I am a child of the conflict-ridden Kashmir. I came to Kota with my mother’s dream of me becoming a doctor. But it now seems like, that dream has turned into a nightmare.
Everything was going well till I received a call from home on 4 August. Little did I know it would be the last call I would receive from my parents in a long time.
My mother told me to be strong, because the situation was turning tense. I was warned that the internet and other forms of communication may be suspended, My father told me, “Khayal thawizi panas, soan barizi ne parwai, ye khudayan laekhmut aasi ti waati." (Take care of yourself. We live in Kashmir and know anything can happen. So stay strong. And don’t worry about us, we will be fine in the coming days.)
Before our conversation ended, he said, “We trust in God, and you should to”. But now, it has become very difficult for me to stay all alone in Kota, to not be able to speak to my parents]. Imagine, my mom used to call me FIVE times a day! In fact, my mom used to be my alarm clock for my morning classes at 5:30 am.
Since my grandfather’s death, my grandmother used to call me everyd ay because she was lonely and wanted to speak to someone. I used to make her laugh. I wonder who makes her laugh now.
Whenever I felt low, I used to call my mom and dad and they used to motivate me. But for the past couple of weeks, I’ve not been able to speak to them. I carry my phone with me wherever I go, hoping my family will call me. But the phone doesn’t flash the number I want to see, even as I write this, I’m waiting for their call.
I’m sure my parents are equally worried about me. I miss my mom asking me if I’ve eaten my lunch. I miss her waking me up in the morning. Asking me how my class was. I miss my parents.
Since the lockdown, I have been unable to sleep at night. I have nightmares of something happening to my brother. It’s been 20 days since I last spoke to them. I have no idea what is happening there.
I tried to contact some officials in Kashmir. They gave some helpline numbers, but the call never went through. I wonder if anybody values our emotions.
In Kota, there are around a thousand students from Kashmir. I’ve been studying here since Class 6. Imagine the condition of young students, living miles away from their families and unable to talk to them. Our studies are getting affected by this emotional trauma.
That’s not all, we live in hostels, for which we need to pay our monthly rent. As the internet is suspended, our parents are unable to transfer money into our accounts. We are short on cash.
Could we please restore normalcy in Kashmir?
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