Never have I approached a subject so warily as this. I can review the book and not talk about Kashmir but that is cowardly. Cowering behind literature when opining about Kashmir is the shortest route out of controversy.
Before proceeding further I can safely say that Malik Sajad’s work, as a personalized account of life in Kashmir, is impactful. This is a graphic novel, not a treatise or fact finding report. So any criticism about it having omitted the Kashmiri Pandits’ plight or the Pakistani side of the story or the politics falls off it like blood off a lotus leaf in the Dal lake.
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
I crave meaningful conversations. A good conversation is a surefire way of ensnaring me. Have one such conversation with me and like an opium addict you’ll find me lurking shifty eyed and shuffling in your vicinity for the next hit.
Of late though I find myself parrying and thrusting around many acquaintances.
Even in the best of times I am not an enthralling raconteur and cannot hold forth a story or a conversation. Among my many past times is re-imagining old conversations where I time my comebacks, interjections and insights to perfection.
The reason for failing to step into the deep end of conversations is a fear of what I might encounter. With a few strategic nudges I have struck the mother lode of evil in many familiar faces. A sympathetic demeanor will take you deeper into the vile workings of some hearts. Oh, how many times have I forestalled conversations starting to veer into prejudices and xenophobia.
There are instances where I have miscalculated and found myself misconstrued as a confidante. The party could be inextricably intertwined in my existence or maybe I do not find the presence of mind or tact to extricate myself from their disillusion quickly enough. In such cases, I always come
away with an unclean feeling of harboring a secret and of having colluded and partaken in an unholy ritual. A pact that I am beholden to honor until I can find a suitable misstep by that person
to reprimand him and in that process also shake away any complicity in our terrible conversation.
Kashmir, is one of those many manholes that could open the hidden passage into the carefully camouflaged sewers of human baseness. However if you happen to enter one such manhole and on descending find a sanctum of tranquility and love that could be your oasis of truth. A preciously refreshing sanctuary to retire. To get away from the blight.