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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Blog: The ‘price’ of our home in Srinagar...

Why don’t we know the measurement of the land on which our great grandparents built a home? Why don’t we have the documents, the drawings that turn lines on paper into a real house?

opinion Updated: Aug 09, 2019 14:38 IST
A Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stand guard during restrictions in Jammu, Friday, Aug 9, 2019.
A Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stand guard during restrictions in Jammu, Friday, Aug 9, 2019. (PTI)
         

I asked my cousins on the family WhatsApp group, the dimensions of the piece of land our home in Srinagar stood on. Not one in that dozen has an exact idea. They threw guesstimates and we ribbed each other, for none of us knew the correct answer.

Why don’t we know the measurement of the land on which our great grandparents built a home? Why don’t we have the documents, the drawings that turn lines on paper into a real house?

Because for us it wasn’t land, a house, or real estate. It was just home.

Since Monday, I have been inundated with congratulatory messages, with questions about home.

While most think scrapping Article 370 means putting us on the next flight home; I have lost count of the number of people who had questions about my “property” in Kashmir.

“Is your house there... do you have land...how much land... have you sold it... will you take it back... how big is the house...there must be something...”questions I have no answers to.

For the first time in all these 29 years that we have been away from home, I have been compelled to think of home as real estate. For the first time I am I’m hunting for measurements of the house I still call home.

In that house I grew up in, I heard no conversations about acreage, even when it was burnt down and taken over years after we were forced out in March 1990 at a dreadful hour of the day.

I can tell the living room was large; and the room where my grandparents secured in muslin folds their son’s memories, was considerably small.

But I don’t know their measurements.

I don’t even know if I am going back. Since it is presumed that we are, I cling to hope.

And hope is where I stop.

I don’t have answers to where we will live if we go back, because our home is no longer ours. I have no answers to whether our neighbours will be happy to have us back. I have no answers to whether there will be peace or the simmering fear and mistrust that preceded the fasaad (turmoil).

I don’t know if people will listen to why a mere order on a piece of paper that morphed into a monster over the years, is better scrapped of. I don’t know whether the acrimony between communities will increase, or more blood will flow, or the so-called winning of hearts will ever happen.

I don’t have answers to so many questions, just as I don’t have an answer to the value of our home.

How does one put a price to a home?

First Published: Aug 09, 2019 14:33 IST

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