The pain will be ours alone, Kashmir ! /Rashmi Talwar/ Daily Kashmir Images

snapshot the pain kashmir imagesThe pain will be ours alone, Kashmir !

Rashmi Talwar

O the pretense of strength, of willpower, fervor, sacrifice
Peep in my empty womb
Am I hoping for sunshine?
Will rainbows hug me?
~unknown

“Mama I have a head-ache, a tummy-ache, a tooth-ache, ear-ache!” Mama would pop a tablet, kiss me, say –“All will be well” while stroking my forehead. The fake-ache was for a pesky teacher, a test, punishment, home-work or just about anything to skip school.

Soon she’s busy in daily chores and peeps. “Are you better?” –“No!” I lie gleefully and let out a suitable groan, till well past school time. I lie in bed. TVs are nonexistent, radio is a spoiler, comics and novels are under censorship. To speak, to move out, even to look out the window, all my fundamental rights are curtailed. One little lie, and a vast abyss of nothingness- agony, insanity, unbearable.

Another time, an accident: Bystanders gather on the spot, exclaim their –‘Hawwws..! And Haiiis..!’ Call up my husband’s pager. At the doctor -“We’ll have to plaster the ankle, it’s a hairline fracture, but the wrist can be just bandaged,” I insert -“No, Doc plaster my wrist too!” –He winks at his assistant – “Two plasters!” I am excited–“Now, I really look like an accident victim!”
Relatives visit, inquire, listen to my story, and exclaim -“Oh how terrible!” I continue – How a woman trying to pick her child in the front seat drove right across and bolted my rickshaw- “I felt as if I was flying, and landed with a thud, you know!” And adding a little spice – “You know, I checked my neck, I also checked my diamond ring, only after checking, I, started howling loudly, Hee Hee!” “You are brave!” one says. I have turned my adversity into an opportunity, I pat myself. I glow in the make-belief glory of compliments. They write something cute on my plaster with pierced hearts, smilies and leave. Fourth day, there are no doorbells. I look at my plaster, read the messages all in a minute. Only one minute passes in my long road to recovery. My pains, my helplessness all get magnified in my solitude.

Another accident: I slip from the stairs; the shattered glass embeds in my hand and punctures a blood vessel. Blood spouts like a tap, running down the stairs.
Sitting on the stairs, my head swims due to blood loss, I calmly hold my bleeding hand and ask my house help,–“Go, get all the ice in the refrigerator and a towel!”
He stands staring. I urge –“Hurry, don’t look at me!”
Rushed to a hospital with blood all over, a nurse presses the bleeding punctured vessel, the bleeding stops as the glass shard blocks the blood flow. The cutting foreign body drives excruciating pain the whole night. Next day I am operated, but the wrongly pressed shard has cut my nerves too. The same evening driving a car managed with a plastered hand, I reach The Tribune office for work. I brush it aside as a cut, when colleagues inquire. I am able to function better without self-pity and borrowed strengths now. I work from that day onwards with one hand, my focus only on work and on recovery. It takes six months and physiotherapy to get the hand to function.

Another time, I am advised for urgent surgery. “Report back in a week and we shall operate!” the doctor says emotionlessly. “It can be delayed a little, plus we don’t have patient space” the doctor at Ganga Ram Hospital Delhi, adds.
I return to Amritsar that evening. In a week I arrange all my daily wear, toiletries, towels, others, keep a neat guest room downstairs to take me. I even place a walking stick.
My house help assists me for two days. Third day she’s in a hurry, fourth, she skips. By the fifth day I have learned to manage everything- the pain, the chores, indigenously working out solutions. People visit. My Mum admires-“You are brave”, I take it casually. Now, only focused on recovery. I am back in good health in no time.

These may be minor incidents but what stayed with me –“You have to bear your own pain, all alone!”

“O Mother, O Kashmir, my pain was just a scratch, yours- Mammoth!
Listen to my little prayers.
They shall come, pay sympathies, some justifying, some calling exalted divinity, some soothing, some listening, some talking memorials, some anger- revenge, some lullabys.
The broken promises, history, anger, restrictions, all, meaningless.
In the dark cold screaming silences- Mother, you’ll wonder –“Which piece of mother-land demands a price of your children.”
No fruit, sweet; no sound, soothing; no rainbows, – Only raw, clutching, solitary, tearing, pain.
The pain will always be our own. To Bear, All Alone!”

chinar leaf

Photo by Rashmi Talwar

The writer can be emailed at rashmitalwarno1@gmail.com

FIRST PUBLISHED IN DAILY KASHMIR IMAGES ON AUGUST 10, 2016
http://dailykashmirimages.com/Details/117243/the-pain-will-be-ours-alone-kashmir

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14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by NIVEDITA KHANDEKAR on September 16, 2016 at 7:36 PM

    Wonderful, lyrical write up depicting exactly what goes on in Kashmir. The appeal in the end, which I found poetic, needs to be read by everybody who wants to do something for Kashmir valley.

