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Our Impressions about The Tree with a Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta

The Tree with a Thousand Apples - A Remorseful Love Letter to the Commonfolk of Kashmir

Instances of violence sprawled across the newspaper headlines are commonplace. But most of us are still obvious about what instilled the seed of absolute anarchy that degraded the erstwhile ‘the Jannat (heaven) on Earth’ into a ravaging Janham (hell). And this is where Sanchit Gupta’s magnum opus, The Tree with a Thousand Apples comes to enlighten us about the ages-old ordeal of the Kashmiri civilians.

Ordeal of an Excruciating Homecoming In the very words of Deewan, his people, the Kashmiri Pandits, were “refugees of their own country”. Exiled at adolescence, he returns to the place he once called home with a head swirling and a gut churning on encountering the ghosts of his past. Subduing the memories of his rushed abandoning which rendered him handicapped, for him it was like deliberately stepping into a minefield. This poignant account of homecoming is no less of a déjà vu which the book itself hints by mentioning The Kite Runner.

Premature Youth of the Valley “The 70-year-old gardener looks at the two 18-year-old boys engaged in a battle of blood. His grandson is 18 years old. He studies in class 12 in their village in Shopian. He plays cricket on the streets whenever he can, sings a lullaby to his five-year-old sister during the night. Why don’t these boys play cricket? Can their lips ever sing a song? They can stab a dagger in each other’s heart, but can they ever hold the delicate petals of tulip or mustard flowers and caress them with their hands?”

This excerpt encapsulates the essence of what the children of Kashmir valley go through and how beautifully the author has captured it in the book. Dropped out of school and having witnessed the bigoted murders of their near and dear ones, it doesn’t surprise us that the rage for revenge streams through the blood veins of the young ones. With such maddening thirst to avenge for the previous wrongdoings, they being misinformed and gullible, often get into malicious company and in no time, bury their innocence in the name of ‘Azadi’.

In the novel, we see Bilal getting into the same spiral when he loses almost everyone, robbing him of his will to live. This is how he became a mere spoke in the wheel, the wheel of violence which has perpetually rolled for all these years in the Valley. The helpless yet angered Avam of Kashmir still awaits a Meossiah who would destroy this dreaded wheel.

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