Wails from the Vale
One had only seen, heard and read of the Kashmir Valley and the turmoil that the people are facing before one actually got involved in the issues. I saw it in the idyllic olden romantic movies. In my mother's ecstatic descriptions of the actual colour of that particular flower or dress and not the shade of grey as we siblings saw, in those silverfish-eaten but well preserved black and white photographs of Kashmir till they were lost to the burnt house in the next communal riots.
Over years the images of Kashmir one was exposed to, started changing. Colour red started taking over. Slowly over the last 15 years enough blood of human beings could be drained to actually have covered the whole canvas. Now for most people outside Kashmir, it is a place of gun battles and grenades! Blood, gore and the colour red.
I had also read and heard about it from the earlier poets who sang - about the colours of the Valley in different fizas, about the people who loved life and living, about the syncretism of the Sufi way of life - till their pens also started dripping blood and their voices faded out in the din of the sound of bullets and grenades. They still write and sing but of the pain and the sense of loss that has descended.