1) 7 years ago I went to the camp for the displaced Pandits at Muthi, Jammu. It wasn't the first time I went there. The only difference was that I went with a DSLR. The purpose was to interview some people living there. Interview 1 was with an elderly couple who originally were
2) from a remote village in North Kashmir. They had earlier lived in a tent for 10 years. I had only one question to ask the couple. Describe everything, whatever you remember.

My cameraman friend focused on the elderly man. Close ups and extreme closeups. The lighting was
3) perfect. There was no light in the room. Except the dim light of the woman's eyes. The man began their story. He started with a happy day. And went on from day to day. A garland of days. The camera kept rolling. Then the pauses started. Then the silence. Before the nightmare.
4) cut to the present day. He looked into his wife's eyes, the dimming light.
Have I missed anything, he asked her. She smiled and moistened her lips and shook her head.

I asked my friend to stop rolling. He nodded. The woman gave us two glasses of water and invited us to
5) stay over for the night. We said next time promise. She said our staying will give her happiness because nobody visits them. I placed the glass back on the shelf and said what about children. She picked the glass up, faced my friend and sighed. A deep sigh.
6) Her husband came to her rescue, saying what she couldn't say. They still love us, they visit us and bring our grandkids along during school holidays, he said, pointing his finger towards a photograph on the wall. My friend started rolling the camera again, zooming on the photo
7) After some time, we thanked the couple and prepared to leave. As we stepped out of the flat, the man whispered to his wife.

Later that evening, we watched the rushes along with the sound. The camera's inbuilt microphone had malfunctioned. No sound. Only soundless footage.
8) Maybe human error. The only sound that was captured and that has stayed with us until today and perhaps always will was the whisper towards the end after the interview was over and after the camera was back in its case.

Radhika Raina - #ChildrenOfExile #KashmiriPandits

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More from @OfPandits

12 Sep
Exile and Dignity by @primosome

1) We lived in the refugee camp for Kashmiri Pandits at Muthi for almost fourteen years. I’ve documented the entire period of life in camps in my short memoir ‘Summers of Exile.’ One of the instances that drew my attention again to those..
2) days was my sister Vaishali Dhar’s account that was shared recently on this page. She describes a day when the camp was hit by incessant rains and the rain water breached the drains alongside the camp and flooded the quarters of the entire camp. This happened several times..
3) all through the years when we lived in the camp at Muthi. She was 10 when she went through this horrible experience. What unfolded overnight was destruction. Filthy water from the overflowing drains entered their quarters at night. Half of the quarters was under...
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