Updated: Jan 2
We seldom realise the things we take for granted. It is only in great adversity, that one realises what one has possessed since forever and is now lost. For instance, take Freedom. India just celebrated its 73rd Independence Day, but, what's left of that sentiment is just the joy of having a public Holiday from our routine lives.
Freedom. For most of us it actually looks like this: easily write all sorts of comments and share all sorts of views while sitting in the comfort of our homes, with our air conditioners on - not giving a damn for global warming, tweeting on our smart phones, and calling a sect of the population anti-national, for calling out the government on doing something as heinous as violating Human Rights of their own citizens.
For many, residing in conflict zones, starting from Kashmir to Nagaland, Freedom is a myth - a story they've heard a lot about, but, never seen or felt.
I have an acquaintance who is a Kashmiri. I do not wish to disclose much about her, as she is scared for her safety. For the purpose of this article, I'll call her Amel, meaning hope. Amel was in Kashmir at the time of the Abrogation of 370A. I was scared. Then I thought, if I'm scared, she must be petrified.
I messaged her instantly to ask if she was alright. Not to my surprise, but to my dismay, she didn't respond. Yesterday itself, she landed in Delhi and she sent me a message back telling me she'd arrived and would see me in college the next day.
We were never close. Hardly friends even. She asked me how I was and I thought to myself - how brave. I then fumbled with courage and asked her how she was, and then it was a silent few seconds after I asked if she wanted a hug. We hugged for a minute and then she thanked me for being concerned.
She thanked me for being concerned.
After class, I sat down with Amel. She shared with me details about what's going on in Kashmir. She is now in Delhi, but, how do you escape the wrath of your own home turning into a prison?
She told me that the Indian Press (She took the name of the newspaper called 'Greater Kashmir') was being completely censored. There are officials that are deciding which news goes out and which gets scraped. I was at first so angry that the Indian Media was failing us, but then I became extremely heartbroken when Amel told me about the censoring.
Amel said she was hopeless. She wanted to be the voice of her people but she was advised by her father not to indulge for her own safety. She told me how her father would always tell her to finish her studies and join him in the school he's working in, but this time, he told Amel:
"There is nothing left to come for. Don't come back."
Imagine, being asked to not come to your own home. Maybe this is true homelessness. Having a place to live, but none to call your home.