Where did the promised Kashmir ‘summer’ go, the solider freezing in the obnoxious sandbag bunker wonders?
Watching the deserted streets he longs for home, for his family that he carried as passport size photographs in his wallet.
Two summers back he had held his children to a tight embrace, walked them in the plain fields, raced their little steps.
He has caressed his wife, but hid his hands that still had stains of blood, that refused to wash off.
These hands carried scars from the mountains where they had split some young into two; handed the pieces to an old grave digger, put them into pits without names.
It was these scarred hands that trembled when his own son darted for a hug, for the cuddle of his father, for a sought emotion.
Back in the bunker, flares from a dark bukhari glowed in the dark, reminded him of the inglenook and his wife.
Had the children had food, he was wondering in the dark?
From the rear edge of the bunker starts the expanse of the graveyard, unmarked stones for epitaphs, more than one cadaver in many markings.
Innocent been sleeping for long here, back home people are unaware, still in wait.
Mother has been waiting for the young of mountains, whose innocence scarred the soldier’s hand; she hopes he will walk back, someday, one day.
She could never hug him when he was home; her hands want to caress him, her hands want to cuddle, to an embrace so tight, never to leave again.
The fire in her kitchen no more burns bright, the flames burn her but warm nothing. She waits for him every night, every supper, every morsel.
In the cold of the night she keeps a window open, anticipating a knock, in wait for a return. With drained hope she looks out to the blank winter sky.
The solider stares in the dark of the night, the graveyard stares at the solider. Winter is really setting in, winter is already here.
When will the spring come?
20th Dec 2011