I and Rasool entered the hospital minutes after winter sun arose.
Rasool had been in extreme pain ever since he fell on a river stone fracturing his wrist. It must have taken some hit being the wrist of a boatman of six decades. I remember when he had appeared after the accident; his face inflamed, eyes crowded, jammed as if all the pain had run like water to get collected there. Yet I couldn’t have assumed. Only after he had not spoken for more minutes than usual I asked what happened. He had kept working and folding the tent, at the same place where he took this film forty years ago. We had decided to turn back and strangely I couldn’t have imagined how was he working and still picking up things then.
I saw two x-rays of his left hand, each side few days later. A pigeon outside without a leg or having one sitting over chinar. Its shadows appearing on my being many feet away. There I stood looking at quiet Rasool, who seemingly had started disintegrating, slower than the pace of breath. This Chinar like numerous places in srinagar had so many barbed wires around it. All curved into one long thread of spiral sitting rusting similarly like many living bodies within in that hospital. We passed it in a hurry and caught a bus that had women sitting on every seat wearing black. It looked like they must have booked it on purpose. But no body raised an eye or sound. So we stood. Only women are carrying this city, said Rasool. He opened his old black shoulder bag and switched off his ancient radio that had started going off radar and said mujhe bhi iske saath aakhir nazar lag hee gayi and started laughing.
I will be starting a health campaign for my father like friend “Rasool”. I got to know of his extreme ill health last week. He has completely taken to bed and has been complaining of chest and abdominal pain. He told me last year once that he fears of having prostate cancer. His left hand that i tried to get fixed then got dislocated/worse after I left and demands a surgery. He is diabetic.
Above all His bird park where he has housed and has been taking care of hundreds of birds for many years, is now feared going towards a dead stop. I and many of my friends who came over at Rasool stayed over as much because of Rasools birds but moreover because of who Ghulam Rasool is and represents. His help cannot be matched. So there is a lot of work to be done. I will need your help for it. And in however way you can, even by sharing will be some help. I hope we can save Rasool. And we can save the birds and their home.