sheets would cover the sides of the auto. Not that, they keep us completely dry.
Winds accompanying the heavy downpour continue to splash drizzles on our face.
"Haath baaher kaadu naka re" - the auto-driver says in Marathi, as we
attempt to take our palm out of the tarpaulin sheets to feel the rain. This is how, 5-6 school goers, packed in the
back seat of the auto, would ride their way to school.
I was, one of them....
rains made Aurangabad downpour look like drizzles. From purchase of rainy shoes to aligning
an indoor cloth-stand, bracing up for monsoon became an annual affair. Train
delays become acceptable. A typical rainy
day, would mean, take a 9.35 AM "Ladies Local", tune into FM
Radio and hear RJ Malishka say " Iss Khoobsoorat Baarish mein, ek garam
chai ke saath, ye gaana toh banta hai..."
South West to North East Monsoon was quite a shift. "Bay of Bengal
depression", "Cyclonic winds" suddenly became a part of my
is a rationale behind every rain, is something Chennai taught me. But the
rationale doesn’t linger long enough.
Today, when my kitchen window rattles
and power supply quietly mutes itself, enhancing the sound of the moist winds….
reason behind the rain vanishes.What
stays on…is the symphony of the raindrops.
Prominence of Green is hard to
miss. Airport cushions, Sign-board on shops, Bill Board advertisements- come with a Green backdrop. Javed, our 1st local escort drives us through the famous
Amar Singh College of Srinagar.
Like any other Indian citizen, he
asks for better roads, talks of tax payer’s money and better civic
infrastructure. We gradually ask him, about the security concerns of the State
and he is quick to retort, it is a media glorified issue. He insists there is
more normalcy than what is projected. We try best to empathize with his
assurances, but the presence of CRPF stationed at various locations, silently
tell a different story.
Amid conversations & moderate
showers in sub 12 degrees temperature, we reach "Dal Lake". Luxury is
not to be hurried, and "Dal Lake" forces you to slow down.
A quiet sail on a Shikara
connects water-borne houseboats to concrete roads along the Lake. "Nazira
Palace" our houseboat, is our home for next 3 days. Zuhoor-our Houseboat manager
greets us each time as we step out of the Shikara and step in to our Houseboat.
Be it Maggi +Toast for Breakfast or Kashmiri Pulao with Dal Makhani for dinner,
food in House-boat is served steaming hot. Zuhoor ensures, we take the food,
while it is hot.
We would not have brushed up our
negotiation skills, had it not been for Driver Wasim's cautions. Pony Riders
and Sledge Owners of Gulmarg & Sonmarg, earn their living from its domestic
tourism. It needed some bargaining to get a fair deal.
The following day, we have Younis
driving us down to Pahalgam. En-route Pahalgam, Younis talks about 2014 Kashmir
floods, introduces us to Kashmiri Kahwa. Each time we drive past a Dargah or a
School, he mutes the car audio & silently drives on.
By Day 4- we are already familiar
with words like "Phiran"and "Wazwan". We have tasted the
Kahwa, felt the Pashmina Shawl.
Khyber Cement hoardings on the skyline of Srinagar- introduce us to a
new word, as they read - "Mazbooth Tameer, Mehfooz Kashmir".
Charms of the Valley continue to
surprise, even as we reach the airport for departure. There is a Multi-layered
baggage screening, prior to security check. But what blares louder is the message that an
average local tries to convey.
From Javed to Younis, from a
hand-loom vendor to a Pony Rider, they all have 1 common understanding “The
Valley thrives on tourism of snow-capped mountains, let not security
concerns ruin it".
With this message, we fly down to
the warmth of Chennai.
If you smile the sight of such handwritten fonts, even though you very
well know this is not handwritten- Your offline moment has just arrived. Here are a few more offline moments that can be cherished
Picture this- Excavating an
Old Tin Box from a Bag of Disposables- Repainting it with Acrylics and making
them re-usable. Somehow, the whole concept of “Best out of Waste” doesn't fit to
Email trash. __________________________________________________________________________________
A world without Internet co-exists. Just find your offline Moments….
This post has been published by me as a part of Blog-a-Ton
56; the fifty-sixth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where
we decide and we write.
Blog a Ton- Runner Up Medal
Selectively picking up
cues, did not yield any results. In 4 hours, the team of 5 could not decode it.
Erected on the sides were
6 Pillars. The pillars were artistic projections, just like the false ceiling
on the top.
Creations on the wall,
Graffiti on the floor, gave a dressed up look. A deliberate attempt to conceal
Rupturing their thought process
was a phone call. Caller gave a vital hint, which made the team step back and
Every member of the team
looked for tarpaulin sheets randomly covering some objects.
Tarpaulin sheets bore
some crude cuts on them. All the team had to do now was, look for
"Selectively Erected Creations Rupturing Every Tarpaulin". As a reader, all along, you were reading a "Secret"
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton
and links to their respective posts can be checked here.
To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton . Participation Count 12