Another day of routine domination patrolling, scanning every face, each house, shops, fields, schools, medical centres and anything and everything for familiarity comparing previous day picture in mind. They say that every face and corner of area should be printed in mind, that is what ensures acquaintance of the responsibility. Indeed it’s true, then again, everyday, there is some or the other face which I find bit difficult to recall, may be a population of more or less 6000 has some role to play in it. Similar kind of thought occurred that day when I met an old man, should be in his 80s. The man had strange look in eyes coupled with rprising smile on face and looking right into my guide’s eyes. Now, i must say that similar kind of doing by a middle aged man would have raised suspicion but he was a man surrounded by thick deep wisdom around himself and that was something new. We were sitting on the plinth extended off a closed shop from where I called him and with no extra efforts, the man came and extended his hands warmly to greet and sat next to me offering well wishes. Within no time we were indulged in chatting out the acumen of the old man’s mind and he revealed the secret of his surprising first look.
I was sitting near window observing my fields and realised a bunch of army personals sitting across the street taking rest but seeing their gestures I could say that even on rest they were fully alert having few sharpen eyes, few wrinkled foreheads and few extra vigilant. In no time a thought sparkled in my mind to ease them out and without giving second thought I walked upto the first man standing at the leftmost corner and he smiled at me saying “baba(like grandfather) how are you”, I smiled at him and next thing I hear was a call from soldier sitting on extended plinth of my son’s shop.
On introducing myself i told him that there is no need to be so much vigilant as the area is absolutely safe now and people have accepted the change. I felt shaken hearing statement about peace with so much conviction from a Kashmiri.
Being part of the force which have paid so much to bring peace in valley, i was subjected to a feeling mixture of surprise and jovial. He said, I have seen the transition from peace to mayhem to again settling down peace. Before all this had started, there was a state when we used to live in peace, could go anywhere we wanted, could do as wished, there were no inflammatory statements in masjids, no threat of roaming in jungles going for picnic, no fear of going to other villages to meet relatives, no requirement of carrying a card for proving identity, lots of gathering with friends, good relations with Kashmiri pandits and possessing everything a peaceful life can ask for.
Then came a time where everything turned upside down, all kind of wishful thoughts were curbed to imaginary world. This place was covered with blood of innocents because of deeds by outsiders from Pakistan, Afghanistan and many locals. I myself had lost three sons and two daughter for the reason, that they thought there is no mistake in sharing tea with army soldiers roaming in area. Then comes again a time where i see children enjoying life, people are celebrating festivals, marriages are being rejoiced, schools are opened providing better way of life, and there won’t be any harm in saying that the life in Kashmir has again found its right path and slowly started rejoining the scattered particles of happiness.
I, on behalf of all Kashmiris upto my age can say for sure with conviction that present time is if not exact then on similar lines as the life was before all this started. I have two sons and a daughter who are living happily in their families without having any thought of what happened with their brothers and sisters because they have got chance to live freely. This is the reason i told you at the very first interaction that nothing much to be worried about, things are fine now.
I must say i was stunned to hear all this from someone who has nothing to hide, nothing to lose, nothing left to do but the perspective that individual has about life is something of very high value. It was a great learning that day and such experience encourages us to impart humanitarian feelings in our routine days.