It’s been 24 days since I am under house arrest thanks to the pandemic that has brought all our lives to a standstill. So instead of losing my mind I am trying to make it as productive as possible and since I suck at watching movies during my regular routine, I thought this is a good time to watch all the movies.
So I watched Hamid last night, a movie that also made me be thankful and question my privilege that lets me watch a movie on Kashmir but the people whose lives the movie is based on have been in dark for months, without access to even basic information, forget entertainment.
It is a heartbreaking movie about a 7 year old Kashmiri boy whose father disappears one night and like zillions of other Kashmiri men never returns. Later he figures that 786 is Allah’s number and somehow tries a permutation and combination of numbers in an attempt to speak to Allah and request him to send his father back. Coincidentally, the number belongs to an army soldier (who is also struggling with his own baggage) and over the course of the movie we see a bond developing between them, a bond that transcends all man-made barriers and politics that straightjacket right from wrong. The innocence and perseverance of Hamid is enough to move even a stone to tears, for he is only seeking answers that will lead him to his father. He wants to know why has his father mysteriously disappeared one night and will never return? Who will tell him that he is too young to understand the price the likes of his father have to pay for being caught in a quagmire so big that all of us fail to comprehend its tenacity?
I was crying bucket full of tears and for people who know me they know that it might not have to do entirely with the film but how deeply I am invested in Kashmir and Kashmiris. I was pausing every now and then, bawling cause every moment stirred so strongly that I felt like I am running out of breath. It is also a story of triumph of the age old adage of good over evil cause Hamid does not give in to the evil of radicalisation and tries to be a boy of good words and character, something that his father always wanted of him. I was wondering is it just me who feels so strongly about this? Or if anyone who only knows about Kashmir through movies and news articles also feel the pain? Will they also question their privilege and acknowledge that people in the valley often suffer at the hands of an uneven power? There is so much I can go on and on about but since this post is about Hamid and how an indelible mark it left on me, I will conclude the post with the following thoughts and hope that you’ll will watch the film and question your privilege as well.
Last night I was hankering you,
For you had forgotten the cell of my remote
I had waited patiently all day to watch the match.
You immediately sprang out to fetch it for me.
For days turned to months.
But you never returned.
I would sit by the window sill
And wish for you to walk in through the door,
hold me tight and,
take me on a ride to the Dal singing our favourite song.
Since it had been a while,
a while that I felt the magic of your smile,
piercing through the deepest pore of my skin
and taking away all that had been weighing down on me.
I spoke to Allah and asked him to send you back,
To give me another chance,
Another chance to be a better son,
so I could show you my good character.
But you never returned.
I was angry, broken and directionless.
I kept pleading to Allah to send you back,
even then you never returned.
I wanted to run away,
to a land across the mountains and seek revenge.
But Allah told me you may never return,
but you’ll still want me to be a man of good character.
And in that moment, the pain turned into strength,
Strength that would propel me to finish the Shikara that you had started,
So I could take Ammi for a ride to Dal,
Singing songs to her the way you did.
And when she finally smiled,
I could feel my soul coming back to life.
I wanted to treasure that moment safely in a box
So no one could steal it away.