Saturday, 31 August 2013

Thank God For Little Pleasures - XVIII

Compensation.

For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.

For each beloved hour
Sharp pittances of years,
Bitter contested farthings
And coffers heaped with tears.

~Emily Dickinson


Monday, 26 August 2013

Kashmir, Kabul, Kishtwar

Kashmir's blogosphere much like its biosphere is a much debated topic. In times of less news and more tweets it becomes the media's favourite thing to discuss. Even Army Generals are called upon to comment and answer questions which essentially sound like, "Why are Kashmiris tweeting this way and not that way?" "See, this guy went and had barbecue on the banks of Dal. Aren't these pictures threat to National Security of India?"

Somewhere last week, we decided to take the things for a spin. In this limited blogosphere where politics flows on high tide all the year round, a few of us decided to tweak the norms a bit. With some cohorts we found in Afghanistan (of all places) we hit upon the idea that  blogging about food may not be such a bad idea. Every place has its tribe of self-indulgent food bloggers. We have none. That's not fair!

So was born the idea of "Samavar | Food trails from Kashmir to Kabul". It all started when a blogger from Kishtwar said that she had nothing to left to do on the ninth consecutive day of curfew in Kishtwar, and when a blogger from Srinagar suggested that she read some food blogs. One tweet led to another, and bang! we were proposing a collective food blog. 

Samavar came into being on an exceptionally slow internet in Afghanistan and a curfew in Kishtwar. 

Here's the  first post on Samavar written by me:

"While we gather up stories to share as delightful as the tea in its bosom. From Kashmir to Kabul, there might be travellers coming along soon. They would like some tea.
Or Kahwa, please. Drop in some saffron, just to remind them of the colours of our company when they have left.
That among the shadows of everything that the world has given us, we have kept a delightful kitchen going on. Where food and love abound, and the dastarkhwan is spread far and wide. We thank God for that. And for the stories we have created in between.
Arrange the breads in trays. Yes, the sheermaal and naans.
Everyone likes a little something to go with tea. And telling stories, too. The travellers are fond of them. The silent locals too. They carry a wealth of never heard histories with them. You may find some here, near where we sit with our samovar – in the gardens of Srinagar and on the banks of Chenab too,beyond Khyber under the fearless open skies of Kabul.
Light up these lamps. The embers in the samovar are glowing red. Finally, it’s time.
Let’s serve."
Other contributors to Samavar include Francesca Recchia, Nashrah Batool, Sahar, TavseefM and Marryam H Reshii.
Happy reading.