“I wish I were six again,” Sarah was saying, Sameer looked at the anger and passion in her.” I would erase the entire time capsule of the day I met Death for the first time.”
Ten years of journalism, he knew there was more to come,
“I would tell Rashid Bhai, I am safe please stay where you are. No, I would obey Ammi and stay indoors so no one would have to look for me.”
Through Sarah’s eyes he saw …The tall young man, wearing blue jeans and grey shirt was batting the last over, when his younger brother called to say that the army had ransacked the houses and broke the window panes of vehicles parked in but their car was untouched. Something in him rang a bell; he went home and drove their car to park it elsewhere.
It was 3.30 pm “ammi, I am off to mosque” he said, that was the last his family saw of him…We called him Aslam Bhai.
About 400 meters from the young man’s on a link road, twenty children started protesting against the high handedness of the Army. The young man and his friends were bystanders watching the protesting children.
The vehicles zoomed by, and they were the army ones,
Smash, crash and the sound of glass splatters, the army went havoc. The young man peeped from behind shop to take stock, more important he wanted to make sure the protesting kids were safe.
A bullet whistled by and blood oozed from his mouth within minutes he was dead….We called him Rashid Bhai but he could have been anyone, Haider, Shahid, You, me, anyone.
Sarah sighed coming back to reality,” I am tired, that is the reason I look so old and haggard, I have made accepted the fact that it is forbidden to kill, and therefore all murderers are killed, unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
Sameer, was the warrior, of a people, who have no story, a traumatised population devastated by war and migration. He fights not because he hates what is in front. He fights because he loves what is behind. He made sure the voice of the voiceless was heard, loud and clear.
That when Sarah asked Sameer a question that men have asked time and again when they are fighting for the dignity and existence of their people, “what difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name or liberty or democracy?”
Old man time who witnessed this conversation had no answer whatsoever, his shoulder drooped, his faded cloak wrinkled, and he tried to turn the way the memories flow. But in a futile attempt to erase the past. If he did by any chance manage to erase the memory, he would deprive the community of its healing gift. They would conceal their wounds out of fear or shame, their inner darkness would never illuminate nor would it become a light for others.
Cries of pain and agony would be the call of the valley; paradise would wither and fade into a distant dream.