Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saffron Sorrow

'The convoy was stuck at Pampore. From the window of the bus I could see the Saffron fields stretched far and wide.. Have you seen a saffron field when the flowers are in full bloom? You must not have. It's a beautiful sight. Most beautiful purple, spread as far as your eyes can see, all purple. But how long can one stare at beauty. Special when it reminds you of other things. We had been stuck at that spot for more than five hour. The only other thing we could stare at was an almost endless stream of vehicles lined up on the highway. Trucks and buses. We wanted to get out of there. We wanted to get back to our families. Government officials, that too Hindu, we were sitting ducks on that road. Which we were despite the trucks of security men deployed with our convoy. They were at the front and at the back. Why wasn't the bus moving? We asked ourselves and stared at the saffron field now lit by the light of fading dusk. Security men were the first one to jump into the fields, crushing the blooms under their boot, kicking the bulbs. Soon we too joined them. In a moment of mad frenzy, men got down from the buses and unleashed their vacuous anger on beauty. The reason of the delay had finally reached the travelers. There had been an IED blast up ahead on the highway. We understood that the delay was caused by a bomb that was meant for them. Someone wanted us dead. The thought clawed into our mind and drove our bodies to action, made our hearts stiff, our eyes blind. By the time buses were moving again, those fields were denuded of all flowers and the ground was leveled by our shoes.  We had destroyed all of it. It was a sad sight. The thought of it still disturbs me. Saffron fields are beautiful. Do you know in old times Saffron was passed off as a cure for sadness?'

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