It will be a love story.
A late morning walk when the sky was pearls and drifting puffs of white, and the grass a rush of wind and gold. There were flowers, too – spilling in colours and life and sap. If you try to say their names in the tongue of the East – Niloufar, Sumbul, Gul Bahaar – you can smell them in your lungs.
There is this story they told me about the azaan that took twenty-two men to call because they kept getting shot. That day the sky was rage and grief. It keened in dust and wind, and the tyrant took shelter in houses made of sticks.
Perhaps it will be the paint of the Persian that lives in the walls of our khanqaahs; the high ceilings and the doors that beg the believer to come and be lost. Or it will be the white dome of Hazratbal that stands over the city and the blue heavens above it.
When I wake up, I hear durood pouring over the yearning air of empty streets. It is carried from mosque to mosque until it becomes one voice carried from ear to ear…
Before we buried our grandfathers, each said, “When we are free, come to my grave and tell me.” We have dead awaiting freedom and graves awaiting words.
I will remember Kashmir in La illaha illala. We say it in our beginnings and we say it in our ends.
I will remember it in the gardens with flowing streams. I will remember it sitting beside Al-Kawthar, for indeed Abundance is ours.