Curfew separates a father from son


My dear son 
There’s a reason why I’m writing this letter to you and at the same time, making it public also. This will serve you as a small manual to find your way out of the troubles of life. 
Life, fortune and mishaps are unpredictable: nobody knows how long he lives. Some words are better said early. I’m your Papa, and if I won’t tell you these, no one else will.
Twelve days ago, you left for your grandparent’s and unfortunately while you were still on your way, the news of the killing of the local Hizb militant, Burhan Wani set everything into a jittery. You were travelling in the train that was to take you straight to the hornet’s nest as your grandparent’s live close by the encounter site. A few kilometres perhaps. Though the distance was large enough to keep you safe, the subsequent uprising that consumed some 45 human lives, made it feel extremely small. I haven’t heard from you ever since though the last call before all the phones went dead—that you were about to reach your destination, has to some extent mellowed down my uneasiness. 
However, your continued absence is getting on my nerves now as I hear horrible stories of young boys being targeted in their eyes by pellets the government forces fire from those ugly guns. Yes, the same guns, I have time and time again, been advising you to stay away from despite your stubbornness to have one. You wanted an air rifle some time ago and I’m happy you’ve fallen silent in your desire. Let me reiterate my son, guns are guns and no matter what they are loaded with— bullets or pellets, they hurt. I hear most of the young boys who have received a volley of pellet fire on their faces will never be able to see again. What a tragedy!
Son, every bullet that hits a young boy snuffing his life out is a heart-wrenching experience and as a father I feel the pain right in my chest. There’re people who’re willing to kill and strangely, people who’re willing to die. While this entire ‘massacre in slow motion’ was being carried out in Kashmir, a single incident that send a shiver down my spine was when a truck driver in France mowed down over 80 people including women and children. I was awestruck, dumbfounded and unable to utter a word on this senseless act. What’s more troubling is that an outfit carrying a black flag on which is inscribed Prophet Muhammad’s seal, claimed responsibility for the dastardly act. How can somebody kill and still brag about it, is something that I can’t come to terms with. I simply can’t understand this senselessness, son. It’s sickening. I felt for those fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, little children who were crushed under the wheels of the truck driven by a deranged man. Sometimes, this is enough to take your faith away from the religion you’re identified with. It happens with me too and I too sometimes, blame religion for all the bloodshed and ills mankind has seen throughout the course of history. However, it’s not so for it were, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would haven’t been nuke bombed. This is a disorder that can be set into order again, and it’s in your hands.
I admit I haven’t been a good father, neither should you take me as your role model and by the time you’d grow into a man, I perhaps, wouldn’t be there to guide you. However, you mustn’t feel yourself trapped in difficult situations ever. There’re some good books you could derive your lessons from: Bible, Quran,Telmud, Bhagwat Gita—they all teach you the same thing, and if you still need someone you’d feel you should look up to, you must read Shakespeare, Milton, John Hopkins, Al-Ghazzali and Rumi to begin with. They’ll illuminate your path with the light of wisdom, courage and spirituality and you’d learn a lesson of perseverance to achieve what God has sent you here for. 
Remember son, pain is a universal stimulus and it’s very important to perceive it. However, if your perceptions are misplaced, you’d simply end up broke. You wouldn’t arrive at a sound judgement with what to do with it if it ever overwhelmed you. I could give a you thousand examples of events that have caused pain to a person or a community and how people responded back, but I want you to go into the psyche of it with a very simple example that instantly came to my mind while writing this letter. It’s a bit funny one too. 
Years back in Afghanistan, a caged lion at a zoo maimed a young Afghan and he later succumbed to his injuries. The lion wasn’t at fault or was he? A man had crossed his territory and ventured into a beast’s and paid the price with his life. Story finished. No, it didn’t. The brother of the deceased young man, however, couldn’t take it and he decided to avenge his brother’s killing. He flew into rage, grabbed a hand grenade and went to the zoo. He spotted the old lion in the cage and away from everybody’s gaze, hurled the grenade towards the animal. It exploded with a bang and seriously injured the lion. The poor animal was blinded in one eye. It later died despite the best efforts of the zoo staff to revive it.
The example offers in itself the psyche of human nature. It wasn’t the religion of man that took the life of the animal. Fortunately, the beast had none. Yet something established a relationship between the two. It wasn’t even hatred. There was something else behind it that killed the beast. It’s that bloody sense of revenge, my son that proves its own executioner. 
Pain is a sweet thing, my son, and it must occur to you— the intense the better, for it’s the pain that teaches you the most important lessons of life. Turn your wounds into wisdom. If you ever make your pain the reference point, you wouldn’t be able to gauge the pain of others. It’s important to walk out of your personal pain to feel the pain of others. The wound is the place where the Light enters you. 
Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has the responsibility of treating you well, except your mother and I. To those who are good to you, you have to treasure it and be thankful, and also you have to be cautious, because, everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really likes you. You have to be careful, don’t hastily regard him as a real friend. 
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. 
Son, Dalai Lama, says: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them,” and remember what our dear Prophet has said: “Killing of a human being is as killing the entire humanity.”  
Don’t cling onto justifications to kill for killing on one side is equally heinous on the other side also.    
Quoting Britney Spears until next time:  “With love, you should go ahead and take the risk of getting hurt because love is an amazing feeling.” 
 Hope to see you soon, son.
Always affectionately 
Your father 


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