Sundays in Kashmir valley
I believe in power of titles.
Your first impression about a book is the cover page designed by a computer geek and pithy title. Half the battle of perception is won or lost by an eye-catching title. I do not mean to say that content of a book is irrelevant to eventual readership but the fact is that significant role of a great title in popularity of book can not be denied.
So, when I mention Sunday and Kashmir in same title, it must have sparked a small fire of curiosity in your subtle mind. Normally, for a youth below 40, Sundays are a time to celebrate and eat/drink plentiful amount of delicious food and choicest beverages of all kind in good company of friends(girls/boys/men,women included). You add a visit to nearby multiplex /discotheques etc……… But, these things matter only for a young people in rest of India….not in Kashmir.
Here , we are different. All movie theaters have been burnt down in Kashmir during turbulent 1990s. Only 02 wine shops are operational in Kashmir valley i.e. in Srinagar only. Rest 09 districts of Kashmir do not sell evil drinks to humans. So, imagine the situation that 02 authorized wine shops serve more than 07 millions people of Kashmir. I am sure those 02 wine shop vendors must have become millionaire by now. It is not that youth in valley hate to have good jolly time with spirits but social climate has turned vicious for expressing exuberance of youth.
Same with movie theaters, people have learnt to live without watching movies on big screen.They adore Salman Khan and mobbed him during shooting of Bajarangi Bhaijan in Kashmir valley. But they do not have the luxury to see Bhai in action on 70 mm.
The image of Kashmir was further dented by the fact that snow-peaked mountains and fields where lovely Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapur indulge in friendly stamina-sapping race belonged to scenic Gulmarg but in the movie it was shown as Manali ? While watching “Ye Jawani Hai Diwani(2013)”, I recognised this fact but it defied logic that why will Imtitaz Ali, the thinking director, should misrepresent facts. If some college going youths of NCR wish to visit a hill station then it could be Gulmarg ? Why Manali ?
Answer lies in the question itself ?
Because for a mainstream Indian director it seems illogical that any young men/women will go to Kashmir for having fun. Though, it seems cliche but it is a fact that people feel scared in visiting Kashmir.
Who is willing to sacrifice good times in Kashmir ?
But, satellite dishes are ubiquitous even in hinterland and far-flung mountain areas. Watching movie on idiot box is a favourite pass time during vagaries of nature i.e. during snowfall and shenanigans of deranged and at the same time highly motivated youths i.e mujahids.
Though, street food culture can be found in downtown Srinagar or may be somewhat less in Anantnag and Baramulla but people are scared to venture out to have good time. It seems young boys/girls have forgotten the art of having unadulterated fun. May be a quiet corner on promenade of Dal lake turns into noisy food corner in the evening but the credit for this goes to Bengali tourists who frequent house boats during summer and winter months. Same goes for boat-laden street food in Dal lake.
I must emphasize one fact that this lack of cosmopolitan party culture is a major hurdle in attracting more tourists in valley. If you go to Shimla or Kullu-Manali, you must have encountered boisterous group of local college -going youths having fun on scenic spots. Here in Srinagar, this local gang of boys/girls are missing. If Srinagar is beautiful for a tourist coming from Bengal, is it less beautiful for local school/college going youths ?
May be my timing is not right. Today is the 121st day of some sort of continuous shutdown in Kashmir valley. I do not wish to stray from my topic about Sundays but it is a fact that last 18 Sundays have been wasted by us in Kashmir valley. If this turmoil has to end , our youth need to live life to the hilt.
Politics is a dirty word but the solution has be an out-of-the-box thinking by inspired youths only.
Nearly 70 years have passed since that fateful day in October, 1947 , when destiny of a young Indian nation and Kashmiriyat were merged by divine ordain as well as lethal mix of politics and circumstances. If our past generations have suffered in Kashmir imbroglio and we know it has then an honest effort shall be made by today’s youth so that tomorrow’s children are not burdened by this so-called impossible quagmire called Kashmir.
Sunday can play a bigger role in it. Watching sun sliding down a mountain peak is an awesome sight. Watching sun go beyond Zabarwan mountain ranges is sheer bliss if you are eating spicy hot noodles in a Shikara. We need to relax and let this November chill of open sky overwhelm us. If you can not solve a puzzle yourselves, let others do it.
I sincerely wish that next Sunday shall bring a ray of fresh hope and we will have fun.
This is it for today.
First blog of the year always feels special. Next will be out soon. But, I need Sundays badly. Imagine if there were no Sundays…you jump to Monday straight away fro Saturday.
See you. Bye for now