Wednesday, October 7, 2009

a knock--- tak-tak-tak


Veena p koul

Have you ever lived in a house, where in the mornings you find birds instead of chirping trying to break the window panes with their small beaks?
I am living in one for last one and a half month. Don’t be surprised. I am not talking about any Bhoot-Bangla (horror-house), it is my home, a newly constructed house where we have shifted recently.
It took us 2 years and 5 months to construct this house. When it was being constructed, these birds have lived there and made every cavity in the ceilings, which are normally kept for lights, bulbs and fans, their sweet home. I have been witness to it during my frequent visits to the house during its construction. Often I would see their beaks full of straw, would listen to their chirping sounds, would see at times their eggs dashed to the room-floor and some times had to wipe their shit as well. But I had hardly visualized that what it could mean to these innocent birds after we fit in the bulbs, tubes and fans, close all the windows with glass panes and close the other openings with doors. Our shifting to this new house has deprived these small innocent creatures of their sweet homes.
Now it is one and a half month that during the mornings and after-noon there is only one sound tak-tak-tak persistently resounding in our house. The other interesting thing that takes place in this house is that if you happen to keep any of your doors open, immediately you see some of the birds flying inside the house making beautiful chirping sounds, as if singing and dancing with joy.
I can feel their pain when we have to push them out of the rooms, I can visualize their unseen tears. This is so because it reminds me of our exodus from Kashmir. It reminds of me of my home in Sopore when I was a child and of Srinagar when I was young and I am convinced that no house, how so ever big or small, can fulfill my desire of being at home other than the one in Kashmir, my own native place. Living and being one with Kashmiri Muslim brethren, where you don’t have the identity crisis, where you are recognised and respected, where Eid and Shivratri means festivity for all, is a dream that almost all Kashmiri Pandits like me will be dreaming of. The newly constructed flats and houses may be a refuge for them but not a home.
Till this is made possible, the world has to be a witness to the ‘Tak-Tak-Tak’ sounds from the soft tongues and pens of Kashmiri Pandits.

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