Hi dear reader,
If you are reading this post then there are 02 possible scenarios…..first one is that you feel good to see me writing again after a long gap provided you have read me on earlier occasions…second one is that you must be wondering what to expect if you are a newcomer on this page.
So, before writing anything frivolous or mundane, let me deal with my favorite topic. Why so much long gap between 02 posts ? Last time , I wrote about Sundays in Kashmir valley during first week of November, 2016. So, again taking pains to write after nearly 10 months demands answers. But, I don’t have any reasons. It seems, I forgot to write. Choosing topics is a painful exercise.
So, I took a conscious decision to continue the Sunday chronicles and write about Sundays outside Kashmir valley.
It is Navratri time in most parts of India especially in eastern, northern & western corners of country. Though, nowadays it is celebrated in various forms across the country in autumn season. Normally, Navratri is a multi-day and multi-seasonal(04 times) festival celebrated due to various legends associated with it but post-monsoon Navratri is the widely-acclaimed among believers. Every festival brings joy. It is an occasion to mingle with loved ones and strangers. If feeling of happiness is not unbridled then the true meaning of festival is not realized. If , you can not do Garba on roads in Navratri in Gujrat then the fun of festival diminishes a little bit ?
But, Kashmir is different. Though, festival brings joy here also but there is a lingering doubt about security scenario of public places. Celebrating festival as a civilized society means using public places without fear of getting injured by stones or bullets. For that matter, even unruly mob can spoil festive spirit of whole neighbourhood, may be even country. A Kashmiri Police Officer learnt this lesson in a tragic way as he was beaten by a bullish mob on an auspicious occasion outside one of the most holy place in Kashmir valley.
So, festivals can also bring tragedy in a hostile neighbourhood. But, the question to ask is hostile to whom and why ? Is this the answer to the imbroglio of Kashmir ? Even, if militants succeed in their avowed goal then what ? Will they transport 10 districts of Kashmir valley to a fantasy land among stars and live happily thereafter ?
There is a need to bring sense among die-hard followers of this madness and talk sensibly.
Need to tell them that Sundays are meant for fun activities which they are missing. Sundays are not meant for throwing stones or causing hardships to fellow human beings.
Outside Kashmir valley, people go to public places like shopping malls, parks, theatres to let go of the accumulated stress of weekdays. Kashmir is a paradise unknown even to local youngsters. There are hundreds of natural/scenic places full of emerald-green lofty trees and snow-white water streams/lakes to chill out. Take some time off and be a normal youngster and enjoy festivities of life in myriad colour. Life is precious and we don’t get even a single lifeline to get it back from the unknown heaven or hell unlike the participants of KBC who get 04. Once the light has gone out from soul it can not not be the same again . May be this simple truth is unknown to many among us and we keep destroying the life of others.
But, everything is not so gloomy nowadays. Incidents affecting common people have come down considerably in recent past when compared with statics of last year. Economy of tourism is again showing signs of revival. The year 2017 has brought clouds of happiness in fields of Kashmir due to heavy snowfall in the beginning of the year. Snowfall is considered good omen as it is harbinger of bumper crop of apple and other local but exotic fruits. So, sweeter apples means big smiles on faces of apple-orchard owners.
In fact, youngsters have started enjoying life again. They even love coffee which can not in any way substitute locally-brewed Kahwah. Kahwah is basically an exotic type of green tea heavily flavoured with wonderful spices including the king of spices specific to Kashmir i.e. saffron. It is wonderful.
But, drinking coffee in cafe is a positive sign. It was amazing to see a Game of Thrones-themed Coffee Shop in Srinagar. It means Winter is Coming and there are happy days all around. So, Sundays in Kashmir valley are on the way of becoming like Sundays outside Kashmir valley.
That’s it for now. Happy reading.
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
I am feeling nervous. May be goosebumps have decorated my frontal visage. Actually , I do not remember when I wrote a blog last time. Archives on this website tells me that it was way back on 24th May 2014. So, writing after nearly 11 months is a herculean task.
The reason is that my bread & butter is not sponsored by this activity. May be, I need to change the direction of my life and follow the CB example. CB, the writer, philosopher , movie-maker and a banker who resigned from banking and now lectures people/politicians to behave properly. English fiction/non-fiction writing is a hot profession these days. But, in CB’s case, low-priced books by publisher was a master-stroke. Purchasing books at Rs. 70 is a nice experience. Otherwise older writers used to sell books at a premium price of not below Rs. 500. So, very few copies were sold and concept of blockbuster was alien for Indian book industry. CB regularly sells few million copies. Though, quality of writing is pretty bad but emotions remain pretty strong in his stories somewhat similar to early 90s movies of Mithun da and Govinda.
I feel that Ved Prakash Sharma was far better writer.Young men/boys who have grown up in Government Hindi Medium schools in Bihar/UP/Delhi/Haryana must have heard his name But, he wrote in Hindi and his books were printed on cheap paper. That’s why we call them “Lugdi Sahitya”. CB is master story-teller who packaged “Lugdi Sahitya” in designer cover and has become a ne0-millionaire.
But, my reason of writing now is a little bit different. I am sitting idly in front of my 08-year old laptop and has no work to do. So, why not write some musings for future generations. I believe in wise words of Benjamin Franklin ” If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” So, here I believe in my potential and writing something for a benign reader.
You must be thinking that if title talks about Kashmir then where is it till now ?
Since, last few months I am living in Kashmir. In bygone era, Kashmir was basically a huge lake – an island sea called Kashyap Sar surrounded by lofty mountain peaks. Now Kas means channels and Mir denotes mountains. So, we get plenty of water in Kashmir. I drink fresh spring water.
Above-mentioned paragraph is incomplete. I am just testing the waters again to verify the fact that my readers have not forgotten me. They still believe in my writing acumen. So, this was just a glimpse of my musings on Kashmir. My bird like story is yet to grow its wings. But, I promise to write about Kashmir. This region is virtual minefield of untold stories. I will pick one gem and show it to you.
Till the time is appropriate. Bye for now.