By Roy & Dee Kay
“Jannat!” the echo overshadowed the sound of typing of the keypad. She had gotten familiar to that voice yet it brought her a shiver amalgamated in a thrill, just like the time she heard it for the first time in her life.
She looked up from her laptop to the faraway mountains that stood formidably penetrating into the sheath of dense dark clouds and smiled meeting her old friend.
Today’s night seemed to be different from the previous ones. Swinging in the hammock chair that hung from the roof of her balcony, she kept pouring her untold feelings veiled in form of a story on her blog while the silent mountains kept a watch on her.
She believed that mountains spoke to everyone; the only requirement was to listen to them with the broken fragments of your soul. This was how her first blog post – “The Bleeding Society” came up, two years back when she had nothing else to her but a laptop, tears of her broken emotions and those echoes of the faraway mountains. The frosty fragrance of the sultry snowflakes recovering from the last dying sun-rays under the cool twilight of the moon had brushed across her face as if to kiss away those tears and preserve them in the enveloping snow of mountains. It was a bond that those mountains forged with her over tears while filling the ambiance with one name -” Jannat!” that alike this place meant Heaven, a heaven everyone craves but no-one is willing to work hard to build.
She drew her strength from those centuries-old mountains that faced alike the harsh frigid iciness of nights and the sweltering heat of days. She always tried without fail to emulate the calmness of the mountains that quietly endured the unabated rage of nature. She learned to compartmentalize her insecurities and transform them slowly into reticent prowess similar to the way how mountains made themselves invincible under adverse conditions.
In that small town amidst the landscape of vast pristine greenery, she had been failed by the flimsy society time and again. Since her childhood, she witnessed her mother and her friends being forced to live under the definite rules of the community. A community that ignored the likes or the dreams of a woman and subjected them with the objectivity of sheer existence either to provide pleasure or to hold liable. The hilarious fact was that her father was a martyr who fought at the borders to keep safe the same hypocritical society.
Moreover, the tradition of worshiping Mother Nature while disdaining the females in the society had always confounded her. She had seen her friends getting cheated by their lovers and to be married by someone else, their hobbies to be overlooked as if they never even existed, and the continual subjugation by people around them that finally rendered them into a living corpse. Yet the faltering society could not diminish the fire inside her rather amplified her dream. The dream to seek freedom tearing down the shadows of the judgemental society. The hope to make her voice so loud and clear that others can derive solace out of it. The determination to make her words her weapon to pull apart the dystopian skewed society only to create a new one where the only religion was love and the only tradition, respect.
Her first blog post did add fuel to her flare of ambitions as it went viral within a few hours of getting published. Not that it made her apple to the eyes but knowing that her words were being able, to tell the truth, and evoke the subjective sentiments was something that she had only envisaged in dreams. The weaklings looked at her as a crusader and the charlatans branded her as a feminist.
Her journey of fighting the injustice within the widely accepted social norms has began with a small blog post. She wrote the ground reality of the troublesome traditions and criterion faced by her and people like her on a daily basis. A lot changed in those couple of years. The blog that started from the bitterness faced by a late teenage girl had mellowed into the mature thoughts of a young adult. The articles that followed her first post gave voice and face to her emotions that were shared by masses not only in that small village but also across the bigger cities and other states. The duality of this society of telling one to live on their own terms while forcing them to live on a predefined set of terms. She dreamed to bring about a revolutionary change in the culture and thought process. She was hell-bent to do so no matter what lay ahead. The mountains seemed to have taught her well.
The blend of rationality and logical views in her words left the orthodox radicals with no answers other than to stigmatize her. The opposition political party showered pretentious support on her while the ruling leaders and the extremists invested their power and money to hunt her down. She was able to see through both the fake encouragements and the shallow threats. The true inspiration for her were those persons who decided to help her keep burning that dwindling fire of change. The significant turbulence due to those articles that the state witnessed in that span of time was like a bugle announcing the arrival of young visionaries.
Nobody knew who in reality was she other than just that the pen name Jannat was fighting for creating heaven for the weak and the scared. And so, they waited eagerly for her new posts, equally, be it her fanatics or her fans.
“Jannat!”, the voice called for her. This time it was not the mountains but her mother.
“Jannnnaaat”, her cries converted into screeches.
She turned only to find a heavy blow to her head that made her fall from her chair onto the wooden floor of the balcony. Her vision blurred and her head rattled with a concussion from the fall. She forced her eyes open with her full strength to see who knocked her down yet she could only see hazy images…four strong built figures clothed in dark long robes with covered faces holding rifles in their hands…her laptop thrown at a distance lying upside down near the balcony railings…and a screaming old woman that ran towards her from behind those men. Her heart started to throb on a frenzy mode as if it would tear apart her flesh and come out. She wasn’t afraid. She was in a rage. Yet all she could do was howl…
that ended up in the screeching sound of the rifle.
With one thud the old woman fell over her daughter.
“Aaammmiiiiiiiiii”, she hollered with every cell of her body…even tears betrayed her.
“You wanted to bring a revolution but we came with the end.”, one of the men shouted.
He held her hairs in a fist and dragged her to the edge of the balcony. She did not quiver or shudder. She just stared at her mother’s corpse while being hauled by the radicals while the stream of the red fluid oozing out of her mother’s body rushed towards her as if in the last moments her mother’s blood reach out to safe her from the fate that awaits.
The entire atmosphere was filled with the haunting laughs of the hooligans. The leader yanked her by her hairs, making her stand on her feet and pinning her to the pillar. The others held her hands.
“You have to pay the price for every sinful word of your lies.”, he yelled at her while ripping away her clothes.
He pulled his robes up and pushed himself inside her. He looked deep in her bloodshed eyes. He thought that she would beg for mercy…that she will shout for her dignity…that she will regret her words. Yet all he saw in her eyes was a deepen universe of rage and unbroken strength. With every thrust in her, she didn’t flinch but stared him down…those dead stares made him realize how weak they were in front of her…those stares revealed how predictable they were. Though she stood bare, yet it was they who were naked and vulnerable at that moment in front of her. Her stares made them look less of the man they so blatantly were trying to project.
He could not bear her stares anymore. He pulled himself away from her while the others were waiting eagerly for their chance. Yet her emotionless face and those dead stares were too much to handle even for that cold-hearted sociopath. He took out his pistol and stuck the muzzle on her forehead, hoping to incite fear but failed, as she smiled at last. The man holding the gun felt powerless as this young girl just snatched away his last hope of dominating her with a smile while facing imminent death. That smile was not just meant for him but also the society that had already failed her many times. The mountains had taught her well.
He pulled the trigger and pushed her from the balcony, leaving only a fading smoke out of the muzzle.
As she fell, the frosty wind rushed towards her from those snow-capped mountains, enveloping her body with the flakes of snow. It seemed as if the mountains were unsheathing themselves to drape her bare body with white layers of snow. Her eyes stared at the cracked screen of the laptop that peeked upside down from the balcony, filling her senses with the emotions that the words of her last article were about to bring in the people the next morning …the guilt and the shame that they would feel…while reading her words…
“Between Heaven and Hell” – Jannat’s Blog
I look around and find the vast beauty of nature surrounding me, making me feel fortunate of my birth in such a sacrosanct paradise. Then I look again and find the people around me, forcing me to realize that my existence is their fake benevolence.
Torn between heaven and hell, I hope one day my words will bring love among the hate…will bring freedom in its true sense…will provide a safe haven amidst this heaven…
I am Jannat beholding the voice of Kashmir!
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