Ghosts of my City

My city, the Venice of the East,,Shrinagar,,Srinagar,,Ciri-Nagar.. Whatever u please to call it has turned into a ghostly town for some time now. Ghosts, those innumerable mist like creatures are swarming the streets with blood dripping from their un-formed bodies. And accompanying them are people yearning to be ghosts, shouting, screaming and plunging into the abyss of the martyrdom. Freedom, of which the generations dreamed: on their lips and in their hearts. Women whose sons never witnessed their old age crying a suppressed tear. Children, without their books are merrying, clutching the hands of their fathers, holding them tightly; fearing orphan-hood. The air of the land for which the Kings fought battles is foul with deceit and decay. The gardens of the Mughals have turned into vestiges. The bridges above the Jhelum have Soldiers manning on both sides, prepared to shoot down any Caller Of Freedom into the river. The walls, pavements, and even the stones have words of revolution written on them. There is silence in the lanes of the city, and in that silence lies the commotion of Freedom.
The rain touches the ground and turns it red. The blood of the ghosts refuses to wash away. Wails of women echo the sounds of bullets. And i lay in the corner of my room, petrified. From the minarets comes the call, different from the usual calls to believers; appealing everyone to shrug off the fear and rise against tyranny. The caller entreats people to believe in the God, that victory is near, that Freedom lies just a step away. And i change my position, yearning to listen to the Unknown caller.
In the morning, melancholic breezes kiss my face and i rise to find the Sun missing again. Outside, there is activity. Old folk coming from the prayers are reciting Durood. A neighbor is shouting at the Milk Man. At the Baker’s shop, the sullen faces of men and women greet me. I sit down to wait for my turn to collect bread. And the city wakes up to yet another day of freedom-less life.
Angry faces of young men throng the narrow streets of the city, waiting for the one chance to defy and announce revolution. Soldiers keep a keen vigil over empty roads, their cold eyes searching for stones coming from the narrow gullies. The barrels of their guns appropriately aimed at the throat of rebellious voices. Few bullets rip through the silence, into the sky. I look out through my window, to trace back the bullet to its gun, I fail. Slogans emerge from far away. More bullets leave their guns, this time aimed at the chests of brave men. Some find their target, and some miss. Word of the martyrdom spreads like fire and more young men begin to dream of it. One more laid to rest and one more added to the innumerable Ghosts who haunt my world and my city.
I switch between channels to watch the telecast again and again. Same faces, same anger flashes across the screen and I close my eyes only to find ghosts in the darkness of my mind. I retreat to the music-player which I had left open, to find meaning in the poets words and the lyrics say…”Zinde rozan bapath chhi maran lukh, che marakh na/ Loti paeth chekha pyaale kyuho uff ti karakh na..(To live, people die:won’t you die/Will you drink this cup in silence, won’t you even cry)


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