Wednesday, September 12, 2007

35th Year of Existence

Raevem kati anzeraevem vaens
Tinke phaelen mansevaem vaens(Moti Lal Saqi)

The English calendar hade a note of caution for me this morning. It wanted to say ” you have stepped into senility” but what it instead said was it was 13th of September 2007.
35 years I have existed on this earth. What use I thought was my being here but since I was bundled off by God almighty from wherever to here I had no option but to exist till God bundles me off elsewhere. I know he/she/it whatever God Almighty stands for, can be cruel, unfair and biased but what power do I have but to accept his/her/its will with flinching faith and disobedience.
I have swung between faith and infidelity. There have been times when I have had profound faith, but at times, with equal zeal would negate the very existence of God and sometimes go a step further. I would say “God Exists” but is an evil manifestation, enjoys bloodshed and anarchy. I would substantiate it by quoting how world history has few moments of peace and calm, but is replete with violence despite our belief that God keeps sending his messengers of peace or sometimes appearing himself to set things right.
Yesterday I went to buy a book as a present for my 35th year of existence. I had gone with an intention of buying Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”. The bookseller who is a Nietzsche and a Picasso rolled into one, is one the most well read people who I have ever met. He sells old and used books at a footpath in Nehru Place, while he keeps sketching, people have a hard time finding a book. He seldom tries to sell any book. He intrigues me and interests me a lot. He doesn’t wear his religion up his sleeve but sports a beard which looks Islamic. I couldn’t find the book I wanted, exasperated, I asked him if he had short stories of Kafka. His question stupefied me. He said, what are you scared of !I said nothing. He replied we would read Kafka, if he lived in Gujarat and I lived in Pakistan. An argument I disagreed with but I did say I needed Kafka then. I am in exile, I am a Kashmiri.I ended up buying a small book on Greek Philosophers and Dostovesky’s Crime and Punishment. I had to leave Dostovesky in the company of Abhinavagupt when I fled my land, my reason for reading Kafka.
My birthdays in Kashmir would often coincide with a festival of Pan (a fertility cult goddess festival) which Kashmiri Pandits celebrate. Kashmir at this time would be looking all dressed up to welcome winter, the chinars with their golden leaves would resemble the last embers of a Yogi’s sacred fireplace and people would be earnestly shopping for Kangris.Weather would be pleasant and the chill of the night would add to the flavour of grandmas rendering of Saen-kaeser. On this day I would generally miss school and run around rice fields where people would be harvesting paddy. The pastoral lifestyle, which I miss everyday makes me curse God,while cursing I fear the reprisal when I will stand on the day of judgement.

In bated breath I recite Ghalib’s following verse

“Ibn Mariam hua kare koi,mere dukh ki dawa kare koi
Bak raha hoon junoon main kya kya kuch,kuch ne samjhe khuda kare koi”

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Dead End

Dead End
The road to what was once my home in Kashmir....zuv chum bramaan ghare gachehae..