Few sundays ago...just got up and put on Discovery as usual. "Discover India" was on - time for documentories on India.
What I witnessed next, was a bitter truth of life on the earth...It was a story of a 9 year old boy Arif from Kashmir, a story that would shake up any sensitive heart alive.
Arif lives in a hut built illegally on bank of daal lake, India. His father left him with his mom and siblings for terrorism. Only physical asset this family has is a wooden boat. Arif is the primary breadwinner for the family. Everyday morning, Arif sets up on his boat to find passanger to carry across the lake. What he earns in the process is a small amount, nonetheless, is a treasure that will let him buy food for the day.
That money also allows Arif and his siblings go school and study. They all have a desire to study and aspiration to own a house in future.
When asked about his father, Arif told that he was a terrorist and killed people for wrong. He used to hit his mother and siblings. When asked, what would he feel if he hears his father is dead...Arif simply said - "nothing!"
The interviewer talked to Arif's brother and mom. All are proud of him for the efforts he puts in to run the house. They know the reality that Arif's effort keep them going. Arif's sister answered one question - "What would have happened if Arif wasent working?", quick answer from that kid was - "We would have died!"
In the age of playing innocently with kids round the street, Arif has to spend his day rowing his lone boat no matter how hard the winter is. He once brought home a small puppy that came in the along the way. Perhaps it was the only friend he had apart from his family. But the destiny didnt let them be together long. The puppy died and Arif had to bury it with help of his brother, amidst watary eyes.
This is a representative story of a lot of individuals in this country or maybe across the globe. The documentary was shot over a period of time. It showed Arif breaking ice during hard winters so that he can row the boat to work. It showed arif running to mosque for Eid prayers and unlike others, rushing home after to cover his house with plastic cover so that they can prevent themselves from rain and snow.
Life is tough every day around Daal lake. Every corner is captured by a gunman - either a soldier or a millitant. I have not been to Kashmir personally but from whatever I have gathered by the media, its an amazing piece of nature's work - snow covered mountains, beautiful lakes and landscapes. But today Kashmir represents mountains of human ego and lakes of blood shed due to reasons beyond Arif's control.
Throughout the story, Arif emerges as a Hero. Yet he shows a down to earth character. This simplicity of the character is visible in the day to day events. The kid is like just another kid when he plays with the brother and sister, sadly there are no expensive toys for them.He lists his top wishes if he is given a big sum - house, VCD player, Shikara (houseboat), maruti 800 and wish to get his sister married!
Hats of to the Director who brought this story before the world, and hats of the thousands of people like Arif who live to live their dreams amidst human race of power.
May Arif grow up and fulfil his dreams. Hope We all get to see a more calmer and beautiful earth someday...Amen!