The line acts like a fulcrum, relations between India and Pakistan seesawing upon it, writes Sonia Jabbar who reports from the line of control at Gurez Valley. An excerpt from her forthcoming book, Heartland, Journeys into Kashmir and Beyond, in Open Magazine
GUREZ VALLEY, LOC ~ It is pitch dark. The Observation Post (OP) is perched like an eyrie high above the Gurez Valley. Pakistan is a mere stone’s throw and we are watching it hawk-eyed. The wind howls about my ears. I pull up the collar of my parka and jam my pakol, an Afghan Muj cap I bought in Pakistan, further down my ears. There is a place where the woollen cap and the jacket cannot overlap, and the wind slips an icy finger through the gap. It is not a pleasant sensation. The cold runs down my spine and lodges painfully in my ribs. I ought to be in a state of high excitement, but that’s wearing thin and I’m already dreaming of my relatively cosy bed a few miles away at the Brigade Head Quarters at Davar.
‘Want a look?’ the Captain hands me the binocs.
I take my ungloved hands out of my pockets reluctantly. I’m not sure what I’m expected to see in the darkness, but I position myself near the two men against the sandbags.
‘Remember, keep your head down,’ he cautions. more