Across The Street 

​“Noor! Open up the door” Reham said while knocking at the door. Noor slipped out of the bed and opened the door. 
There by the door was Reham, standing in front of her with two large bowls of chocolate ice-cream with  metal spoon poking out of it. “Ummm ….. Chocolate, you know me very well”. Reham smiled and Noor gave her own one back.
 Reham was Noor’s best friend from a very long time, they were in same school but now Reham lived in other part of the state because of her college.
 Noor took her bowl and sat on the chair in front of the dressing table and Reham sat on the bed right in front of Noor. 

Reham was busy in texting her boyfriend while Noor numbly stared at the window. 
“Laybha is dating Saad!” Reham grinned. “Noorh, I am talking to you” Reham threw a pillow at Noor. “Yeah I’m listening……..gosh Laybah talks like a chipmunk on drugs “Noor let out a humorless laugh and then licked her dry lips, trying to avoid any eye contact with Reham.
 “Alright, what’s up?” Reham asked while finishing off her ice cream. “Nothing ” Noor frowned up Reham just her a look. “Nothing? Your eyes are red, stung from tear” Reham said, “I know something is wrong”. 

“It’s nothing” Noor bit her lips and then robotically finished her ice-cream and put the bowl on the table, staring at her warped reflection in the spoon.
 But she couldn’t help thinking ………… Was it any less warped in reality. 
“Noorhhh! Tell me “Reham said and pulled her hair out her face, bringing her small mirror out and lip gloss to touch up.” Everything or else I’ll never talk to you” Reham stated in a serious tone.
 Noor got up and walked towards the window. She looked out and stared at the empty road. “A girl who used to wait right here, near this window just to see a guy pass through this road………….died”. A tear ran down Noor’s cheek. 
“What? What girl? “. Reham’s lips parted in shock and she narrowed her eyes. 
“Wait!! Are you talking about that guy??? Gosh!!! I can’t even remember his name. You never talked much about him.
 You loved him?
 You guys broke up?
 Did you guys even date??”
Noor shook her head and looked down without answering. “Ehhhhhrrr… Noor, speak upppppp” Reham yelled. 
“Naah….. It wasn’t love” Noor cleared her throat while tears built up in her eyes “But the way I felt around him made me think it was pretty damn close” Noor whispered under falling tears. 
“Then why are you crying?” Reham asked.
 “I am not crying because of him. I am crying because my delusion who he was shattered and the delusion that he liked me shattered”. Noor wiped off her tears. “I thought he came to me because he thought I was beautiful, or that he thought I was funny, kind and smart. He didn’t come to me because he had fallen in love with me. He noticed me because I was there. He noticed me because I looked easy, easy to play with”. Tears poured out of Noor’s eyes and she looked through a blurred vision at Reham. “It is okay” Reham whispered “It is okay” placing her hand on Noor’s hand. Noor nodded and turned to Reham with a smirk but both of them knew just how broken Noor was on inside. 

There was a silence for a moment- an eerie and unnerving silence. 

Reham let out a small breath, watching a girl crumble in front of her. But this breakdown was different. Reham felt like she was talking to an empty person. 
“I feel worthless” Noor sighed “I was so naïve……….. Sooo naïve. I used to look forward to him, every morning when I woke up and every night I closed my eyes. I gave him temporary feeling, I gave him happiness, then regret. He never touched me still I feel sick”. Noor stared at the ground as her tear fell silently. “It wasn’t your fault” Reham said but Noor’s teary laugh cut her off. ”It was…… it was all my fault. I should have known”. Noor said trying not to blink so the tears wouldn’t fall. “I should have known that all I was doing was digging myself a hole that I couldn’t get out of”. Noor licked her dry lips and walked towards the mirror.

 She looked at herself in mirror briefly, all she saw was a girl with hollowness inside.
 Noor looked at Reham and bit her lips “yesterday …..Ummmm…. he passed in front of me. He knew I was watching, waiting for him to look up at me for once, but he didn’t. I waited till he disappeared from my view”. More tears fell out of her eyes and a sob escaped her lips “can you believe it, a guy who I liked so much passed in front of me after a year and didn’t even bat an eyelid”.
 “Sick” Reham muttered. 
“But as he was disappearing” Noor continued “I tried to bite back the feeling of how……. sick I felt. It wasn’t the first time I felt sick because of him, every time he left me, I felt pathetic. I used to let him leave first” Noor’s voice finally cracked and she cried tear after tear. “Not willingly “Noor cut herself on and took in a large gulp of air. Reham continued to look at Noor with a sympatric look, hearing every word she spoke.
 “And with him I felt a part of myself leaving too. I would stay up at night and then think. First about the future he mentioned, then how it will never happen. And then about good times and it hurt because I missed them, not the person but the times and when I was done suffering in my sorrows, my thinking used to become questions and then questions turning into doubts. Then I realized I wasn’t anything more than a time pass. I used to feel dirty, sick and pathetic every time he left”. Noor froze after she blurted out those words. 
Reham came closer to Noor, holding her gaze for a moment before she engulfed Noor in a very tight hug and kissed her shoulder.

 “And yesterday when he left without looking at me, the girl who liked him died right there with his disappearing image leaving behind a body filled hollowness in her chest that hardly recognizes herself in the mirror. I cried and cried till I couldn’t shed anymore tears. And then I realized I am done with him. Now that I am over him I don’t see him in that way anymore. He wasn’t anything above ordinary. He was just a boy, a boy who wasn’t brave enough to keep his promises and to keep me” Noor licked her dry lips, feeling the weight off her lack of sleep drag down on her. 
“These low life people will never understand the innocence of care, genuinety of kindness you have for them. They always break hearts to fix and heal themselves up….. Shallow people” Reham tightened her grip over Noor’s waist. Then looked at Noor with a soft look “one day a guy will come in your life. And he won’t end up as your almost lover but as your first and hopefully last love” Reham giggled. ”Some things have to end so better things can begin”.

Some things have to end so better things can begin 

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Let a Kashmir speak…

​Kashmir – extravagantly beautiful place where snow white mountains cover the valley. The valley of flowers, apple orchids, beautiful birds,dense green forests and magnificent Chinar trees,  standing tall.

This is how kashmir is explained. Isn’t it?

But what if i tell you, this is not the same kashmir i see!
What if i tell you, i have heard a true story of a child who wanted to love, who wanted to play,who wanted to learn and most importantly who wanted to live.But now he is not here anymore. Because now his mother is stitching his shroud. 
What if i tell you,  i can still hear the screams of a sister drenched in tears. It was his brother’s wedding next week but now he is in death’s sleep.
What if i tell you, i have seen my brother turning blind because, the pellets pierced his eyes. To whom i explain, he wasn’t a national threat. He just went out to buy curd.
What if i tell you, i have spoken to a father who never saw his son again after that day. His eyes had grown hard and bleak.
What if i tell you my paradise is burning?

What if i tell you people of kashmir have been bleeding for decades? 
Would you still stay silent?

Would you still turn your turn your face away?

Would you still turn a deaf ear,a blind eye?

Would you? 
Yes you would! Because you are!!!
Can’t you see?

We are bleeding! 

We are crying! 

We are cringing! 
Where are you??
Look at us! I dare you all.

Look at us, for we are flesh as much as you are.

Look at us, and tell me, how do we deserve to die.
Can’t you hear us screaming??  

Can’t you see us being killed??
We are here sighing, languishing in kashmir ‘s alleyways. 
Untill you don’t, we won’t  let us and our children die.

Until then we have stones against their bullets.