We read articles in magazines and newsletters on personal experiences of how militancy forced hundreds of thousands to flee Kashmir to move to different parts of our country. There is no comparison of my circumstances to move with the extremely harsh and unfortunate ones faced by those that moved from Kashmir. I just want to share my experiences of the time.
I spent most of my growing up years in Delhi, but had to leave my house in the city and move to another house solely due to militancy in Kashmir! This was the house I spent all my childhood in, which carries precious memories which I still cherish.
Well, my uncle was the editor of a leading daily national publication before switching to be a freelance journalist. We all lived in a joint family. I remember it was 1989. One evening my uncle called up from work and told my mom that some uniformed guys would be coming over; so not to get alarmed or scared. That was easier said than done. I remember that we were scared to see them sitting in our verandah, waiting for our uncle to come. I had no idea why suddenly there were 7-8 policemen at my house. A million things crossed my 15 year old mind.
Gradually we got used to seeing 10-15 CRPF personnel guarding our house 24 hours for security. Then I came to know what it was all about. My uncleÂs name was prominently appearing on the hit list of dreaded militant outfits. You had to see it to believe it. It looked like any other typed list but had pictures also - And on such a list I saw my uncle's picture with his name. My heart sank.
Could it actually be happening to us? One only hears about such things or watches them in movies. We used to be called every time visitors came, to verify if we knew them before letting them in our house. Once, my uncle asked me and my sister if we required guards to our school for security. In our young minds we thought, Wow - we were no less than VIP kids like Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi who studied in our rival school. But we decided to say 'no' as it would be really embarrassing to walk around with guards. The security guards on duty at our house would keep changing and once we had a Kashmiri Muslim who we used to offer sheer chai every evening.
These guards would come inside our house every Sunday from 9-10 A.M and for what? To watch the mega serial 'MAHABHARAT'! Believe me all this was very exciting till things started getting out of hand. My uncle told my dad to move out of 'our joint family house' since it was no longer safe for the family to live there. Suddenly we had to live through this nightmare-moving from our home which was like an ancestral house. We did not know any other part of Delhi and no other part of Delhi was as beautiful or unique as the one where we lived.
How would we survive anywhere else? The first time I visited my uncle back in our old house I howled like a kid.
J.F.Kennedy has advocated "change" in his memorable quote:
"change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future".
It was time to move on......................
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