By Haroon Rashid Bhat
The characters mentioned in the story “Unfinished Painting” are fictional. My sole intention is to highlight the psychological problems faced by the growing youths in the conflicted Zones”.
Nowhashd, a school going boy accompanied his father attended the art exhibition organized by the Young Artists of Kashmir. He was watching the different paintings with varied themes fascinating him a lot. That particular occasion proved enough for him to bring forth his hidden artistic talent.
The next day morning, he put forward his demand before his father to arrange drawing material for him, a brush, color box, paper, etc. When his father asked the reason of his demands, his son expressed his wish to do the painting work. Nowshad’s father realized his dream and made all the pre-requisite tools/items available to him. To get familiar with the art of painting, color combination, themes, postures, and so on. He attended the art classes in the neighboring village from the Pundit teacher. First, he tried his hand on rough papers; drawing different sketches. His interest in the artwork made the thing easy for him. He learned the techniques of art fluently and by each passing day, his artist abilities enshrined. Within a short time, he got name and fame. His paintings were recognized and acknowledged by all age groups. The theme of his paintings was mostly revolving around nature like mountains, rivers, landscapes, etc.
As he was residing very close to Zeberwan Mountains, its scenic beauty, greenery, and landscape fascinated him, and he decided to design a beautiful sketch of the Zeberwan Mountains. Starting his work with a pleasant mood on one sunny day, he put his heart and soul in it to make the painting more attractive and closer to nature. It was his first day; he was working on his dream project, involved deeply in it; filling different colors to it.. In the meantime, her mother gave him a call. Navshad, “It is too late; it is the time to attend the Madrasa”.
Let the work be completed the next day, As an obedient son, Nowshad reassembled his material and made his mind that he would complete the rest of the work by the next day.
At the Madrasa on that very particular afternoon, the Molvi Sahab recited one of the Verses of “Surat-Ul Maeedha” in which Almighty Allah says, “Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all humanity and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all humanity”. This beautiful message from the holy book of the Quran appealed his mind and soul. He got excited and thrilled with joy and feel proud that he belongs to the faith -Religion that contains such universal messages based on humanity, love, and care.
The sun was setting; the moon appeared in the sky, accompanied by unlimited stars. Nowshad was eager to complete his painting, but time did not permit him. In that internment night, he went to bed. In the late midnight, a big explosion occurred followed by the numerous gunshots, putting everyone in the locality in a deep puzzlement. The entire area shook with terrifying sounds. Nowshad and his mother try to sneak from the window
Father shouted Oh! “No, don’t try to sneak from the window, lay down, don’t raise your heads.”
Within no time, a fire broke out, flames were seen then came the sound of Fire- Ambulances, the hue and cry situation was developing there. The whole night passed in total anxiety.
Early in the morning, the news aired on the radio “Unidentified gunmen killed three persons whose identity is yet to be ascertained near the Zabarwan mountains, the case has been registered and inquire has been ordered by the District Magistrate”, Fear was evident from the eyes of Nowshad, his voice was beaten, and his mood didn’t allow him to take a glance at the Zeberwan mountains where that particular incident happened last night that costed the lives of three unknown persons. There was no more greenery there; ashes and smoke fully engulfed the whole environment. The horrible voices of the previous night were making him restless on the other hand, he was recalling the speech delivered by the Molvi Sahab regarding humans and humanity. He put his hands on his aching head uttering-”What is happing here? He took a long breath. The disheartened boy lost his passion for his painting work, perturbed psychologically. His parents encourage him to complete his pending artwork, but he showed no interest. He became inactive- standing like a statue.
To infuse his zeal and redevelop his interest, his parents requested Molvi Sabh to conduct a brief counseling session for his only son- Navshad.
Molvi Sahab, My son, “We are living in the conflict zone killings, Missing explosions, crackdown became a mere matter of the day, we have to prepare ourselves and our growing kids to live with such conditions” He tried his best to soothe his mind and nerves just to bring out him from the hallucination that he developed in his mind.
Molvi Sahab concluded his speech by quoting the grand tradition of our beloved Prophet MohammadPBUH as “A time will come when the Murderer will not know why he has committed murder and the victim will not know why he has been killed”.
But his motivational speech gave him timely relief, but overall it could not bring any positive signs on his face. That particular firing episode left a deep impression in Nowhad’s psyche. His talent dies within, his dreams shattered, and his painting remains unfinished.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher and columnist , can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org