This is one of the most disturbing reads I have had in the recent past.
Having grown up in a free environment with friends and family, celebrating festivals, we were able to go to school every day, meet people, live and laugh. But when I read this book from a Kashmiri teenage girl’s perspective, I shuddered. There are people in one part of my country living such a hopeless life fearing that today might be their last day on the earth. Afraid their family members who left for a menial chore may or may not come back. Dreadful indeed.
In places, it felt biased but there is no denying that civil people are suffering in Kashmir. Reading this book, your heart will go out to all those innocent beings whose only wish is to live a peaceful life, eat freely, roam around as they please, and not survive in fear. They have no other agenda, they just want to live but all they find is depression and hopelessness.
We are all aware of mental health issues and working to address them but this one provoked me to think. People like Farah and her family have been dealing with trauma and anxiety for a long time but working on their mental health issues might be the last topic one would talk on. The hair-pulling part wrenched my gut and I just wanted to hug that young girl. more without giving spoilers, so go read it.
Some quotes from the book –
- To expect change in the season in a month’s time felt less like a reality but more like rumours of spring.
- One day, she said that wanwun belonged to the funerals of young men now rather than to the weddings.
- The marching seeped into our silences, punctuated our conversations with pauses, which, in turn, jumbled our thoughts and our language.
- Who knew they would eventually become landmarks and become a part of our addresses: ‘the house next to the small bunker’, ‘the lane before the large bunker’!
- That wasn’t surprising, because living in a conflict zone had taught us that the broken stayed broken for a long time.
- IT IS FASCINATING HOW FAST people adapt to their new circumstances. It’s as if the old ones never existed.
- Doctors diagnosed the condition as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, like they did for everyone else. Mir, a friend of mine, once joked that the acronym’s expansion needed a revision in Kashmir. It should have stood for Perennially Traumatic Stress Disorder, he said.
- Though the writing in Urdu looked appealing and calligraphic, it also meant wrapping notebooks with unending deaths, killings, arrests and protests printed on those broadsheets.
- The newsprint smiles on the faces of the models in the advertisements made me wonder if I would be a different person altogether had I grown up away from a conflict zone, outside of a disputed territory.
- Our lives were controlled from elsewhere and the dreams that we dreamt were always at the mercy of someone else, someone occupying us, ruling us.
Available on Amazon Kindle Edition, Audiobook, Hardcover and Paperback.