That Trip To Kashmir

Have you ever been to Kashmir? Well, Kashmir is a glorious crown of India which attracts people to come and create some special moments for them. When the first snowfall gets starts in winter, which slowly converts in a thick layer of the blanket over mountains, it becomes fascinating. During that time, the first ray of sun in the morning gives the pleasure of tranquility. So here starts my exciting story of the memorable trip.
In January 2006 while I had already started graduation, my father surprised us with air tickets of Kashmir, making us realize the fact that,

“Life is an exam where the syllabus is unknown and question papers are not set.”

because we (me and my mother )were really terrified due to the terrible environment of violence in Kashmir we had seen in movies and used to frequently read in news but were left with no other option instead of packing our bags because he was not ready to cancel them at any cost. And in all this hustle bustle of fear and adventure, finally, the day came when we left for Delhi to depart.

We reached two hours before our flight time for security check-in and after finishing it, we were again left with one more hour to wait for boarding. My father sat on the bench with a newspaper in boarding lounge which was enough for him to spend leisure till the flight staff called us. My younger brother was enthusiastic for traveling to a new place, so he was sorting out his queries regarding new location by talking to Mom. Only I was left who had nothing to do, except roaming here and there because that time I wasn’t interested in reading even. When I came back to sit on the bench with my family, I slightly noticed the young handsome guy with greenish eyeballs was sitting opposite to us, reading the newspaper with his glances on me. After some time when the boarding started, we moved towards the flight and grabbed our seats as per the allotment. We three were in one row, while my father sat in opposite row. Coincidentally that same handsome guy got the seat in our opposite row. So amidst both of us was the aisle. Till now after so many years of that trip, I had never seen so many seats remaining vacant especially in Jet Airways flight. However, on this trip, lots of seats were vacant. As soon as we settled down, my Mom took out candies from her purse and distributed among us, my bro gave them to my father who was on the window seat of the opposite row, out of which he gave few to that guy. He liked the friendly nature of my Dad and accepted candies. Astonishingly when the flight was ready to take-off, Dad asked me if I want that window seat, as he could grab another window seat( for which he had already confirmed from Air Hostess due to vacancy) and also he didn’t know that he is going to give an opportunity to that guy to start conversation with me, otherwise, no father will do that ….. he..he

I was watching out of the window, when unexpectedly I heard a voice asking, ”Hello, If you don’t mind can we talk ?” Hesitatingly, because my parents were around us and he was a stranger firstly I was reluctant, but as there was nothing to worry about and even I was getting bored, I nodded my head in agreement, ”Yeah tell me “.And from here our one hour fifteen minutes journey started.
He: Hi, my name is Sameer, Sameer Shah and yours???
Me : Payal
He: Is this your first trip to Kashmir??
Me: Yes
He:Oh!! I belong to Srinagar only.
Me: OK, that’s great!
He: Well I am in third year of M.B.B.S and doing it from Nagpur,and you??
Me: I am in first year of my graduation in Biotechnology.
He: Oh wow! It is having a good scope, nowadays(grinning)!
Me: Yeah, but not much in India. Well, I have a question in mind, as you belong to Srinagar, how do you people manage to live, when there is such a terrifying environment of riots, and conflicts?? I am getting goosebumps while going there as a tourist even.
He: Giggled, though my parents sent me outside Kashmir for studies, due to such a horrendous environment only, so that I may concentrate on studies, forgetting everything. But for us, these bomb blasts and firings are like crackers bursting on festivals. It’s my hometown and yet a heaven, so I can’t leave coming to this place, to my family. However, it is very much safe for tourists.
Me: Startled by what he told, but impressed by his spirit. So who all are there in your family??
He: Mine is a nuclear family with my father, mother & my younger sister Shama.
Me: OK !! Giggled (while looking outside the window).
He: Well, I found your father’s nature very friendly, as I have never seen anyone asking for anything to a stranger in flight.
Me: Yeah, he is! (grinned with a dilemma in thoughts, whether he is really impressed or just embarrassing me)
He: So where you all will be staying in Srinagar??
Me: In some hotel, whose name I don’t know.
He: Why don’t you people stay at our home. We will show your family all the popular places around.
Me: Well that would be our pleasure. But for this, you need to ask my father( which I was sure, he will never allow) because he has planned the whole trip( while staring outside from the window, as I knew my brother and mother were rolling their eyeballs on me making me weird. Might be I could stop this conversation in between, but I didn’t want that because I found him gentle and genuine.
He: I brought three boxes of oranges from Nagpur, I always bring them for my family, whenever I come for vacations, so would you like to take one??
Me: No, Thanks. We already have lots of baggage with us.
He: OK!
Me: Another question popped in my head and I somehow asked without giving a second thought, ”Surely you would be having any girlfriend?”
He: Guffawed!! How you are so sure??
Me: No I mean, you are a medical student with good looks, caring for strangers even, so what else any girl would desire for?
He: Ha…ha even I can ask you the same question, as you are beautiful, so do you have a boyfriend? Anyways I don’t have, because I don’t have time for it with hell burden of medical books.
Me: (with dancing heart, as I was complimented).No I don’t have. So whenever you will look for, what will be your type?
He: Though I have not set any type, but want a girl with a beautiful heart much more than her looks.
Me: (Can’t say whether the line was to impress or he really believes that, but I was impressed)Oh!! If you really think so, I must say you have a beautiful spirit.
He: Thanks! Yes, I really believe so.
Me: (Srinagar was about to come as mountains covered with layers of ice became visible)Again I started looking outside the window to enjoy the beauty of nature and the landscape seemed like a black & white sketch drawn on extreme canvas with sharp black graphite pencil. While I was totally adrift in the scenic beauty, again I heard his voice.
He: This time outside temperature would be in minus, so keep yourself covered with multiple sweaters and an overcoat. In the summertime, it turns up into the green.
Me: Ok! (simply nodded)
He: Take my number as I will be here for ten days, in case you need any help…9259……

Me: I didn’t hear him intentionally.
He: Do you have any mail id, so that sometimes I may send you the message, just as a friend?
Me: No.
He: (with a shock)Seriously I can’t believe that, how is it possible? You must be lying.
Me: But this is true. I am sorry.
He: I am really impressed !!

