Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Remembrance - 1999 Kashmir

In Brolmo, Kashmir, nothing new ever happened. At least that’s the way it seemed to Fatima, at age ten. She remembers looking into her older sister’s face when the sky began singing its unfamiliar song, and seeing her own surprise echoed there in Aamina’s wide eyes, a look that said ,”Here is something new.”

But after the firestorm of flying metal from the first 155 millimetre shell, Fatima chooses to remember as little as possibly. There were bodies, and parts of bodies in the wheat field and explosions came so close together they became a single scream. They ran towards caves to escape the sky.

About the shell that exploded just outside the cave Fatima has no memory at all. All she can say is that her sister’s hayaat, or spirit was broken and neither of their lives was ever the same.

Under shelling they escaped to Skardu. Fatima says that Aamina lay down and would not get up,

“No one could revive her and not even being safe with our father and her uncles seemed to cheer her. She died after a few days.”

Abridged extract from, ‘Three Cups of Tea’ by Greg Mortenson and David Relin 2006

Fatima’s friend Nargiz Ali says,

“Life was very cruel in the caves. Our village, Brolmo, was a very beautiful place, with apricot and even cherry trees, on a slope by the Indus River. I couldn’t leave to play outside or care for animals, or even pick the fruit that we watched ripening and then rotting.”


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