I Was Killed Soon After My Marriage In Kashmir

I tasted the salty tears on her lips when she kissed me the last time.

We were neighbours. Born in the same year. Played together in the same park. Went to the same school. Same college. Same university.

Soon after completing our university, we got married. It was an arranged marriage. But we were always in love with each other. Our mothers decided the marriage one day while they were buying the vegetables from the market.

Her father was an Imam in a local Masjid. We both learnt Quran from him. My father was an Urdu teacher in a Govt School. We learned Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz from him.

She used to write poems. Whenever she wrote a poem, she would come and recite it to me. I, too, sometimes would write a short story and narrate it to her. We both loved reading and writing. The most common thread that connected us were words.

I would sometimes tease her for signifying the moon with a cluster of cheese for a child in a full bright night. Her poetry was deep for me to understand at times. She would get so angry when I was not able to understand all the metaphors and other nuances of her poetry.

Soon after our marriage, she got appointed as a teacher in the same Govt School my father was a teacher once. A few months later, I received a letter from one among the prestigious Universities of India providing a scholarship for my PhD. She was happier than I was.

We decided we both would go there, rent a room and she would apply for another degree in the same University.

Our flight was on Friday. Wednesday night, I was killed by Indian Army.

Our area was cordoned. They were suspecting Mujahideen in one among the houses. They stormed our home and began to beat whosoever came in sight of them. When I tried to protect my family, one among them hit my head with the butt of his gun. I could hear my skull creak. Then everything went black. I was semi-conscious for quite some time.

The last thing I remember is her kiss on my bloody lips. My blood and her tears tasted like an eternity.

I’m alive. I eat and I drink with other martyrs. My soul was put in a Green Bird. Every day at twilight we return to our homes – the pendulums hanging beneath the Arsh. There, we are allowed to watch our dear ones on earth.

I see her writing poems for me. And as her tears touch the verses, I taste the salty tears on my lips.

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