I'm no Super(wo)man..
The unplanned plan..

Day 1.5 of heavy rains and me and Adnan decide to just get some pakoras sorted and a cup of tea and just sit near the French window in the lobby. Which we did. And I won’t lie, it was great. We don’t normally get the time to talk like this. We also spoke about my mums bestfriend, who initially moved to the their neighbours because the the ground floor in their house was flooded - we didn’t pay too much attention to this because they live in a flood prone area and their house is usually the frat casualty.

Fast forward to 9pm, my uncle who’s an engineer is called to the city control room for night duty. This is not normal. Engineers and night duty? Unheard of really! September is not the rainy/monsoon month. It’s the calm brother of October before the harsh November, December and January engulf the city into their crazy winterland. When my uncle came back in the morning, he said Talked about some of the areas in the city that were flooded overnight. Bone and Joint hospital, mums best friends house (entirely) and those neighbouring areas.

Day 3 and it’s still raining continuously and he’s back on night duty. That afternoon, we had braved to go to the side of the city that had flooded. Water had made itself level to the footpath, which was barely visible. While at Nishat khala’s, they received a red alert for their colony - right next to the flood channel. They started moving their things to the first floor and we left trying to find a safe route home.

Day 4 and it’s still raining. Heavily. We brave our way to Lal Chowk to try and get some work sorted before we leave. We go and visit Roohi Masi who lives next to Lidar. Lidar is a distributory joining River Jhelum and she lives almost close to it. We went to make sure they were ok because the water had made it’s way to their garden the day before. They were fine but but there was a hoard of people watching the river flow - the broken foot bridge and wondering what fate it would bring. We left but by the time we got home, Nishat khala called and said the water level had risen and they were having a difficult time getting home. They did eventually reach safely.

Day 5 and the rain has stopped but in the early morning the phone networks are starting to give up. Airtel isn’t working - BSNL has a little bit of life in it. Called out to relatives who’d had the flood water visit them the previous days and that was the end of it all. Everyone and everything seemed to have gone wrong during the night. Water levels had risen by 5ft in 30 minutes at a relatives house. Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Barzulla, Hyderpora, Gogji bagh, Indra Nagar, Peerbagh, Karan Nagar, Khanyaar everything was under water. And in Kashir, everyone is related to everyone else - more than 3/4 of my extended family is currently effected by the floods - they either live there or have evacuated. So many of them were stuck on the third floor of their house or on the roofs waiting for help. The feeling of helplessness when you call someone and they’re crying is something you should never have to go through.

Day 5.5 and the rain has stopped, the sun is out on the Dal Lake but all phone networks have given up. No one is traceable. We’ve no idea what’s happening. Fast forward to the evening and I’ve managed to find some Internet off the Aircel network that seems to still be working a little. I connect to some who’ve messaged, call some on their landline and see how everyone is doing - which was not good. We solemnly go home, try to eat some food and go to bed but it’s not easy to sleep - so many displaced relatives stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Day 6 and I have barely got any sleep and the sleep I got was filled with nightmares of flooding. I also managed to look for someone in my sleep who I couldn’t find. It was a horrible night and it’s been a depressing day so far. I can’t stop thinking about how everything is on the other side.

It’s a horrible state of affairs in the valley just now. The little news I watched on TV before that went off showed an aerial view of the city and everything is submerged under water. The only thing you can see is rooftops, rooftops and more rooftops! There doesn’t seem to be much help going around - rescue teams could have been sent on Day 2 but nothing was done till Day 5 - there is barely any news coverage on the valley. One of my friends asked me if the rain was over but no one knew that there was devastation all around!

For the love of Kashir..

I know i’ve always said i have a love-dislike relationship with Kashmir. I’d like to clarify that the dislike is only and solely limited to societal norms of the day. I feel proud when i tell people Im from Kashmir. It makes everyone ask me so many questions which ultimately leads to stories about the recent uprisings, the unfortunate past and the clueless future. 

Clueless is probably not the right word. I recently finished my copy of ‘Kashmir in Sickness & in Health’. Honestly, the book has given me the best insight on the political happenings in Kashmir since the Dogra rule. I had a vague picture of the political scenario from what my father had told me - but the simplicity with which the author says ‘& Kashmirs destiny was again at crossroads; fate had cheated it again’, just hits you where it should. 

It was when i actually realised how Kashmiris lost a chance to say something - not once, not twice but at every chance they stood up for themselves! Be it the peak of militancy in the 90’s or the recent stone pelters demonstrations. It’s not about who shall bell the cat anymore - its more on the lines of - do the mice even want to bell the cat?, is the cat even interested in eating the mice, is there a bell to start with?

We all move on with life. Time heals everything but the scars always remain. Even shattered glass when fixed has cracks in it. Watching a documentary on the enforced disappearances in Kashmir left me speechless for a bit. So many mothers, so many daughters and so many widows still searching for their sons, for their fathers and for their husbands! The main protagonist ‘Mughal mase’ (Aunty Mughal) who is naratting how her son went to work one morning and never returned ends the documentary by saying, ‘All i want is one glimpse of his face and for him to see me once and I will die in peace!’. She never got to do that and died a few months after the documentary was finished in 2009. This is just one story - there are a million others that are left unsaid or rather go unheard. Kashmiris for years have subjected themselves to the harsh reality on the ground. But for how long can one just stay quiet?

This makes me want to stand up and do something. This makes me want to voice my concern. This makes me want to shout and break hell loose. I am however helplessly sitting at my desk and just writing this - I can only try and empathise with the people of the valley, who have had to go through the inhuman cruelties and continue to do so - for freedom. It is shameful that the one thing that should be free in this world comes at the cost of millions of lives! It is true, ‘with great power, comes great responsibility' but everyone just wants the power and no one wants to take responsibility for anything. Individually we can educate the world about the issue of Kashmir - tell the world about the harsh realities of our nation and hope - just hope than one day - the oppression ends and freedom comes at no charge!

I’ve heard about light at the end of the tunnel. God even sent me light in the midst of one.

I’ve heard about light at the end of the tunnel. God even sent me light in the midst of one.

I’d say so. Especially the firni and custard bowls.

Omnomnom

I’d say so. Especially the firni and custard bowls.

Omnomnom

Life is a funny thing. It never tells you the plan.

Life is a funny thing. It never tells you the plan.