The television set is on all day. It is our only link to the major events taking place in our own state. All of us — barring those breaking curfew and risking death — are confined to our homes.
Wednesday, Day 53 of protests sparked by the Amarnath land row, was less gory than Tuesday, which saw 13 people killed in police firing across the Valley. But the protests still continued everywhere, with police repeatedly clashing with protesters, leaving over 40 injured.
Money and food are both running out. Those with lakhs in their accounts are as vulnerable as those with no bank accounts at all: ATMs are shut, you cannot withdraw a paisa. The shops and bazaars are shut as well — if you hadn’t stocked up before the crisis began, you prepare to starve or beg.
Fortunately, many families have kitchen gardens, and are now living off the produce, sharing it with friends and neighbours. “I have a big kitchen garden. In these difficult times, it is my duty to share my vegetables,” said Waheeda Jan, of Kanipora, Nowgam.
Normal life is at a standstill. Schools are closed. While children play computer games, their parents stay glued to the TV. The advertisement scrolls on local channels make interesting reading: almost all of them are announcements of weddings being cancelled.
My family had five invitations to weddings during the period of my visit. Only one was held. The number of guests could be counted on the fingers of one hand. On the way back, my car’s windows were smashed by a mob.
I never expected this when I flew down from Delhi a fortnight ago, to visit my parents to visit my parents whom I hadn’t seen for over a year. There was the added attraction of getting away from Delhi’s heat.
What a holiday it’s turned out to be.