‘Emergency Calls Only’

Sometimes days turn into nights and nights into months,
And we have not seen each other.
I know she wouldn’t venture out; nor did I,
Wait for her glimpse.
She is too far, yet too near.
I picked up the phone, but,
There is ‘emergency calls only’.

There are loops of barbed wires, barricades, guns, checkpoints.
When the phones are dead, the internet cut, and there is a curfew, I die.
I die every moment to see her.
I die because I will be without her.
I die because I miss her.
We die and miss each other.
My phone becomes my tormentor as there is,
’emergency calls only’.

Sometimes I am on the verge of tears, frustration, and anger.
Sometimes I look at my phone just to see if the towers are back.
But ’emergency calls only’ blows and breaks my heart.
Sometimes I die to see her name pop up on my screen,
But it is ‘emergency calls only‘.

Sometimes I look at the shining moon, wondering maybe if she is looking too;
Sometimes I allow caged moonlight to spread on my bed,
Like a quilt,
Dreaming in the sleepless nights;
It is she.
Sometimes I hug the darkness of night,
While tossing and turning, with ceaseless thoughts about her; unable to sleep.
I reached for the phone but it is just ’emergency calls only’. 

Sometimes I think of myself as a restless river and her a tempest.
Sometimes I think of myself as pepper permeated breeze,
Of summer’s night touching the peppered lake of her eyes.
Sometimes I kiss every inch of air, thinking it must have touched her.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and eat cake,
Thinking she is there with me when it was my birthday.
I rush to make a video call, but it says ’emergency calls only’.

Sometimes without her,
When yellow tepid sunlight of morning, arrives in my room,
I get scared.
Sometimes while looking at jackboots, I cry.
Because they, they too look lonely.
I feel pity for them while holding us up, chasing us,
Killing evolving love stories, snatching loved ones.

Sometimes I want to snap those mobile phones,
And tell them what it is not to hear the voice of your loved one.
And make them understand, the meaning of,
’emergency calls only’.

Sometimes dreadful dejection overwhelms me.
Depressed, I am confined, to my room.
Sometimes I sketch our beautiful dreams amidst bullets, blood,
Corpses, coffins, chaos, cries, disappearances, deaths, pain
Among disappeared people and protests.
But there are just ’emergency calls only’.

I am yearning for her.
I am missing her.
I am missing her voice.
I am missing her giggles.
I am missing her smiles.
I am missing our morning talks.
I am missing our late-night goodbyes.
I am missing our husky morning voice.
I am missing our tired evening voice.
I am missing our laughter.
I am missing our fights.
I am missing our missing each other.
I am missing us.

But there are just ‘emergency calls only’.

Khalid Bashir Gura is a Kashmir-based journalist working with Kashmir Life and is a media scholar at the University of Kashmir. He tweets @khalid_gura.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty