Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Grenades as metaphors

I have come back from Kashmir, my third trip in the last two months. This time I almost got lynched at Nawhatta, in downtown Srinagar. My colleague, photographer Shome Basu was also caught badly in an incident of stone pelting.

The Kashmiris are too angry.

But in between, we got some time off and, one afternoon, the two of us went to the Ahdoos for lunch. The hotel’s restaurant was empty because, one, it is the month of Ramzan, and two, a strike had been called by the separatists, and nobody was in a mood to enjoy lunch. So, we got the seniormost and, obviously, the most experienced waiter to serve us.

We had rice, Roganjosh and Haakh.

I felt so sleepy afterwards that I was tempted to cancel all my post-lunch appointments. But after a strong Kehwa, I continued my interviews, and also managed to witness a major clash between a bunch of youth and the paramilitary forces.
This was when a young man died – a man who was not even taking part in the protests. He had just stepped out to buy toffees for his nephew when a rubber bullet him, and he died on the spot.

A day later, I met that two-year old nephew of his. He is still under shock and all his chirpiness is gone. He is almost paralysed by the shock.

Back at the hotel, the image of that boy kept on haunting me. Till Muzamil Jaleel arrived, and till midnight regaled us with his anecdotes.
As we invoked Bacchus, 'Z' drooled at Sridevi’s rain dance sequence in a film of 80s. Noticing that, Muzammil made a dig at his alleged virginity at the age of thirty-two.

“It makes no sense to watch someone hurl a grenade; one has to do it himself,” he said.

In Kashmir, only examples of grenades or bullets serve as metaphors.

7 comments: said...

Hi Rahul i am an avid reader of your blogs but this one in particular needs some polishing. This is not your style as a newbee I can sense that. Bye the way we share the same name and I often get emails addressed to you....

Rahul Pandita said...

Dear Namesake
Thanks for writing. My guess is that you work for an IT company -most probably in software development. By my style you perhaps mean that I keep on writing about Kashmiris who are in exile. But as a young Kashmiri, my advice to you would be that you must also learn to know about the miseries of those who still live there.
And as far as polishing is concerned, of course, my writing needs 'polishing' all the time. I am a mediocre writer, you see.
Cheers, r

Bhawna Mishra said...

Hey Rahul,

Nice Pics. It reminds us of the land which has changed so much over the past 18 years of terrorism and rise of religious fundamentalism.

I think you have taken a normal comment made by Rahul Pandita above a bit too far. He just could notice the change in your writing; nothing about the content. Its time we change our psychic.

You are one of the very few writers; who writes normally but yet so different. We can relate to it. You can just keep a person hyprotised through your words.

But, unfortunately, this post lacked a lot of that sense and art.

Especially, The line "The Kashmiris are too angry." was too vague. Yes, Kashmiris are angry; but here you only talk about a particular small section among Kashmiri Muslims..

Thanks anyway for writing such crisp pieces. I enjoy them and that is why it brings me here in every few days..

Keep on with it !!!

Anonymous said...

Journalism today is not about breaking news,
It is about faking news now!
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Rahul Pandita said...

Hi Bhawna
Thanks for writing in. I am sorry you didn't like this post.
Regarding your other comment, referring to what you call a 'small section among Kashmiri Muslims,' first of all, that section is not small. And even if it is, as a journalist, it is my duty to highlight that. Also, I wrote that Kashmiris are too angry keeping in mind that the reader would know basic stuff about the developments in Kashmir in the last three months or so.

Anyway, keep visiting, and I promise, you won't be disappointed.
Take care, r

Kakshi said...

Hey Rahul,
Especially the last line reminds me of an incident. In Pune once we witnessed a protest by students and a kashmiri friend of mine was pretty exccited. Puzzled, I asked, she said "This feels like home, all the protests and crowds, I just miss the sound of grenade blasts & gunshots" Shocked I looked at the other Kashmiris around me and they just smiled back!

Anonymous said...

I could totally relate to this post...just brought baack memories and the pain....all comments here just talked about your writing skills but i think something remained missed by all....and since i have actually witnessed what a grenade can do to the life of a person and those connected to it....i found this post so real....