Sunday, 25 December 2011

Waiting, and welcoming it

22 December. For every Kashmiri it means only one thing – the beginning of Chillay Kalaan. The coldest, hardest forty days of winter. From 22 December to 31 January, the valley will see (or it should be if Nature follows the traditional course) the coldest days of the year. And I am hoping it does.
There used to be a time, long ago – a time which is only retold in stories – when it used to snow in this part of the season. The snow froze up supposedly very quickly, and did not melt till at least Chillay Kalaan lasted. The roads were covered in ice, making them dangerous to drive on. But in those days, the stories tell, there were very few cars in the valley. Less than today, in any case. The snow would be piled on the street-sides and turn black with the exhaust smoke of the cars.The weather forecasts don’t predict a snow in this week at least, so it may be sometime before we get to see it.

Click here to check the latest forecast

Friday, 16 December 2011

Tragic, even without mentioning it

I have tried and wanted to stay apolitical on this blog. I never wanted to comment on politics or politicians, and still don’t want to. But this was just too current to let go through. I finally found out what Farooq Abdullah has said about opening liquor shops in the valley. At last. I feel like I have been living under a rock, for not reading it earlier.

The Times of India article which carried this news item is this.

Lets read:

Steps like reopening of cinemas and liquor sale would boost the tourism industry in the state, he said.
So many people have already berated him on comparing tourism and tipsy-ism.  Only today Greater Kashmir carried this  post. So one cannot really add anything new to this.

The minister for new and renewable energy was addressing a function to celebrate the birth anniversary of his father and National Conference founder Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah here. 

How on earth could he have reached from Sheikh Abdullah to making such statement is beyond me, but we all know Dr. Abdullah’s speech making faculty. If anyone could reach from making a tribute to a dead dad to opening cinemas, Dr. Abdullah can.

"The cinemas are not here, where will the tourists go at night. Do you want them to stay inside the room?" Abdullah said. 

Dal Lake at night (C) 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Berries not to be eaten

Well, I did what I wanted. An evening walk on the Shankaracharya Hill. For that I had to risk being mauled by the bear which is rumoured to be roaming on the hillside these days. But I did go finally.

I did not take the road uphill – the Boulevard side. It takes about an hour to climb up from  that side, on good days that is. On days like these – cold, and dim, it may take even longer. So, going the nostalgic way, I went from the side we used to climb it when we went with our school. The United Nations side. It takes less than an hour to climb to the top, on any day and the descent is, of course, much faster.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

If you know what I mean

What do you blog about? I'd say nothing. You just create a blog, a space on the internet and move on. You fill it with whatever comes to your mind. Whatever you like, because thats the whole purpose of owning a space. Its Yours.

 Blogging pandits would tell you that you should be focused and write for an audience. Write for people who would come to read your blog again and again. But thats a very difficult ask. How do you keep yourself so focused? I always wanted to write a food blog, but something inside me (the little lazy devil, who lives inside everyone except the better ones of us) tells me that a book blog may be a better idea. Doesn't that come more naturally to you? But, many, many things come 'naturally' to me, if you know what I mean. Doesn't mean that i should blog about all that. Does it?

Anyways, here me, i dedicate this blog to humanity and the moods of my mind. Hang on it. Next topic may be food anyways....

PS: if the above doesn't make sense, you are free to ignore it. It was written on an Exercycle anyways.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

And all its twined flowers

Now I can write. Now that the man who was peeing in the neighbour's garden has gone, I can sit easy and write.
Autumn has set in. In full swing. Glorious. I personally don't think there is any other season better to be in Kashmir.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

There is an earthiness everywhere. Brown grass, red chinars, yellow leaves. And the fog that enshrouds the Sulaiman Teng (Shankaracharya Hill) giving it an air of mystery. I was hoping to go there for an evening walk, but I don’t think that’s possible now. Occupied somewhere else. But whenever I go, I’ll be posting some pictures here. I actually want to see how the city looks from the top in autumn.

Not just that, autumn comes with the permanent virtue of making you nostalgic. I never associated autumn with death and decay. To me, it was ever beautiful. A charm which spring or summer, or even winters, cannot replace. It belongs to autumns in entirety.

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

The lines of poetry are from Ode to Autumn by Keats.

PS: I did go. Read here

Friday, 25 November 2011

In Good Time

This is a good time to get blogging. I think it is. Finally, after two years of procrastinating and pondering over titles and topics, themes and theses I have decided that if I have to blog, I must get started anyway.
There are not many bloggers from Kashmir who would write about things other than politics, which is unfortunate. But that doesn’t mean that we are obsessed with politics. Occupied we may be, but obsessed? I wouldn’t agree. Or well, may be a little obsessed too.

But a good time to blogging it is for another reason. I am reading Oliver Twist, and he is the reason. More than a decade ago, Oliver Twist was the first novel I ever read. And now, a decade after that, Oliver Twist has reappeared, unabridged and complete. With illustrations.

Call it karma, or life’s full circle or whatever. (Actually, there is no need to invoke philosophy, just yet.) I would just say that I missed reading Dickens, and I realize eerily that its been two years since I read a book of his. The last was Nicholas Nickelby (The Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, for those who stress on full names). Time flies, doesn’t it?

Now, when I bought this book I thought what shall I do after it’s done? As no one at home seems to be interested enough to discuss books with me, I better find someone who may be? Blogging’s a good thing for that, isn’t it? A book club too, but there are no book clubs in Kashmir. None that I know of. But that doesn’t mean there are any less readers here. I know for sure, that I have been surprised by the number of bookshops that have opened in the past 5 years, selling books which are not ‘course books’, books which only book-lovers read – like novels. I mean, other than those who have to read to pass exams. Ah! The way we study here!