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Another Kashmiri Tragedy: Short story

Another Kashmiri Tragedy is a story by Eman Qaiser, a year 11 Student at Moorefield Girls High school. The story appears in Telling Tales, An Anthology of the 2016 ScribbleInk Youth Literature Awards. The ScribbleInk awards are high-calibre literature awards for young people in Years 7 to 12 living in the St George area of Sydney. The awards aim to celebrate the ideas and creative writing of youngsters who live, work, study and play in the region.

A strange warmth and sweatier suppleness caressed the cheeks of a young boy as the fragile palms of his parents interlocked upon his eyelids, shutting the world away in their splendorous game.  Pitch black the path, uneasy his will, yet his curiosity spiked and his toes began to twirl.   Orangey hues pierced through the corners of his eye, as the warmth disappeared and a chilly breeze slid across the nape of his neck, he stood in awe of this natural oasis that had been a mystery to him for so long. Snow capped summits followed a continuum, along the sunlit horizon.  It was the pillow like clouds drifting beneath him that fuelled his desire. This was Kashmir, he thought. 

A sudden urge to experiment with his senses overtook him, he felt ignited, and caught view of his father through the autumnal Chinar tree. Setting his fingers onto his father’s kameez, he gave a little tug. Although his desires belittled him, he turned and caught his father stumbling, slowly sliding and eventually falling through the very clouds the boy believed to be comforting pillows.

Metres away, his mother stood in horror.  Boulder in hand, she then crept, though the wind silenced, she flinched, the boy turned, a sudden throbbing and sharp pain bled through the boys skull and all turned pitch black once again.

‘Suicide number 25’, jotted and circled violently over into reprised folded pages of dated sentences and unheard testimony, all in a leather bound journal. A hesitant yet graceful fall of another Kashmiri nobody he steals through a mere and fruitful glance under the chinar, lying sombre and distraught in this shrine like sanctuary. “What is life? If mans selfishness is the cause of his demise” he thought.  Aimless souls who come to leave their hearts perched above the very cliff of their standing would blindly delve into the depths of the dark underworld, and he would be there to see it all, every single time. 

Now a man, all the little things seemed a lot littler, but life remained the same, though his memories diminished. Ten years ago, that day that is dark reigns hell upon his mind as he paces in remembrance of its crude sensation and queer horror, forever since that time, he can no longer live the same. “What was so wrong with our little world that you father had to disrupt by committing the unthinkable and scaring my infant eyes with your agony? Sure, Kashmir buried many secrets within its monotonous voices, but yours will now forever be another intolerable memento within mine.” 

"Snow capped summits followed a continuum, along the sunlit horizon. It was the pillow like clouds drifting beneath him that fuelled his desire. This was Kashmir, he thought."

A sudden realization courses through his veins, arms limpidly falling, he rises effervescently, creeping towards the ledge. In hopes of capturing this nostalgic moment, orangey hues stain his forehead.   He breaches towards that very spot, under the Chinar inches from death. And then, like an abandoned glass bottle gracing the shores of civilisation, the cracks of time within his fragmented memory flood by a familiar voice. A poignant voice as if played from a ghazal.  “And to what extent must I go to relinquish these odd curiosities’ of yours? I’m tired, Mohsin. ” 

He turns to meet his mother’s gaze. “Tired am I, who for 10 years has struggled to grip to his sanity and feels he is living a horrid lie.’’ The wind solemnly sweeps through her greying hairs, picking them up and throwing them down again upon her shawled shoulders. She mumbles to herself, “And what if told you it was a lie, a gravely unfortunate one.’’   Mohsin carelessly throws his journal at her feet, “Do you know what its like? Witnessing an atrocity right before you, but remaining too weak too coward less to do anything.’’ “Mohsin, I know it all too well”, said the mother tiredly staring past his scrunched eyebrows and to same pillow like clouds, the true silencers.

“10 years ago, you were just a child, I can understand that a child is immature, is frail, is intolerant, is confused, is curious. But Mohsin tell me this, would a child be a murderer?”

A Flashback. First the migraines, than a sudden throbbing, followed by a sharp pain then blackness inking his surroundings, this sensation above all is one that nostalgically replays within his mind, like a film tape. “It was you? You caused the blackness, the agony that I remember, that boulder in your hand you used it on me.’’ Hesitantly she extended her frail arm and said, “Mohsin chalo ghar chale.lets go home.’’

“ Your dismissiveness only aggravates me, you very well should know my suffering, I crave death yet I fear its torture as I stare in the face, through the arid eyes of the poorly war torn Kashmiri folk of this town, whose lives have been beaten and scarred in petty human complexities. After all, father was the same”

“You’re father was not the same! He was an untroubled honest man, but you murdered him, you poor boy, you murdered him”

Suddenly, a rare and beautiful moment elapsed in time as the film tape replayed, one last time.  

Ten years go, the 25th, orangey hues, acres of mountain and a freshly smelt scent, dark desires and then the touch of cotton to skin and an enlightened smile, a mere gesture and his father nowhere to be seen. As fast as the shadow casted sun the film stopped as the pitch went black.                                                                  

“Mohsin, I tired to erase everything, hell can reign upon Kashmir and their bastard children for all I care, but please do not think you are a monster.”

“Oh but who is the monster, me or you?” He walked back steadily, aligning his heel to the edge where delicate daises grew, now crushed beneath his shoe.  “Your imprint upon my memory, is one I  can ensure you can never erase.”

 “Please, Mohsin do not let your ignorance end you,” said the mother, as she ran to catch the last meaning of her existence.  Time was her true fallacy.  

A heel lifted, the wind dragged him down.

The Point

This short story is an excerpt from Telling Tales: An anthology of 2016 ScribbleInk Youth Literature Awards.

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