Younus Nomani

An Orange Leaf in a green tree, Kashmir
Mixed-media installation

Children of Kashmir playing cricket somewhere near Mantalai, located in between journey to Srinagar from Jammu city. Surrounded by mountains and cliffs that makes our eye moment dance and reach the valleys and skies of Kashmir, were blessed by presence of nearby village children who found the ground empty after a long time, and came to play cricket. The serenity of the moment was too much to bear till the kids stopped playing abruptly after spotting a camera in my hands. But as soon as they realized I was not a threat, the beautiful picture resumed to play before my eyes. I sat there to enjoy it as the fear of never witnessing it again began to rise in my gut, for I overheard a kid’s melancholic statement to continue playing because none of them knew when will they get a chance to play on these open grounds that were confined to Army Vehicles. Truth be told, on my way back when I wished to witness the view again, I couldn’t find it. The skittish feeling has finally taken its troll right before my eyes, in person. I saw the land devastated with the energy and human hatred bought upon it by the Army troops. The thing that was not visible but existed when the kids were playing, has now taken a form and it is growing stronger everyday. I moved away, with a heavy heart towards Delhi, where it is somewhat safe.

Text by the artist