Hey look here! see that I am smiling! But do you think that means I am happy? I am not. You’re having one hell of an illusion. By the way, have you ever heard about cognitive illusions? I am sure you haven’t. Yesterday my uncle was diagnosed with high blood pressure. My mother was like, what pressurized his blood that much? He earns a lot of money. So how come he became the victim of stress. But then I broke the silence and told her, “Mom, being happy is not just having a smile on your lips or laughing out loud, they are just its elements. You all use facebook. Right? Of course you do. I mean who doesn’t. When someone texts me how are you? I am like☺. And they encode it as being happy. We call it virtual belief. I crave for those old times when people were so real. For that matter do you remember when Omar Abdullah lost the elections? Everyone does. He started posting his pictures on twitter with that fake smile. For God’s sake Omar, grow up. We all knew Mehbooba’s victory had shattered your soul. But then all you were doing that time was virtual consoling. Hey don’t mind my joke; I am a big fan of yours. You have been a point of conflict among my friends.

Dear Omar: I forgot to tell you, I got a friend request on facebook one day. I accepted since I was an infant facebook user. You hunger for friend requests in the beginning. Anyway, when I confirmed it, his first message was, “Why the hell is Omar Abdullah in your ‘political ideology’. I swear, I defended you for a complete year. But then, I could only see you dying your hair white to fool us. I left your fan club because you were doing nothing in the name of good governance. By the way, why do you look like Rahul Gandhi? Is he your brother? But then he cannot compete with your looks. Where do you shop? I can see you have nice taste in clothes. Meanwhile, does your Dad know about that video? Trust me; I was expecting him to become a victim of a public beating. But then, you people aren’t in the media as much nowadays. Oh, I forgot to ask you, do you use that twitter account yourself? How come you have that much time? I will suggest you to hire you someone.  Come on man, you are losing your credibility. People might think, I don’t like you. Why should I let them? Your photo was my profile pic for two years. I would only upload your pics.

People have some questions for you, since you don’t meet the commons except when you are out of people’s mind. Anyway, let me start –

Dear Omar and all others like him, who may or may not be handsome:

When people vote for you and consider your propaganda as your promises, do you later feel a bit of guilt in deceiving them?

When children and adults alike fall prey to the bullets of our “security personnels”, does any part of you mourn?

When young fellows attempt suicide due to unemployment, do you take a pledge to stop them from doing it? Do you think of employing them?

When women like of Kunan Poshpora are raped all night, kept at gunpoint, naked, and they can do nothing but stand there helpless, doesn’t your body tremble. Doesn’t your inner conscience want to chop the hands off those bloody rapists? They could be anyone. Tell me do you have a heart?

Your children are born to live a life of luxury. Don’t we have the same rights? Can’t you contribute a part of it towards us?

Most importantly, do you think of your own mortality when you are asked about everything?

Omar, don’t worry, you are still in my favorites. But I am sorry; I can’t save you from the prayers of those mothers who lost their children. I am sorry. You have earned it for yourself.

Oops. Sorry. I was supposed to explain cognitive illusion to you. It occurs when you relate objects with other information stored in your mind.  Omar is a hot topic here; let’s use him to make you explain it. He plays lots of black and white games with his hair. But my mom would always sympathize with his white hair season. “Oh God, see girl, Omar’s hair has turned white due to stress. He cares so much for Kashmir. And still people curse him. Guess my response: “Mom, hair dyes are available in market abundantly and Omar can at least afford that. What I mean is we relate white hair to stress, which is nothing but an illusion.

So my dear ‘close friends’, ‘friends’,  ‘friends of friends’ and ‘public’, smiling lips are not always happy. ‘I am okay’, doesn’t mean I am literally okay. Come out of that virtual world and virtual emotions, we are humans. Your eyes tell everything. I ask you to look less at lips and more in the eyes. Excuse me! I am trying to be filmy enough “Ankhein kabi dokha nai de sakti”. You know that cliché dialogue of Hindi actors,  “Meri ankhu mai dekho aur kaho tumhe mujpe ab b yakeen nahi hai”. God, give me a break.

To all the diehard fans of Bollywood, Hollywood, Nollywood, but not Lollywood, they at least show some sense in their content. An actor was once asked, “When will the cinema industry close?”, and do you know what. He replied, “When people understand our process. To my delight, they never will.” So for now all the ‘woods have a long life.


An aspiring writer, Saima Rashid is graduated from a City College in Srinagar and can be reached at [email protected]