“What time is it?”
“hmm..”, taking out the phone from the pocket, “7.50”, I tell him.
“At this time of the day, nobody would be out. If a young boy goes out, the soldiers will just take a stick and start beating. I miss Kashmir. But I don’t miss that fear. You know I come from a village. It is blacklisted. Nobody cares about us. No roads. No hospitals. No schools. And beatings if you are found by the soldiers after dark. It is only because of the cement factories near our village that people still live. These factories give some facility to the people, clinic, school etc.”
“how far is Pakistan from your place?”
“There is a short hike, and from top of a mountain you can actually see Pakistan. There is another point were you can see Afghanistan as well.”
“oh! Afghanistan? We share a border with Afghanistan? I don’t remember the map.”
” Yeah we do. Anyway the actual LOC you cannot see in most maps. One side taken by Pakistan. Another by China. China takes a few kilometers everyday. You don’t believe me?”
“Why wouldn’t I? I know India is far less aggressive. But few kilometers everyday?”
“Yeah because India does not know where the actual LOC is. So China takes advantage. You know kashmiri people don’t need visa to visit China. Chinese consider Kashmir as theirs. You just need a passport. If the address in your passport is in Kashmir, you can just walk in. Infact whenever chinese tourists come, most of them take me out for Pizza :).”
This is the second part of the series of conversations I have had with a Kashmiri friend of mine. You can read the first part here called Sales.