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  2. Ah my piece of Earth,
    Were I to carry you,
    And place you in a suitable land
    Will I also be able
    To pluck the hearts, beliefs, fears
    And thrust them elsewhere ?
    Alas, I wouldn’t be I
    You wouldn’t be you
    And the Earth wouldn’t stop growing weeds and warts

    I tried to touch Kashmir with tender hands, and the ring finger that directly connects to the heart spurred the swelled up outpourings on to this piece. Who I am to judge anyone of their beliefs, their faith, and their conviction, this was an attempt to pull at the heartstrings, assuage, persuade to end this great a tragedy, a tragedy that refuses to be buried, refuses to simmer down, working up insanely, irrationally, endless…
    I am deeply touched by a number of in-depth analysis of the piece on this thread. Some of the one-liners too held a lot in their laps.
    @Harry , the ravishingly stunning Kashmir is losing all its beauty including in innards of its hearts , the pain is a dirge realtime. Thank you for commenting.
    @Maharaj – ji the laughter and smiles spread happiness in more unequal measures that pain spreadsheets in its volumes and depths . Thank you for commenting.
    @ Bansi ji ..How times have changed . Pain too has become ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ , Hindu , Sikh , Christian and Muslim . Your similes shows us a mirror on our callousness, our insane hate and our insane love—a love for revenge, brutalities, show-offs, exhibitionism, daring, cowardice etc etc . We have yet to wake up from a slumber of nightmares. #Trackless
    @ Bansilal ji … Hold on to Hope, that’s all we can pray for.
    @Meenakshi – My Fingers pour out as my heart bleeds
    @Kaul Ravinder .. Senses are in awry … Thank you for reposing faith and for commenting.
    @Vee Kay Sharma – the story is uncontaminatedly my own . No one is there to share, all relations, attachments, even the logic and end are drowned when pain overpowers. You deal or get consumed by it. There is little other choice. A wake-up call if ears are poised to hear, else destruction is everywhere in body, mind, heart , soul, piece of Earth, homes and hearths, bloods and bloodless . [[Who is the dear mother of Kashmir to sooth and balm the wounds, is a big haunting question today -wandering for legitimate answer.]] Indeed who ? Thank you for commenting and your friendly advice.
    @Krishna Misri Mam, how apt you comment comes. You, who has seen a plethora of vicissitudes, over the years … [[With a heavy heart we cry n cry alone!]] True .
    @ Autar Mota ji … Thank you for your comment
    @ Namrata Wakhloo – Indeed each ones pain is their private agony ..Thank you for your comment.
    @Raminder J S Kala … Benumbed indeed! ..Thank you for your comment
    @ Minnie Mahendru … Thank you for commenting.
    @Sangeeta Arora Seth Rashmi…[[cud only pray to God to instill sensibility in people ]] Thank you for your comment

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  3. Posted by Sangeeta Arora Seth on August 23, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    Rashmi…one can feel d pain behind this beautifully written piece…cud only pray to God to instil sensibility in the people concerned…wish to visit to our own switzerland soon

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  4. Posted by Raminder J S Kala on August 23, 2016 at 8:40 PM

    Piece that leaves one benumbed… more power to your pen.

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  5. Posted by Namrata Wakhloo on August 23, 2016 at 8:40 PM

    Very well expressed. Oh mother, your pain is your alone.

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  6. Posted by Autar Mota on August 23, 2016 at 8:39 PM

    Poetic expression of pain and suffering.The story of pain and to bear it all alone..superb….

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  7. Posted by Krishna Misri on August 23, 2016 at 8:39 PM

    It is a paradox of our times.On the one hand distances have shrunk n the globe has become a village on the other alienation of man has increased.With a heavy heart we cry n cry alone!

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  8. Posted by Vee Kay Sharma on August 23, 2016 at 8:38 PM

    What a poignant story you have developed to explain the trauma of pain being suffered by the people of Kashmir and the state itself by using the simile sometimes real and sometimes faked.
    The pangs of pain you have personally undergone ,as explained in the write up, were soothed by dear mother and others and there was always someone to help and care.
    The case of Kashmir is identical but unique in a way
    Unfortunately Kashmir has since long lost its mother and the agony is that those who became the “godfathers” of the people of Kashmir in past regimes and during previous election just used it for their ulterior political motives and Kashmir is of no value to them.It is tragical travesty of circumstances that the junior partner of ruling coalition in J&K, which is in power in centre also with absolute majority in Lok Sabha, has made Kashmir issue just a gimmick to settle score with hostile neighbouring country.
    The J&K Chief Minister in turn has preferred to dislodge her responsibility and put the onus on Federal Government to sort out the Kashmir problem.
    Who is the dear mother of Kashmir to sooth and balm the wounds is a big haunting question today -wandering for legitimate answer.
    P.S. Dear Rashmi, why don’t you pen a long story(s) or fiction for benefit of us -all your readers.

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  9. Posted by Kaul Ravinder on August 23, 2016 at 8:38 PM

    This is a very sensitive and touching piece… More power to your pen Rashmi Talwar….

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  10. Posted by Meenakshi Khosla on August 23, 2016 at 8:37 PM

    Wow. Wow. Wow.
    How beautifully you bring out simile of pain between two thoughts. How intricately imbibed the unity yet diversified. 🙂

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  11. Posted by Bansilal Mattoo on August 23, 2016 at 8:37 PM

    Beautiful vale is wailing. Hope and pray it comes out of this dark tunnel and blooms once again with vibrant light and fresh air

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  12. Posted by Bansi Raina on August 23, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    We used feel each other’s pain once.The very definition of suffering and pain has undergone a change in Kashmir.Your pain no longer moves or affects me and my pain does bother u.A soldier kicks the killed militants body…..and people celebrate when a security personnel is killed.Brutality and hate has taken over.All because of these corrupt and unscrupulous politicians…who played us against each other.We have become insensitive .We r longer human.Why would we use children as shields.Why should we fire pallets .Aaj Ka pain ki definition…..jis tan lage so tan Jane…What would the new literature be like here.Jo Ho raha hai use ki tarjumani hogi.It is all too painfull and I am of track.

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  13. Posted by Maharaj Santoshi on August 23, 2016 at 8:35 PM

    We may laugh our own way but pain is alike. No doubt pain has to be endured alone but let us not atleast be insensitive to each other,s pain

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  14. Posted by Harry Rakhraj on August 23, 2016 at 8:34 PM

    It’s almost poetic, almost a dirge. So poignantly narrated, it brings the pain pulsatingly a l i v e and r e a l.

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