A Call from Home

By Majid Maqbool

Checking a Kashmiri Youth’s ID Card

“Card chukha seath thavaan?”

(Do you carry the ID card with you?)

Mother worries over frequent phone calls

Away from home, home enters questions

‘Identity’ printed on a piece of paper

cuts through her voice; a discomforting lullaby:

“Card gase hamashe seath thavun”

(always carry the ID card with you)

Home leaves a permanent imprint…

On scattered notes, stamped on memories

At home, mother would tiptoe after me

At the door, before endless blessings, she always asked –

That question mothers have for their sons –

Protesting Kashmiri Women al (Yawar Nazir, IMOW)

“Card tultha seath?”

(are you carrying your ID card?)

From Delhi now, your question settles on my unrest

Identity – detached from the card – hangs heavy

This is not Kashmir, mother

“Toete gase card seath thavun…”

(Still you must carry the card with you…)

The line dropped on this insistence

I kept redialing, to rest her concerns,

her unfinished questions, unanswered

Hello..helloo… mother

Can you hear me?

I left the card at home, mother

In the back pocket of my worn-out jeans

Interrogating Identity in Kashmir

Find: a fading photograph, scrutinized edges

And no trace of those unrecognized questions

forever inked on my memory

For troops to question my absence

The proof I left behind is not enough

That frisked ID card remains

like a festering wound, pocketed pain

I carry everywhere



Majid Maqbool is a young journalist/writer from Kashmir.  Some of his writings can be found on his blog maqboolvoice.blogspot.com.

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