I remember I was in 10th standard and my parents planned a trip to Kashmir. Kashmir was as magnificent as I had heard; immaculate waters, gigantic Chinar trees and snow cladded mountains. For me, it was just another trip, but for them it was reliving tragedy.
I am a Kashmiri Pandit. Like many other Kashmiri families; mine too has a history of bloodshed. My Nana was in the intelligence unit of army. In 1989, he suspected that the civil war was at the horizon. And his suspicions came true! Kashmir burnt with violence. Fortunately, he was able to relocate his entire family to Udhampur. My paternal grandfather’s family was also leaving their ancestral home and were moving in small groups to Jammu. At the end, only my Bua, Dadi and my Dada were left. My Dada urged the ladies to leave the place; and so they did. He helped them to escape and then he returned back to his ancestral home. He was kidnapped. No one knows what happened after that. My father kept searching him for years but had no clue. All we know today is that he never returned back to Jammu. My father had lost his father and me my dada.
Today my family is happy where they are but the ferocity that my elders had suffered has scarred them for life. I don’t question them much about Kashmir because the wounds are still fresh. But I cherish the aroma of Kashmir. I love the big Mansions. I want to live there with all my cousins. I hope that it happens one day!
(Courtesy: Humans of Galgotias)