Deaths, deaths and more deaths. Politics is more about deaths and less about life. Everything is a game, and here people are pawns. Every new death is the beginning of a new move. Zakir was planning on ruling ahead, and not resigning, now that there was no one to stop him. He had even asked an Arabic millionaire to wed his daughter to him, so that Zakir could acquire some wealth and strengthen his hold over the valley.
Today was Zakir’s oath-taking ceremony, and Afzal didn’t want to let it happen peacefully at any cost. He needed a bomb blast, a verbal one not a literal one. He needed something that might destroy the little faith people had over him. I was the only one who could help him in that matter. Afzal asked me for a huge favour this time. Indeed it was a huge one, as it involved facing my double-faced father, once again.
‘I’m sure you can do it. Not for me. Not for yourself. But for all the people who are going to suffer for the next five years under a devil’s tenure.’ Afzal motivated me and I felt like a suicide bomber going on a self-destructive mission!
‘I know, thank-you. I hope things go well, see you soon, if I will be alive…’ I nervously smiled.
‘Kavya, listen…’ Afzal held me from my shoulders, ‘You will be fine. Nothing will happen to you, you understand me? I’m watching over you, and I will make sure that your safety is the priority of this mission.’ Afzal hugged me and patted my head. I felt calm, and all the noises just stopped. It was a dead-silence.
‘I think I should leave…’ I loosened myself from his grip and walked out.
‘C’mon, let me drop you to the car at least.’ Afzal walked me to the car outside his home, and made sure I was comfortably seated in the back-seat. He waved at me as his driver drove me away.
I reached the café-street and asked the driver to stop the car little far away so that father couldn’t spot me getting off of Afzal’s vehicle. I walked my way to the café, stepped in and my father was already seated at our little table, which has witnessed too much since I first met him.
‘Why have you called me here today?’
‘I won’t be formal, I won’t be your daughter, I will talk straight today, to the point, crisp conversation. You got me old man?’
‘Ahem…’ he cleared his throat, ‘Seems like Afzal has trained you well.’
‘Oh yes, he has, and his men are right outside, guarding me. So if you point your toy-gun at me again, let me tell you, even your dead body won’t reach a cremation ground from here!’ I was furious, after what he did, I had to be.
‘Stop kidding me. You’ve barely seen life and you come here with your big-mouth, threatening me like you are the chief-minister or something!’
‘I’m not chief-minister, but I’m someone who’s way powerful than even a prime-minister. I’m the public of the country, and if they can elect, vote and choose a candidate, they can throw him out of power as well.’
‘I’m impressed by your political-science knowledge, someone has prepared the lecture very well it seems!’ he laughed, and I was even more infuriated.
‘I know about your little secret, and even Zakir knows it now. That’s why your illegitimate son – Abbas – is no more.’
‘Well, I never treated him like a son, neither did I want this child, it was just that Nadira thought it’s Hussain’s child, so she never aborted it, but later on, she told me that it was mine. She was seven-months pregnant at that time, what could be done?’
‘So you had a baby, and you didn’t even give him your name, what a shameful father you must be!’
‘Watch your mouth, you little girl. Don’t forget, I’m still your father!’ he banged his wrists at the table.
‘Calm down, old man. You’re not that powerful now. Hussain is dead, the next might be you. Who knows when time comes?’
‘Are you threatening me?’
‘No, it’s just a friendly reminder that things might steer into unfavourable direction sometimes. And if you don’t have any control over it, you’re gone!’
‘I have a mighty control over everything, in that context, I’m not afraid to die anymore. Nadira is dead, so is Abbas, and you, you don’t matter to me anyway. Why should I live?’
‘Very well then, good-bye.’ I got up as I had what I needed.
‘What? Where are you going?’
‘I’m here, you are going…to hell…’
The café was bustling with visitors at this hour of the day, but the TV was still loud enough to be heard. Afzal had managed to pull off a live-telecast of the conversation I had with the old man, where he clearly confessed that Abbas was his and Zakir’s mother’s illegitimate son. A big blow, right before the oath-taking ceremony, into Zakir’s face!
‘Good job, Kavya!’ Afzal hugged me tight as I reached back at his home. Things felt so much better now. Zakir had finally found out who the father of his half-brother was, and he wasn’t ready to spare the old-man, so he skipped his own oath-taking ceremony, hunted down the old-man, shot him, killed him and the police arrested him at the moment for a murder which happened right in the streets in front of public. People weren’t scared of him anymore. After Hussain and Sana’s deaths, and Abbas’ encounter in a fake-accident, Zakir was anyways alone. He might enjoy some company in jail!
The elections were re-scheduled in the valley, this time to be fought among two honest candidates – Afzal Hamidi of the Muslim League and Ujjwal Tripathi of Hindu Political Party. Finally the minorities were rising up too! Time was surely changing in Kashmir, and as people were sensible now, they knew who was right and who was better. Afzal might be a Muslim, but he was the best candidate for valley, and the public knew it.
The election results were out in three weeks, and this time, Kashmir got it’s honestly selected and elected candidate – Afzal Hamidi. The wind of change surely blew in the valley and took away all the pain, negativity and suffering from it. Times were changing, and Kashmir had a better chance to grow under Afzal’s surveillance.
I was witnessing all these historical moments with my eyes, and I couldn’t believe that all this was happening! It was like magic – for those who don’t believe in magic, never see it, but those who do, witness it at least once in their lifetime. For me, it was that one big magical moment – Afzal’s victory and his tenure over the valley. On his oath taking ceremony, he didn’t make any promises to the people, neither did he offered them money or whiskey or meat or free WiFi or any such subsidy. He just promised them one thing – safety and jobs. He promised them that women will be safer, children will go to school, big companies will be permitted to open up in the public sector, jobs will be created, and Kashmir will participate in the economy of India just like all other states do.