This is the story of a couple who decided to live their lives far away from the shadows of guns in Kashmir.

We were neighbors. Born in the same year. Played together in the same park. Went to the same school. Same college. Same university.

Soon after completing our university, we got married. It was an arranged marriage. But we were always in love with each other. Our mothers decided the marriage one day while they were buying the vegetables from the market.

Her father was an Imam in a local Masjid. We both learned Quran from him. My father was an Urdu teacher in a Govt School. We learned Ghalib, Iqbal, and Faiz from him.

She used to write poems. Whenever she wrote a poem, she would come and recite it to me. I, too, sometimes would write a short story and narrate it to her. We both loved reading and writing. The most common thread that connected us were words.

 I would sometimes tease her for signifying the moon with a cluster of cheese for a child in a full bright night. Her poetry was deep for me to understand at times. She would get so angry when I was not able to understand all the metaphors and other nuances of her poetry.

Soon after our marriage, she got appointed as a teacher in the same Govt School my father was a teacher once. A few months later, I received a letter from one among the prestigious Universities of India providing a scholarship for my Ph.D. She was happier than I was.

We decided we both would go there, rent a room and she would apply for another degree in the same University.

Our flight was on Friday. Alas ! on Wednesday night, some LeT terrorists visited our home and told us to stay in Kashmir. They asked us as to why we were leaving Kasmir. Suddenly I heard gunshots outside my house. Our area was cordoned by the Indian army. The LeT terrorists were very upset and blamed us for tipping Indian Forces. They wanted to keep us hostage to help them break the cordon. Suddenly one of the terrorists got scared and pointed a gun at my head. When I tried to tell them that we had no role in the cordon by the security forces, one among them hit my head with the butt of his gun. I could hear my skull crack. Then everything went black. I was unconscious for quite some time and then I lost all my worldly feelings.

The last thing I remember is her kiss on my bloody lips. My blood and her tears tasted like an eternity.

Now up above, I’m alive. I eat and I drink with other martyrs. My soul was put in a Green Bird. Every day at twilight we return to our homes – the pendulums hanging beneath the Arsh. There, we are allowed to watch our dear ones on earth.

I see her writing poems for me. And as her tears touch the verses, I taste the salty tears on my lips. My lovely world was sacrificed at the altar of unending bloody war in Kashmir.

19 Feb 18/Monday                                                                                                      sajiakhan.sk2016@gmail.com