"The Braves Arise "
|t has taken me a complete year to visit these two places. It feels as if I have completed the jigsaw puzzle of my life. I must have passed Barbar Shah and Jawahar Nagar a thousand times in the last one year, but I never went to see the homes. The minute I would see Wazir Bagh I would start looking for Jawahar Nagar boards. When I would see State Bank of India on the corner of Jawahar Nagar, I knew that home was somewhere near.
I guess it was destiny to wait.
So I began my adventure of locating both the homes.
First it was 361.... I asked countless shopkeepers regarding 361.
One of them asked me, "Aapka wahan kaun rehta hain? Kis se milna hain wahan apko?"
I was speechless and stunned. I had no answer. Emotionally turbulent, I changed my question. Instead, I asked: “Can you tell me where the Qadris stay?” Asking for Qadri's address did not drain me emotionally. It was easier.
After that, the car stopped just outside 361.
The house was being renovated. I had to ask for the permission of the owner to take photographs. My home is his house now.
Randomly, I try to look around, trying to see what my heart wanted to see. But I see nothing. Time has flown by.
Mera wahaan koi nahin rehta.
Barbar Shah: the irony was that I have passed this road a thousand times without any idea of Barbarshah. Standing outside Kashmir Arts Emporium opposite Dal Lake I asked an old man for "Barbarshah ka raasta."
Go straight. Turn right from the bridge.
I called up Tita mummy (Dida Pyari). Her directions confused me.
I messaged Munna Bhaiya and Bindroo Bhaiya. Munna Bhaiya gave an instant reply.
There are 3 mandirs here: Ram Chander Mandir, Raghu Nath Mandir, and Ram Mandir. For me all are Ram Mandirs.
Still, after 2 u-turns from around Kral khud I reached the correct Ram Mandir. A renovation was going on. I reread Munna Bhaiya's message for the nth time.
Cross the bridge.
But there is another one.
Which side of the bridge do I go to?
There was an old man sitting at the "DAR PROVISIONAL STORE."
I asked him, “Thass'on ka makaan?"
He said, "Aapka wahan koi rehta hain?"
This time with determination I replied, "Woh mera ghar hain."
He smiled and pointed. Go straight. Cross the bridge. The first lane on the left. He also said, "Main aapka padosi hoon. Maine Fotedar'on ke makaan khareeda hain."
I crossed the bridge.
My heart was thumping.
I entered the lane.
The deserted wooden homes and crumbling walls spoke that it must have been a Hindu colony.
All of them looked similar.
Now which one was it?
There was a sabzi wala sitting in his shop on the right of the lane.
I asked him, "Thass'on ka makaan?"
Again the same question: "Aapka wahan koi rehta hain?"
I replied, " Woh mera ghar hain."
He smiled and got up.
"Accha accha main dikhata hun."
He escorted me to the house.
Bang. The buland darwaza opened.
I stepped in.
I was scared to death thinking, "I hope I stepped into the right one."
What if some one is waiting with an AK-47 inside?
I saw the blue door—"June 1924"—staring me in my face. I knew I had reached the right place.
Blood rushed into my head. I called up my mom.
I told her, "Main barbarshah gayi thi."
She asked me, "Raasta mil gaya?"
I told her, "Haan haan logon se puchti rahi aur pahonch gayi."
She replied, "Tumhe apne ghar tak pahunchne ke liye, gairon se raasta poonchna pada."
Tears haven’t stopped since.
It is a story of loss and pain, not only for me, but for the entire generation of KP's .
There is no doubt… "We have lost our roots."
|*Sakshi Kaul Dhar is a practising Chartered Accountant by profession, currently residing in New Delhi. She is an alumnus of the Shri Ram College of Commerce.
She hopes to be a radio jockey. Her hobbies include writing and traveling. She dreams of being able to return to and live in the valley someday.
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I have the same storey to tell.
Added By vijay kaul
This is well written Sakhshi. I like the style. Write more often. Blessings.
Added By BL Dhar
Very touching. Could not control my tears. I could relate with u as I am also daughter of Ram Chander and Barbarsha and know exactly where your house was.
Added By Chandra Ganju
I shed a tear. It's beautifully written Sakshi...it touched my soul.
Added By Hether Khosa
This article reflects the internal struggles of our children--youth in general--who are growing up in exile far-removed from their motherland. While trying to forge ahead along with the mainstream, they yearn to reach out to their roots in an attempt to find their real identity and their role in the very diverse situations they find themselves in. The pressure on our youth is immense, to be the future torch-bearers of our rich culture and traditions. May God guide their journeys.
Added By Shashi Razdan
Lovely, lovely article Jiggi Didi. Makes me want to go back "home." :)
Added By Shirin Razdan
Great lines from the nostalgic heart but to no purpose. We must move on in life. All of us as we have found new roots & we must crop up deep in the soil. Donot cry on the split milk.
Added By Ashvani koul
Ahhh...have gone thrice to Karan Nagar. The same thought!! What if someone shoots us down?? Yet the pull of the motherland takes me back repeatedly, just to stare at the gate and come back. I know that if the gate opens the illusion will be destroyed - there is no papaji or bobji there anymore. I would rather go stare at the door n come back and let the illusion be. this article touched a raw nerve...beautifully written.
Added By Geetanjali Dhar
well written.could not control tears rolling down from my eyes after reading "Woh mera ghar hain".
Added By Vikas Bhat
The title of this news should had been... "Tumhe apne ghar tak pahunchne ke liye, gairon se raasta poonchna pada"
Added By san pandita
Its very notstaligic,this summer i too want to revisit my roots, i dont knw, what would i do, if someone would ask me " Aapka waha kaun rehta hai" but i really admired, when she would have said, " Woh Mera Ghar hai" Yes, Our Home is still in our Kashmir, we only live concrete here outside it. And we promise we would back one day.. Its a promise i have given to myself.
Added By Vithal Chowdhary
Time must have come to a stand stil for a while.This was our home and now belongs to somebody else.It was not a willing deal.
Added By Ajay kaul
Very touching and was very much moved by it Hope homo sapiens shall serve humanity well , will not do anything which will shame humanity
Added By Javeed Tramboo
We the kashmiri pandits had to facethis no body on this earth will he lp us,we are self centered and individualist,we donot thinkcollectivlyas marwari's and sindhi do,for so many years now what have we achieved except our memories of our mother land.only one think we could do is by the greatness of shri Bala shahib Thakra the education of our children,i admire him,for muslim cong. is spending. we stand on where.This is my veiw point
Added By vijay kaul
Excellent .Really tears felt in my eyes when I thought of my home while reading lines .Again beautifully expressed & writen.
Added By KEWAL BAZAZ
Brilliant write up. Congratulations! Life is a string of memories that knit together a person; some painful, some pleasuresome and the rest indifferent. Home identifies security, the nest for nightfall. Blessed are those that make that call successfully.
Added By R. P. Sapru