5th August

The Caliph, Haroun-al-Raschid
The Commander of the Faithful
Used to walk the streets of Baghdad
By night
To feel the pulse of his people

Were someone like him,
To walk the streets of Srinagar
What would he see?

Four year olds
Who have grown up
Amidst concertina wires
And soldiers in battle fatigues

Four year olds whose
Older brothers and cousins
Have inexplicably vanished
From their lives

Four year olds whose parents
Sometimes, unaccountably
Look at them
Then, look away and tear up

Four year olds who wonder
Whether their birthday
Is a cause for celebration
Or mourning

Sunder and Sonati have been living and growing a forest on a small piece of land in Thekambattu in rural Tamil Nadu for the last 20 years. You can read their blogs here and here

The featured image is an illustration by Pariplab Chakraborty. To view more such illustrations, click here.