A Strange Invitation

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Written by: Heartbroken Soul

My legs gave way, unable to bear my weight anymore. I collapsed at the very familiar wooden door. The door which had always remained open for me. The door of the house where I was always welcomed as a daughter. The door behind which dwelled the preachers of peace.
Sitting on the grass, head bent low, deep in thought, her words echoed in my head for the umpteenth time.
“When are you planning to get married, hmm?” I tried to search any twinkle of joy in her eyes yet my gaze returned back unsuccessful.
“I don't see, I'll live for that day to come in my life,” she replied coldly.
“Why? You're a smart and pretty girl. What do you lack?”
“The desire. I don't want to get married now.”
“You don't want to go to a new home? Your own home?”
“Yes, I do. Most certainly, I look forward to going to that new home of mine.”
“Then, I'll find a good family for you.  Myself,” I smiled broadly.
“Wait! You didn't listen to me completely. I, my body, my soul, anxiously awaits the auspicious moment when I'll be on my way to my new home. My permanent home. Where there will be no sorrow. Where I'll meet Abba and Bhayya. Where these brutal beasts won't be wandering and attacking every innocent soul. Yes, I am restless for the moment to come...”
She was saying so much more in her flow. A tear slipped down my cheek. I knew what she meant. I couldn't complain. Brave are those people who live here and despite through going through so much agony have not lost their minds.
I was deep in thought when she shook me by the arm, “Tasneem, Don't be sad. I'm going to invite you still. On one very special occasion. You have to come and see all the preparations yourself. Will you come?”
“Anytime!” I gave a weak smile.
“Yes, it could be anytime. Because it's a surprise. For me too. It'll be unexpected in its arrival time. Yet expected. This sounds crazy.” Her breath was coming in short gasps due to the excitement she was in.
“What occasion? Which invitation are you talking about?”
“The invitation of my martyrdom ceremony.”
I was dumbfounded.
She kept talking, “You'll know somehow obviously. You'll have to do all the funeral preparations. Won't you prepare your best friend in the best way when she'll be about to go to her eternal home? To her Lord…”
The enthusiasm and exhilaration on her young face shone like a light.
“It is nur. Definitely. The nur of eeman!” I said to myself, hiding my tears.
“Get up, beta. Why are you sitting here? Come inside,” Umme Saeeda pulled me up. “I can't go inside, aunty. How am I going to face her? I'm so ashamed I wasn't here. I wasn't in Kashmir when all this happened. I was away for studies. I'm sorry, Saeeda. I'm sorry, aunty,” I embraced her, crying bitterly.
“Saeeda is in a very peaceful state. Your wailing might hurt her. She was your friend. Our blood. We didn't cry like that over her. I'm happy my daughter has joined her Abba and Bhayya. She's at peace now. Come and see for yourself.”
I marvelled at the courage of that elderly woman. Through tears, only a blurry image of her was all I could see. Yes, during all the time I had spent with her, I had only known her this much. A faint image of her grand personality. Then how wouldn't her daughter be great when such blood ran in her vessels? That of this iron lady and a Shaheed father. At last, the body was in front of me. Blood-stained body. Of Saeeda Hayat. True to her name that fortunate girl lay in front of me. Peaceful, in deep sleep.
“I love seeing martyrs’ blood-stained bodies. It gives me energy. Motivation. Zest.”
It was Saeeda. I had never heard from her of any of the usual list of desires which girls of her age usually crave for. She would talk about battlefields, gunshots, falling blood and bodies. She was fond of the true stories of the freedom fighters. She was so different from other girls. Her company gave me a strange hope and happiness. That the day is near. Of the freedom of Kashmir, Insha’Allah.
After Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s shahadat, on the call of the separatist leader, Asiya Andrabi, the daughters of Kashmir came out in her leadership to show the coward Indian Army that even daughters of Islam know how to fight for their rights and freedom. When the cruel monsters opened fire, Saeeda being in the front row got seriously wounded and passed away.
As she had said, I gave her ghusl. After all, I was to prepare her for her eternal journey where she's going to meet her Rabb finally.
Standing by her body, draped in the shroud, I am thinking the land for whose freedom not only men but women and children have given their blood… that land cannot remain under the enemy's rule for long.
The bond between Kashmir and Pakistan is unbreakable. Because it's the bond of love. The bond of brotherhood. The bond of Kalimah. The slogan of Kashmir haunts my nights to date…
Pakistan se rishta kya?
La illaha illallah!!!
In sha ‘Allah, soon the dawn of independence will rise there and the children of the Shuhadah will breathe in a free Kashmir, In sha ‘Allah!