Was he or he interpreted me as a fool?? (dilemma…    )
Anyways in a few minutes, we were about to land in Srinagar as per the instructions of the flight captain.
He: Hopefully will catch you somewhere in Srinagar (grinned)
Me: Let’s see!!
And the flight landed………
Me:  Take care. Bye( felt quite sad because I didn’t realize how that one hour fifteen minutes had spent so fast, but anyways I had to move)
He: Bye. You too.
While we got down from flight, my father attacked me with bullets of questions……Why I was talking to him? What we were talking about? Did we exchanged numbers….and I exclaimed a big NO!!
Somehow my Mom supported me with her interruption, ”It’s fine if she was talking, she was talking in front of us and I have confidence in her”.
We arrived at the airport and reached to belt at which our luggage was loaded. While we were collecting our bags, unexpectedly Sameer came to my father and asked, ”Uncle would you like to come with us and stay at our home” ? which my father softly refused with acknowledgment of his pre-bookings of hotels etc and he left the place with a gesture of final bye.

Though I couldn’t believe that how a person can be so modest, his last humble expression had earned a lot of respect for him in my heart. I don’t know what would have happened if I had taken his number, but the turn at which I left it is unforgettable, as an alluring memoir and this trip had changed my opinion about Kashmir too. We roamed on streets of Kashmir, around Dal lake even on 26th January and there was nothing to worry about. Few of the Kashmiri locals offered us Kahwa(Kashmiri green tea flavored with cardamom and saffron) on Shikara and while we wandered around. With all my experience I have made an opinion that it’s not actually the local residents who are earning money by simple living, creating problems in Kashmir, but the separatists who don’t count themselves as Indians and the militants of other countries who have made prominence in Kashmir now.

19 Comments on “That Trip To Kashmir

  1. Hey Payal!!
    Good to come across another biotechnologist on WordPress
    My father retired from BSF and I have been to Srinagar 2-3 times for a duration of one month or so and it’s beautiful for sure.
    But it doesn’t seem to be a part of India when one is roaming there. Almost feels like Pakistan. Though we had security gunmen with us all the time, yet it was scary.
    I was also studying biotechnology in 2006.
    Three of my post-graduation best friends are from Srinagar and though they are very friendly and protective for me but because of the side of life they have lived and faced, they are Pro Pakistan.
    They support Pakistan’s cricket team and consider Kashmir an independent entity. All stone peters are not terrorist but normal people who are anti India and want BSF and army to move out of their so called land.
    And these are people who just like your MBBS guy have studied and worked in India.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes dear I am totally aware of the current situation because my brother is working in Srinagar currently and I know about the thoughts of people over there. I have talked with many people from Kashmir who work in our city n told me how they helped the tourists during floods in Kashmir. So the problem has started firstly from the congress govt who gave article 370 to Kashmir, second problem is from separatists who provoked the local people for the agony the local people suffered which means problem is not from just one end. The thought which I gave at the end was not on the basis of 1 hour and 15 min conversation I had with a stranger (P.S : He was not mine MBBS GUY but just a random person with whom I had a great interaction ) but the week that I had spent on the streets of Kashmir with my parents and conversation we had with locals. So I would just say , not everyone can be claimed bad but indeed there is a problem and I would love to focus on the positive side.

      Liked by 2 people

      • See I trust Induan Army and have full faith on them , I believe that might be the people have been brainwashed or they might be the victim of radicalization like the scenario shown in Haider and even we can’t forget what had happened with Kashmiri Pandits. But can we do something about it?? The answer would be no… All we are left with hope and the bright side to look upon.

        Like

      • You have been there, no one would be happy to see so many forces in their hometown or curfew every now and then. I support BSF and Indian Army both but just like every category of people are made of a mix so few mischievous people living under frustrating environments with leaves not getting granted even in case of emergencies in family might act impulsively but the anger towards forces gets collective whether the person is good or not. Locals support terrorist without any shame and they see them as freedom fighters not terrorist. When an ambush is set or a terrorist is targeted, mob gathers around and start pelting stone at Indian forces. Stone pelting is a new concept, much older is cost of each head as per rank. If a soldier, constable, sub inspector, officer are killed the attacker is paid by the terrorist according to hierarchy. They will settle for nothing but azadi and j&k has always been and will continue to be a part of India so no peace. The politicians fund the violence and their own kids are studying safely abroad. The politicians have black money and get funded by terrorist outfits from Pakistan. They even have been arrested with Pakistani currency at times. Only solution I see is to include it not give exclusive status. Currently only someone who has domicile of J&K can buy a property there which should be removed. Dilution of the general population with People loyal to India is the only solution though that might cause damage like the one caused to Kashmiri pandits

        Liked by 1 person

  2. haha I really enjoyed your conversation, I am not sure but don’t you think he was in hurry.
    I am pretty jealous now cz sadly I never find any girl opposite to me my seat while traveling.

    Liked by 1 person

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