Curfew nightmares

By Muhammad Owais

My cellphone rings consistently at dawn for a wakeup alarm from my Dad. I woke up. I have to go out to offer Fajar (morning) prayers in a local Mosque. Before setting my steps towards prayers, I login to my Facebook account on my cellphone. I have a look to posts of different groups and pages that have been the only source of news in times of this most strict curfew in Kashmir Valley.

If I find any killings or critical injuries on Facebook then it’s for sure that last night has not been as good as normal. To watch how the days have been passed I find some videos of protests and killings which I set to download on my cellphone before going for ablution. Till the time I return from Mosque the download is successful so that my morning will be refreshed with the fresh ongoing protest scenes.

Apart from keeping a hawk eye on the situation one has to survive also. It starts with the struggle of how to get bread & milk, the two most essential requirements at breakfast.  It has been like a competition who will first reach out to the baker shop. As I talk about my neighbourhood we have only one baker shop who dough’s bread during curfew for more than hundred families living here.

Immediately after offering Fajar prayers my Dad would go to baker, though so early but it takes more than one hour for him to return with bread. Now it’s my job to look whether milk-man could reach near our locality or not. If he has made it through curfew then I just have to stand in a long line and I can buy milk. But this happens only comes sometimes that too at night. So, I go to the nearest countryside locality like Anchar or Buchpora. To reach there I have to cross a main road where state forces are standing and they don’t allow any movement.

Now with the help of few local elderly men I make it to Anchar every day. I can get the milk from there and then I search for some vegetables also. It becomes difficult to get these things back at home; this area is the only place to get something.

Searching for about one and a half kilometre spread area finally I find a house which has a garden where vegetables are grown and then I buy from them. But now from past three days it has become impossible to even go there due to crackdown imposed by state forces to arrest young protestors from that area. So we are completely depend on our stocks now.

When I reach home after this three hour hard work which I never do during normal days I get in tension and anger of what to do for whole day. Options are, should I watch TV, watch movie on my computer, play any game on it, or just sleep? Following all this from so many days now, I am tired of continuing all this again and again.

From past more than three months, we have been under strict restrictions. I can’t go out of my house as my parents also don’t let me go feeling it a threat to life. Perhaps, my parents think I can be one among the list of killed boys like Tufail, Bilal, Iqbal or any other who have been killed since June 11 this year. I cannot even look even to our academic books as we haven’t spent a month in college and from past month we are not even allowed to go to tuitions which is in neighbourhood.

It has become hard for me to spend a whole hollow day. I have been just updating my Facebook status then checking for the comments several times a day. I also comment on the pro-India Facebook pages. I engage in simple discussions to make the point that we want Independence. Though, these discussions turn out into fights and then into zero results.

I always look out of my window for the forces.  It has become miserable to live sometimes they don’t even allow us to go for prayers. After every prayer I check Facebook pages for the news as local media is banned to broadcast or publish news.  During the leisure time in day I go for a nap, hopeful that I may wake up to an independent Kashmir but it never does. My dreams are also occupied by Indian forces as I often have night mares of being hit by a bullet of central reserve police force (CRPF), army or police forces.

I only think of three things to do these days:

  1. Get up like the PEASANT.
  2. Survive like the CAPTIVE.
  3. Go back to bed ANOYED.

Muhammad Owais is a student of commerce from Kashmir University.

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  1. Curfew nightmares is a collective story of the Kashmiri youth: the youth that has been left paralyzed by the stringent curfew yet finds itself seething with claustrophobia and frustration mingled generously in the boiling cauldron of anger!
    The emergence of social networking sites particularly facebook as a forum for giving vent to this noxious claustrophobic feelings has metamorphosed facebook from a networking site to the sine qua non of our lives. while I often get irked by the lack of tolerance of Kashmiri youth on fb and their readiness to engage in melodramatic fights, it must be conceded that four moths of incarceration isn’t exactly a harbinger of cool mindedness.
    The other issue raised by the author: the travails one has to procure for purchasing commodities essential for our routine lives: milk, vegetables, baby food, medicines etc. is a sad commentary on the callous think-tanks who are trying to brow beat Kashmiris into submission. For them I have only one advice to offer: Newtons Third law of Motion which holds equally true invariably for most things in our lives: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The backlash generated by these idiotic immurement techniques might be such as will be impossible to control!