Beauty in tragedy
My green vale looks greener in silence
KASHMIR BY KHAWAR KHAN ACHAKZAI
Unusually, sometimes beauty finds its way in the times of suffering and plight. Just like a lotus that grows in a stinky swamp and is at its best bloom just before sinking in it or like the fallen leaves of autumn that appear as a sheet of gold on the earth while in reality they are in their obsequies..
This ‘naturally unnatural’ truth I realized a few days back, when tired of the curfews I went out for a drive on a curfew day. The experience left a permanent impression upon my mind. The single day gave me enough for the lifetime. Trying to be safe from the clutches of the ‘security’ forces, twisting and turning through the small lanes, I finally found my way to the main city which was the base camp of my mystical experience of ‘Beauty in tragedy’.
Maybe because I was born in the same place and I grew playing in the same streets, I had never realized the beauty of the nest I belonged to. But the day gave me enough time to reflect upon it… The Roads were desolate and the sunrays reflected from them as the breeze blew gently during the midday time. As soon as I started entering Amira Kadal by the side of Jehangir Hotel, I was left speechless by the view of the clean road, the trees and the cool air flowing presented. There are many other places in the world which have been made to look better but there was something natural in this scenario, something unrealized and something losing in the oblivion. I remember my Dad, who equally intoxicated by this view as I was, saying, ‘Will the lanes of London be better than this??’
The roadsides were partially covered by the trees and that cast the shadows upon the roads in patches, each time I passed through the unshadowed part I felt that mild heat reflecting and making me uneasy but as soon as I entered the shadowed patch I felt like an inhabitant of paradise, this was just like the paradigm of now burning Kashmir which at times had been a paradise and we all hope for a shadow which will cool it down and let us breathe again.
Due to the absence of vehicles and people the air was clean and pure as if it had just now come from the breasts of the Chinar trees. It presented an unusual aroma of something like wet crushed leaves and I had a feeling as if I was walking through an orchard on a rainy day, the orchard that had been left isolated and ignored but where the essence of life still existed in its best forms.
As I passed through the fountain near the Abdullah bridge which was running for to the unreal and invisible saints of naturalistic fundamentalism, the small droplets of water entered my car and each droplet was like life to my corpse of technical and materialistic ‘human’ and this time I had a weird feeling of jumping below the fountain and enjoy a reincarnation or a rebirth..
What followed was the unending shadow of trees and cool replenishing breeze that stoke my imagination and took me to my childhood, when we used to cross from Burn hall school to Sheri Kashmir stadium, the smell of the soil was filling this breeze and making making me nostalgic and I felt like me and my friends Shoaib, Monis, Shuja, all sitting beneath a colossal Chinar tree and having the best time of our lives…. Where did the times go??? Do the children still enjoy sitting beneath the Chinar trees??? Do the Chinar trees exist??? Does the childhood of children exist?? Do the children of Kashmir exist?? Maybe they will exist until the showers of bullets don’t finish them up..
I couldn’t help myself getting into this eccentric feeling of beauty, nostalgia and death. It built itself to the point that I had to struggle to keep myself conscious so as to drive properly, at least until I reached the crown of the heavenly beauty of Kashmir, ‘The Dal Lake’. As I was heading towards it through the road by Grand hotel, I witnessed one of the best combinations of nature, the blue sky above, the green meadows, the fragrance s of the flowers and the bluish green water flowing on the sides.. This all seemed to be living and speaking, speaking the tales of the saints of antiquity that once inhabited the vale. And probably the only thing that now spoke in Kashmir. The snow covered hills seemed chanting the hymns that praised the creator who was beautiful and loved beauty.. The deserted roads were helping me to ponder upon this marvel more deeply and with poetic instincts that try to derive pleasure in the worst of the pains..
It is an odd feeling to be surrounded by solitude when you should be in the midst of the people.. At dusk when sun hits the Dal water it paints an orangey hue. It’s simply stunning and tragic, stunning in the sunlit moment and tragic in that a large number of people who fell to death in recent days won’t be there to witness it again.
There was only one Shikara on the Dal and it looked like a dolphin trying to scream its heart full of miseries out, or it was me who felt it. There was no sound of vehicles, no kiosks of roasted meat (seekh tuj) and no sounds of children running wild. The only sound was that of the flowing water and birdsong.
This was the beauty that you can’t enjoy. With the shadows of pine and Chinar trees there was one more shadow, the shadow of clouds of a frightening present and a dark future. With the chirping of birds and flowing of water, there were the unheard cries of wailing mothers….With the smell of soil, flowers and leaves, there was one more smell that filled the air, the aroma of blood of my brethren that fell to the bullets of the tyrant…
(The author can be mailed on facebook under the profile name: ‘Abu Moosa As-Salafi’)
Lastupdate on : Thu, 2 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 2 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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