By: Lakshmi Kaul (Founder and Executive Member, Team@KPCS)
I have been thinking and this is a recurring thought. One of my dear friends and fellow activist posted this picture of their home in Kashmir - the home they had to leave behind. He dreams of returning to it - he has an address to go back to. He has seen his real home, experienced its warmth! For many (increasing number) like me who do not even know what their home was, there is a more difficult battle ahead. It is an identity crisis... We are homeless and disconnected. All we have that we can hold onto is pieces of guesswork jigsaw we have/are building from secondary and tertiary memory.
I just feel like an orphan child. Having stuttered and stammered an abrupt response to the much hated question - where are you from?
I do not have memory of being thrown out of my home (I never saw it). I Ofcourse have no idea what pain is... Of living in camps because I have always lived in a 'home' my parents lovingly built for me and my sisters.
Each time the discussion of 'exile' and 'migration' takes place - I am silent as I have no personal account to share. My heart bleeds but to nobody's sight.
The pain is and will be there. The thing we forget is that I am Infact a representation of several who were thrown out of their homes.
The youth today who are pitied and looked down upon and blamed to not know the language or culture / they are the real destitutes. I am them!
And I can tell you - it hurts but we have wounds that don't show.
The pain I feel is numbness and since it seems there is no sensation it's more serious.
The day our wounds show and the numbness leaves us, pain seethes through will be the turning point in this battle. We are the missing links - only waiting to awaken!
A poem that I had written sometime back and some of you will recall..I dedicate it to all those living in exile..
Your eyes have stoned,
The tears have run out,
In the endless wait
To return home...
You are lucky
You have a dream
That you've visualised...
Those brooks of fresh water,
The apple orchards..
I, a cultural destitute
Don't know what heaven on earth is,
It is a mere chapter in my history book,
Or a family holiday that is being planned for years...
These four walls,
Manic, busy schedules
A place I call home
It suffocates me
There is pain
That seethes within
Who am I?
Where is home?