I felt out of breath. My destination was anywhere out of this now turned cruel place, Kashmir, once called home. Leaving my father behind ached my soul, but knowing he was there to help other Muslims comforted me. There were Indian soldiers everywhere. So was blood. So was pain. So was agony.
It had been going on for fifty days now. Kashmir was under attack by the Indian government, claiming their power by torturing, raping and burning Kashmiri Muslims. I was told by them that there was no escape, but my father found us, Kashmiris, a way out. I was running towards the mountains where on the other side I’d find Pakistan’s border. Oh, how it sounded like heaven.
Five in the morning, I left the shelter and headed out. Once I’d reach the border my uncle would help me out. It was approximately 7:00am now. My feet sore, and my legs had almost given up. Thankfully, I was in a crowd of trees, my muddy clothes would conceal me if any beast was around. I sat by a tree, panting, heart beating fast and thoughts running through my mind.
Will I ever make it? What if those predators saw me? Will it be the end of it all?
My knees were bleeding by the numerous amounts of times I tripped on hard rocks, only trying to bear the pain by picturing myself being shot on my legs. I didn’t know how much longer I was to run to get my prize but I got up and started walking.
“Come on Noor, you can make it, for your father and for the helpless souls”, I told myself. Every now and then I’d hear a living thing either walk, or breath. But I told myself it was an animal and tried not to be steered back by the fear.
There was a pleasant breeze. A beautiful sight. Only to make me wish it made me happy. Instead it broke me. God’s creations are so majestic but so are they cruel and heartless.
Now came the river. I had to find a way through. The water was ferocious. I knew if I tried to find a way through it, I’d be crumbled and clenched by the rocks. I then ran to the end of the river where I saw big rocks which led my way over the river. I jumped onto the first one. My heart raced. One wrong step and I’d be eaten up by the river. My bare feet bled. The freezing cold water numbed them. The pain felt never ending.
I was over the river after about fifteen minutes. It must have been eight now. The Indian forces would be changing shifts just about now. I had ten minutes.
I ran like anything. Like everything I ever needed stood miles away. It was all I needed. My feet were on the verge of giving up.
But there it was. The border. My soul felt enlightened. I wanted to scream with pleasure. I had reached my destination, achieved my prize. Freedom was my prize.