An open letter to Naeem Akhtar
Hope you will find this letter in a good health.
I was delighted that you have finally shown some concern towards us, the misguided youth. You want cinemas to be restored for us. It seems that you have realised lately that the youth of Valley have seen blood and blood only and that we had no fun at all. You are being very kind sir. You have a big and an empathic heart in your otherwise skinny body.
But then this bloody conflict has taken a huge toll on our tastes and interests. You must be comparing yourself with us, I know. At the precipice of grave that you are, you guys still have a playboy lifestyle. On the contrary, the young boys can be seen debating the geopolitics, the radicilastion, of philosophical and theological intricacies, from poetry to the financial budgets, of late marriages and premarital relationships, the youth seem to have grown up than their elders. They are postulating theories and debunking well known dogmas,contesting narratives and counter narratives. You, as always, are late. Boys are busy. They may not throng to your cinemas as you might be anticipating. Nevertheless, I appreciate your concern for us no matter what.
Sir, I had a dream last night. A decorated mansion constructed in the heart of the Srinagar city with a marble engraving at the entrance reading ‘Akhter Cinema’. It was so beautiful that I could not turn away my eyes from it and very soon found myself waiting in the beeline of youth to watch a movie. My goodness! I, along with my friends, were denied the entry. We had no entry fee. In a state of exasperation, I opened up my eyes and gazed at the books and the drawer of my room housing my CV. Oh this was the dream of an unemployed youth!
Yes sir, according to a rough estimate there are around 6000 engineering graduates and post graduates with A grade performances, wandering from pillar to post in search of jobs in the valley alone. They dress up well in the morning, take the bus fare from the parents with a promise that they will find a job today for sure but return back home dusted in the evening. They cannot afford the liability of cinema. You please advertise those posts of Junior Engineer that you have postponed for the election time before bating for a cinema house. That would be your kindness.
Dear Sir, I was talking to a friend rather enthusiastically about this proposition of yours in the day. I told him that a cinema is opening up in the city soon. Mazi balai (Pleasure is all mine). “Kiraai cheya?” (Do you have the money to travel back home) was the cold reply, as if he did not hear me what I was talking about.
“Bhai Akhtar Cinema”, I had to repeat this exciting news for him. Tala Kar Panin keam (mind your own business) is how he ended the conversation. This much of indifference towards the genuine entertainment? Can you believe that! I was reminded of Faiz Ahmad Faiz:
Aur bi Dukh hai zamanay Mein muhabat kae siva
Rahatain aur bi hai vasl ki rahat kae Siva.
Dear Sir, I think it would be appropriate and in the interest of the youth to open a dairy farm, a poultry farm, a construction company or anything but a cinema house, where at least some of us can be effectively absorbed. I assure you, that will be a better investment. That would be a huge service to the nation from your side.
Thank you in advance for your attention.
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