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When darkness turns to light

Posted in 2008 Summer Public Service Program by kashmircorps on July 7, 2008

The temptress that is Kashmir has lured me back again. Nearly a week after we were evacuated from the guesthouse at 5 am, a truncated group of interns are back to hopefully finish the projects that we have been working on for many weeks. On the way to the airport last week, I kept thinking to myself that it may be years until I see this place again. I thought I may never again see Hzartabal’s green hue twinkling over Dal Lake at dusk, or see a lone shikara bobbing in the distance as we drove on the long winding road that hugs the lake. Sometimes it feels so good to be wrong! So here I sit once again in the gazebo at the Shadad guesthouse which we all have come to call home trying not to let the colors and scenery distract me from writing the report which I will present to the people at J&K Bank by week’s end. I would just like to take this opportunity for a moment of written silence to remember all of those people who tragically lost their lives during the protests and those who continue to live in fear in parts of the area….

That being said, I want to give a shout out to the interns who could not make it back and I know if it could have turned out differently, we would have all come back together. But those who have made it back to Srinagar, are trying to make the most of the limited time we have. As I write, Arif and Amin are out and about getting interviews with doctors and nurses and hospitals in the area. Hiba is under the weather but I know she is looking forward to getting back to the orphanage ASAP to continue working with the students and finally, I am doing what I usually do; listening to music, playing air drums, and trying to properly word the report that Atif and I spent many hours collecting research for.
The happenings of last week give outsiders an idea of what the Kashmiri people have been through in the past and paint a very telling picture of how things need to change if Kashmir is to overcome its demons from the past. And even though I really love this place, it took a lot of convincing myself to be comfortable enough to come back and finish out the project. It is really sad to see that a large majority of tourists have left the area and the flight back yesterday was nearly empty.
I am really looking forward to getting back to work and seeing the people that have made my job easier. Whether or not the proposals that Atif and I have put together are implemented is yet to be determined but if we had not finished this project, I know I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. Mainly because Atif and I made a promise to the vendors at the market that we would do our best to have their demands heard by the powers that be and being back has given us the opportunity to do so. Atif may not be here physically, but I know he is here mentally and will continue to contribute to the report as best he can.
Finally, I would like to give a huge Thank You from all of the interns to Ashai Uncle for everything he did for us on that fateful morning. I know that personally, I am deeply indebted to him and appreciate what he did for us and all of the thank yous in the world would be an understatement. So now I will get back to work on this report and hope that the small amount of time I have put into this project will result in something substantial and initiate an interest in Kashmir that snowballs into permanent change and a return to glory of the Kashmiri people.

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2 Responses

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  1. Anjum Kherani said, on July 9, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Kashif even though your post was no where near as amazing as your first “butterflies” post, it was nothing short of the perfect description of Kashmir. I really wish I was there with you guys right now and even though I couldn’t make it back, reading the blog is a reminder as to why I came to Kashmir in the first place and why I want to continue to work with KashmirCorps, the HELP Foundation, and everyone else. You all are in my prayers and I hope I get to see you guys in Delhi.
    – Anjum

  2. Hafsa said, on July 11, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I love the title for this post.

    I’m looking forward to being on the JKBank’s case to implement your guys’ proposals!


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