferings on a similar column like this.  Thanks to my hobby of writing I could get some space to express my otherwise numb pain. From last six years I am suffering from a very common but ugly malady called as Acne Vulgaris.

Commonly known as pimples, Acne is a dermal disorder that leads to the reddish appearance of papules on one’s face. The infection has a varying scale, starting from tiny spots to huge stinging pustules.  Being one of victims of this dermal problem I previously winded-up my daunting experience but sadly Acne is still daunting for me.  

Many of my humble readers may be wondering at first as to why I am again underscoring Acne when there are other big issues to be considered in the first place. But what makes it worth revisiting is that the riddle of Acne is yet to be cracked by the brainy medicos who keep on prescribing their best sponsored drugs least bothering about the root cause. Secondly Acne is mainly associated with youth as it predominantly affects the latter only. 

Youth, the teenyboppers, are sensitive to anything that has something to do with their looks. A young boy may somehow manage to cope up but for a female lad it’s no less some abuse to carry acne on her face. Besides in our society it is sadly true that an acne victim is more a victim to the plagued system than to the bacteria itself. The victim has to face the taunt-loving people because they are always out there only to poke you for your ill-fate. There is an inevitable situation leading to inferiority-complex, shattered confidence and low morale. Skepticism and other psychological issues harass every minute. Watching one’s face in a mirror or facing strangers particularly the opposite sex is the most maddening. 

Honestly stating I doubt if medical science has benefited me in alleviating my sufferings in anyway but I am sure my syndrome can be much beneficial to the dermatology. I can be the prima facia subject for studying acne, probably the best. I have bought docs with diverse expertise to experiment with my face that has now transformed into an eroded area with evident crests and troughs, thanks to their acids and alcohols. It has been more than five years now, as my poor sanity remembers, since these cruel bacterium invaded my face. Six years passed since then but how patient one needs to be for witnessing some improvement, I still wonder.  The issue is still unresolved, much the same way like the ticklish Kashmir issue. Ha-ha... I think I will die wondering why?

In my six years of fight with acne hardly I came to meet a doc who could satisfy my poor sanity with one good reason behind acne. Some believe in the age factor while the others keep blaming the oils and unruly hormones. Also another class formulated a cyclic theory which I believe is somewhat agreeable, Thank god. The theory says that acne and psyche are iterating in a deadlock. The more severe the acne, the more depression it causes and vice-versa and thus the victim gets jailed in an infinite loop forever.

No doubt drugs helped me somewhat but only for the time being I used to fill my stomach with the scary pills. As soon I left taking the antibiotics, the acne reappear as if rejuvenated. How long can one burn his internal anatomy with antibiotics only to see a little change outside? This question will always wonder me. English, Unani, Ayurvedic, German homeopathy, Desi peer fakirs, seers; everything I did tried but nothing proved to be the lasting solution, unfortunately.    

Being well-versed with acne while holding my six year experience certificate of being an acne victim, I can very well suggest my therapy for acne. I believe it is only the time that is the best healer. And as I mentioned in my previous article, “It`s a big waste to grease the palms of docs with your pricey darling bucks just to burn your own face with their acids and alcohols.”

All we need is to be very patient and long-suffering. That’s it.