Jhelum thumped down silently, whisking the reflections of the then Kashmir with the unpolluted waters
As a part of educational assignment, while downloading “Sindbad Machama”, a series from popular play ‘Machama’ of Radio Kashmir, I was transported to another world—the world of nostalgia! It pushed me back to days when people of my generation were in their school, faintly mature to listen and comprehend the character of Machama.
The Zoon Dab of our childhood was also lively. It resonated with the spirit of the times: calm and complacent ambiance with no idea of an unforeseen edgy future. Everything was quite typical. Everyone lived a habitual life. The humdrum social and economic affairs dominated the scene. The commentary on them was simply conventional, with the main character Mame playing an idealistically satirical role.
Life of a common Kashmiri family was full of vibrancy. From a small celebration to any grave sorrow, family was strongly interlaced in an intimate bond. Social affairs were exemplary. Neighborhood bubbled with the cultural camaraderie that knew no barriers of religion or caste. Friendships were sincere and spotless. Learning and earning was wholesome as well as innocent.
Dealings within and without family were honest and candid. Levels of trust and expectation were high, and genuinely so. Blithe and beautiful, the life was sensitive towards even the minute things and happenings around. A cry somewhere would hardly go hoarse; an ailment anywhere would rarely go unnoticed; and a problem wherever would barely go unattended.
Jhelum thumped down silently, whisking the reflections of the then Kashmir with the unpolluted waters. Dal waved and shimmered around softly, mirroring the tranquility and stability of the captivating musings. Zabarwan mountains illustrated the force and fortitude of people. Every falling Chinar leaf burnt with a loving desire of selflessness. Anything around was symbolic of undaunted survival brimming with undiluted sentiments.
Places were yet to be polluted. Minds were still untainted. Life was hassle free, and so were the people. Radio Kashmir delivered accordingly. Creativity was preferred and promoted. Dreams were painted and projected. Unforgettable masterpieces were honed and styled. Lala Joo and Sons, Veath Rouz Pakan to name a few. The connection between the people and the place seemed deep-rooted.
Today, we cannot dream. We can’t even dare to dream of dreaming. Dreams were all that we gave for free to our masters. The robbed and ravaged souls, hence, lack both the conviction and composure. Raheem is in a moral dilemma. Raina is in an identity fix. And Radio Kashmir is facing a professional predicament.…
Today, we don’t have the songs. Hollering and howling have become our songs. Our songwriters are wearied and wordless. Our singers are voiceless. The whole orchestra possesses dubious credibility. And the dull surprise is that Radio Kashmir feigns to know nothing of this sort….
The sense of reality evades us. It posits two opposing worlds: one idealized and forward-looking; the other dark and foreboding. We are held up in a position that banks nowhere in the middle. Our issues and problems are umpteen. Our concerns and solutions are scanty. And Radio Kashmir continues to be a mute spectator to this imbroglio….
Our individual self has no narrative to narrate. All our narratives are buried down the ‘enforced’ oblivion. The irony of times has consumed the vigor to relate and recount the barrage of ingenuous experiences. Though our collective has an influential say but it has chosen to be sightless. And Radio Kashmir prefers to be tacitly blind….
Mosaic of memories tells that there is a downslide in everything that can be remembered, and the actual undercurrents behind this downslide are not truthfully reflected anywhere. We even fear narrating them to ourselves! Meandering away from the candid confessions, we are in fact caught on a greasy ground of genuine and blurred history. So far we have failed to acknowledge and exploit the confusions that have emanated out of this dilemma. Instead of using them for conjuring a simple and effective way to break up the chronic stalemate we are meshed up in, we continue to harp on ridiculous exits.
So, hasn’t Radio Kashmir stopped singing for us?! All subjects have gone lackluster. All themes have lost romance. A strange banality has hit every melody.
Of course, during yesteryears Radio Kashmir reverberated the ethos of the era, rather than singing the alien tunes. There was, perhaps, no poignant pathos to project!
Those were the days of yore. Machama is no more. So is the Radio Kashmir….
And so is the Kashmir, lost somewhere in the vast obscurity which looms on a future that neither the present nor the past can dictate.`