It was 19th of January 2016 when I saw pictures of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference – APHC) with a phenomenal smile on his face. Seeing these pictures on his Facebook fan page, I loved his smile and I asked my mother, “Yi koutha cute” (How cute he is!). She replied, “Who?” and I showed her all of the pictures of Moulvi Sahab in excitement.

His amazing pictures were captured in my mind, so a dream about him was a sure thing.

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After having my dinner, I had a chit chat with my friends and it was around 10:00 PM when my rest-stricken eyes closed as I napped.

Unexpectedly, I found myself awake as my mind forced me to rouse up. It seemed that I felt like my heartbeat had frozen silent.

I was yet to come to terms with the nightmare and its traumatic experience. What a scary dream it was? I found myself in the Central University of Kashmir, at its Nowgam Srinagar campus. The scenario was entirely different. What I saw was: Many strange faces around me, an unconstructed building – bricks clearly visible with the rooms without doors.

The surprising thing was that only the lecture hall of Department of Convergent Journalism was unaffected. I must say that my classroom was already well maintained where walls were painted in lemon with two of the landscape photo framed on one of the walls.

The room was occupied by new furniture: the chair in blue connected with the table in white ceramic colour; big podium besides the chocolate painted window and the rusty orange coloured table in front of the professors’ maroon chair resembled with the maroon carpet of the floor; the ceiling painted in white and two hanging fans with the same colour as that of ceiling were somewhat noticeable.

Astoundingly, the guest of the day in our lecture hall was the head cleric of Jamia Masjid Srinagar, Moulvi Umar Farooq. Somehow, I got a chance to talk to him. Without looking here and there, I directly expressed before him, “Everybody likes you, just because of your fascinating smile.” I told him that I have just one word for you Moulvi Sahib: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I said it a bit loudly and he smiled while putting his hand on my head. People felt pleased when they saw smiling faces all around.

Dreams can be so strange and vague! Within no time, I found myself at some unknown place – a dark-greyish village with the shades we observe in old black and white movies.

It was winter in that village and people, especially men, were seen wearing cloaks – the traditional Winter dress of Kashmir known as ‘Pheran’ with white skull cap ‘Toouff’ and white-cum-black trousers. Footwear was not clearly visible, but I saw people of the village keeping the traditional fire pot of Kashmir ‘Kangri’ with them all the time wherever they went.

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Wearing traditional cloaks embroidered with tilla artistry and their heads covered with long white scarf “Khasa”, women were mostly busy with the household chores. The eye-catching copper-plated chains over their scarfs with long hanging jhumkas from their ear lobes, big and small necklaces of silver hanging around their necks were visible to me.

I saw a boy with short and trimmed beard, his eyebrows were like mountains, brown almond shaped eyes, round nose like that of Bollywood actor Salman Khan, round face with flat forehead, straight fluffy black silky hair, wearing a grey check cloak with light sky-blue jeans. He was around 22 with 5 feet and some 6-7 inches of approximate height.

Well! The boy was known as one of the handsome, simple, sober and smiling person of the ambit who always desired to remain silent and preferred to be alone.

In the meantime, Army vehicles halted in the area. Wearing long boots, they all came out of their vehicles one after another and one of the Army men grabbed the boy’s collar and pushed him inside the armoured vehicle to take him away with them.

People gathered there and asked the Army personnel for the reason of his arrest but they retaliated without saying anything, piercing knives inside the eyes of the people, shooting bullets on their heads and backs and then started kicking them like a football. The Army convoys then ran over the dead bodies. It was really scary! I felt as if I was physically present there.

The convoy left the boy whom they had come for. However, they reached a nearby stream and stopped their vehicle. They grabbed the boy’s collar again and took him near the stream and started hitting his head by gun butts. They hit him three – four times and he fell down unconscious. Believing him dead, they left the place leaving the boy there.

After some time, the boy somehow managed to stand on his own and he slowly walked through a straight path. After treading the path for a while, he reached some other village which was his actual homeland. He had been away from this place for almost 10 years, he had lost his memory, and now he started recalling all he had lost.

He was one of the best students of his school, who left his studies midway. The killing of innocent people by Army men pointlessly compelled him to be a rebel and join militant ranks.

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He made his name in one of the most wanted list. Every now and then, his hometown used to be cordoned off; search operations were the routine task for the Army as of believing the boy would try to meet his loved ones.

One day, he managed to reach his home to meet his beloved father. His father was happy to see his son back, however, both broke down in tears after a warm hug. In the meantime, somebody knocked at the door and his father stood up while signalling his son to hide in a nearby cowshed. As his father opened the door, an Army man came inside the dark room and started questioning him about the whereabouts of his son, for which he repeatedly denied his presence there.

The room was painted in dark green, with various photo frames of the boy-turned-militant attached on the wall, two windows covered with brown blanket making the room much darker, as the boy liked it to be dark and silent. The essence of night was fully observable in day time as well.

On the other side of the room, there was a chocolate-brown chair and table. Besides the table, there was a cupboard, full of novels and poetry books as the boy was believed to be a book lover. Also, some of the books, authored by the boy himself, were lying on the table.

Although, the rebel returned to hug his father again while keeping his head in his father’s lap, he left for heavenly abode moments after. The father was trying to console his son but unfortunately, his son was no more. The father bid a farewell kiss on his son’s forehead who left this finite world forever.

Abruptly, I found myself crying in real. Amid sobs, I tried to solace myself by taking deep breaths. I swiftly switched to my phone, which I always place beneath my pillow, it was exactly 01:30 AM and the environ was pretty dark in unruffled silence. The warmth beneath the quilt was endearing but to quench my thirst, I tried to come out of the quilt to begin the search for water but the scary dream made me froze.

This dreadful night and the scary dream made me pick up my phone and type it. Even if I forget, the place I live in will make me remember the dream for eternity!

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