The recent image by Javed Dar took me back to my childhood when I attended funerals daily as my maternal home was near the Martyr’s graveyard of Eidgah. There was a day when I attended 12 funerals while we played our cricket match in the adjacent ground. Such cricket matches never reached a conclusive end. At times, we were so exhausted and emotionally drenched that we lost interest in all worldly things and sat on the boundary wall of the graveyard, waiting for the arrival of the unknown guest.
We all have faced times when feelings started to overflow but somehow halted just below the throat. We pretended to be strong. We acted brave just because we never wished to be called the weak link of the chain that surrounded us and held us strong. We saw our elders holding the fort amidst the crackdown announcements from the masjids. I saw my grandfather standing upfront and not allowing the men in uniform to enter our house where only females were left alone while men were asked to assemble in a play-field for identification parades.
We never got tired while quenching the thirst of innumerable families who waited outside our home that was just adjacent to a security camp. They waited on the roadside, dawn to dusk, to seek the whereabouts of their wards who were picked up from the nearby localities. They mostly returned empty handed to return the next day.
Those sleepless nights when screams of boys filled the dark skies. We heard the cries escaping the walls of those killing rooms inside the camp. Those nights were scary and I hated the sight of the moon.
This image of the boy, Burhan Fayaz crying at the funeral of his friend Amir Nazir of Pulwama, prompts us about the loss, the resentment, imprisonment of soul, the outburst and the resilience. That eternal lump we all have been carrying along since decades. The legacy that we inherited and will further pass on to the next progeny.
Our baton has been our resolve. Our tears have always oiled the wheels of resilience.
We have come across two images of the same boy (Burhan Fayaz), one by Javaid Dar and the other by Waseem Andrabi. These two and many of their colleagues are our messengers. I am proud of our storytellers who are archiving our story for the times to come.
We share the same sky,
the same moon,
the same thunder.
We walk along!
(Illustration: An attempt with Charcoal / Javaid's image)