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NAYA KASHMIR


As a newly posted person in Kashmir valley, I was still getting accustomed to the operational role and our Area of responsibility. On an early autumn morning, we received information that four terrorists were hiding in the village. Self and my subordinates were tasked to assist the neighbouring CRPF/Army camp to carry out Search and Destroy operations and neutralise the terrorists. This involved climbing to a height of over 9000 ft, forming a human chain, and moving down the forest in the same formation. I rallied my troops through the gruesome climb and managed to meet the Mission Leader well before sunrise. The parties rolled down the suspected area but the effort was in vain as neither terrorists nor their hideouts were found. After the search got over, self and my neighbouring camp officer decided to fall back. When I am returning to base with my subordinates, I saw a boy who is setting under Chinar tree with a despair face. I can’t stop myself to interact with the boy. In my first interaction with the young boy, he was not comfortable but after continuous meetings, the boy and his father become my friend. We meet every day while I am performing duties in the village and finally I asked for despairing of the boy. The heat touching story of the innocent feelings of the boy is explained by his father in the next paragraphs.


The agony for Reshma rose with the falling dusk, Farooq next to her was trying to discharge his duties of being consummate, and the night was vexed with heavy snowfall. Farooq was absolutely feeble and aloof as a complete curfew was imposed in the village, however, Reshma was in tremendous pain and was cursing bemused Farooq for he was responsible for her misery.


Farooq’s thoughts were encroached by an abrupt thumping on the door, which was jammed by the accumulation of the snow. Three hefty-looking tall dark figures forced them inside, and even before Farooq could resist, one of them had already pointed an AK-47 at Reshma from under his ‘Feren’.


The pain aggravated and Reshma started to scream, which was not welcomed by the intruders, and they at once muffled her mouth with a cloth, the pain was immense and she was not even allowed to take out her agony through her mouth but could only let out her tears. She delivered but could not survive the agony herself, Farooq named their little boy as Bilal, meaning ‘Moist’; in remembrance to his mother’s moist eyes when he came to this world (The Frangible Heaven). 6 years old Bilal was scurrying uphill targeted to Sarpanch’s house, there were stories of humans trapped in a box. He could only manage a fuzzy sight of the TV totally mesmerized by it, Bilal was gazing at the box with eyes of childlike adoration, his naive belief suggested him that his mother is also likely to be somewhere in this ‘magic box’. The thought propelled him to embrace the box and maybe his mother would appear in front of him.


His thoughts were at once disconnected by a deafening blast, Bilal doesn’t distinctly remember as to how many devils entered the house but he clearly recalls the memory of them bashing in and thrashing apart the sinless ‘Television’. They cursed and beat anyone and everyone they found, called us ‘kafirs’ for having a TV.


Bilal was hurt, he shouted involuntarily with absolute retaliation, “There’s my mother in that how dare you break it?” Realizing the blunder, he jumped over the railing, desperate to be out of the sight but all in vain, a spat of blood gushed out from his tiny mouth but misery was not over yet, Asmodeus was frowning at him, He kicked Bilal, who could resist only enough displacing like a football. A kid was helpless, beaten, crying to the top of his voice, could do nothing but only curse his mother to bring him in this ‘frangible heaven’.


Being a soldier, I assured Bilal that devils who hearted the anyone or do unhumanitarian conduct will not spared and we will do out best to maintain peace in valley and soon it will become heaven on earth.


Father’s letter,

A frail looking man unfolds his carpet towards the setting sun and pays his reverence to the lord, having offered Asr to the almighty he walks towards an old acquaintance (Chinar tree), a slight grin appears seeing a color TV in the bakery enroute, remembering the ‘Magic Box’ after so many years down the lane, Everything seems so calm and tranquil, sifting through a lot of memoirs he moves ahead towards his favourite place in the village. Today is a big day for Bilal, he writes:


‘Dear Sahiba’ Assalam walaikum,
Lots of love from papa, I write this letter to you on this auspicious day of your birth, you are a pretty little damsel, holding you in my arms for the first time was a revisit to my childhood memories, Sahiba I want you to always thank the almighty for all that we have, and having been born in a world which is so beautiful and peaceful.

You are free here, you have schools to study, roads to travel, electricity, technology and all the luxuries you would require to flourish. You are born in the times wherein being a girl is no more a curse, no one can put restrictions on you in our free country, the chinar tree overlooking me has witnessed so much brutality by terrorists and their supporters, but time has changed now. Government has taken adequate steps in hand with Indian Army to ensure a better life for us and a prosperous future. Sahiba always be grateful to everyone who has strived hard to ensure a bright future for you. I get chill down my spine remembering my childhood but I am sanguine that you will have a lovely childhood, celebrate every bit of it.

With love,

Baba


The cold breeze once again reminded Bilal of the blemished serenity of Kashmir and with a sigh of relief he assured himself that revival of the frangible heaven is in process and insha Allah Kashmir will once again be the paradise on Earth.


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