It was a peaceful, dark morning. I was jogging down the CMH lane, Muzaffarabad back to my residence at Rest House, Central Plate. It was hilly area gracious environment and pleasant whether I was totally overwhelmed with, that all of a sudden, I found a tiny height gypsy Pathan boy - going across - flashing into my eyes - his tiny lighter’s beam. Due migraine, direct flash into eyes irritate and discomfort me at large, I felt big annoyed with that little laser. But, the very next moment, while curiously looking back at the boy, my annoyance turned into shame, and irritation swapped by compassion, upon finding him leaned down over garbage collecting saleable items from scrap.
So, I finished my jogging on the spot, turned back to him. I conveyed him my greetings, and asked his good name. The beautiful gypsy boy was Abdullah (Bahan), hardly 8 years old. While looking at his face, I found him as brighter and prettier as my son Abdullah. Soon he was accompanied with his same age sister and cousins with bags containing leftovers, hanging over their shoulders. It was Fajar Prayer time. After 15 minutes, I met another gypsy girl of same age named Sumera, whose prettiness and innocence was unmatchable. She was along with 3 more children of age factor 5 years to 9 years.
I have chatted to both groups for 15 to 20 minutes, and talked about their schooling, parents and living. And it was pretty understandable and certain to me that these children’s intelligence and mental capability was much competitive to those, present on the same lane after sunshine with a gap of 90 minutes. Contrarily, but fortunately these were in bright school uniforms. Though their shoulders were also bearing a load - but it was of books, not the scrap.
Bahan's, and some of his cousins and friends are told to be going in a primary school run by an NGO School, but unfortunately, their study level and attendance routine has been found as very casual, not punctual.
2 entirely different worlds within a petite locality and community:
A 45 minutes covered by the gypsy children from their home to the lane for fetching their families, is absolutely at the cost of their future, most truly at the cost of the future of Kashmir.
A 90 minutes breach, ripping apart 2 entirely different events, is proven to be, factually a difference of a light from the darkness, living privileged from being deprived, benevolently cared one from brutally ignored, and a merely glimpse of the nation packed with social and economic inequality and class differences at large.