← 06 : Saheb, Biwi aur Kashmiri Pulav
Going out alone is possibly the deadliest risk of life. Apart from benefits of agility and hitch-hiking, one may realize their true physical endurance, potential and emotional capabilities which is cautiously contagious.
Short trips, real short trips making my way out of main city to the road connecting Manigam bypass with a hope of getting transport to the destination I’ve longed to visit since ~13 years, kargil-Drass.
Been an hour, the lonely road, the lonely me with the star studded sky. I cursed my misfortune as the lorries took halt for the night exactly where I was waiting and none were moving ahead.
Is there a way? Is it written in my fortune? Should I head back giving up again?
“Not this time!!Let’s challenge fate”, went away another hour.
Then came an unexpected vehicle at the most unexpected time with top priority clearance in the
city town country.
5 hours, 3 vehicles and 4 chai later, reached!! Finally!!
What the cook from last night said was true. There were little to no movement in this tiny village except the cargo heading to Leh-Ladakh, a cold desert. But nevertheless, glorious and beautiful from the gallantry of fallen men, who stood up for greater cause.
Post breakfast, the usual rites of begging for transport has begun. Not because I was miser to hire a cab, but there weren’t any cabs. Friday after-all. People’s Prayer day. Fridays and Kashmir, you’ll only get it when you visit Kashmir.
On a lonely road, in the lonely planet, a yellow board vehicle that says JK 16 which means Ganderbal district, which means, headed west. I waved alarmingly bringing the tiger to a screeching halt.
I have no specific destination, just take me along.. sonamarg/naranag/gulmarg/Kangan. Any low key village is good for me.
The driver turned back and got his approval from boss of the cab with whom I’ve exchanged a weeny surprising smile strolling around at the war memorial.
Embracing the beauty of dusty cold road, sat in the front seat just looking out at the empty brown-fields. The plain path till zojila which I’ve crossed in early morning under dark skies and invisible valleys.
It was as if a blonde girl’s hair parted plaited into two units and driving through small deviations in the partition.
Just at the zero point snow sheet cover,
the driver retired to prepare himself for the deadly zojila pass.
The black sweatshirt boss with a hair bun just got down and was having chai.
Not another word spoken neither a glimpse. Just embracing the hurling music of winds in the valley and the curves.
Along the curvy elevated roads, it felt like having traveled a distance but still around in the same place. Like how it feels ending up at the same place having traveled the distance, having moved away from the beauties that knew how to pull us back and trap in its clutches of memories.
There were tall trees suddenly after a section. Like someone demarcated the boundary for trees. Seems like the cold desert and the green trees had a rift on who to have the trees.
“Khudrat ka khel“,told my conscience. (Nature’s play).
When I checked the physical map, police station is the checkpoint of the village, neither a district magistrate nor a panchayat office. Just police station is the highest authoritative office according to the milestones. Perfect!! I thought and got down.
A youth hostel, village of large exotic villas. Not my type. Went around the town to scout for better place to stay.
JKTDC guest house with two crowns over it. I sought if the specific room was available.
He quoted a figure I couldn’t afford and told my budget. Probably the effect of low-no visitation in the season got me the room I required at my price. Mansoor bhai opened up the room for me.
I saw one of its sort. In Dalhousie : kalaptop wildlife sanctuary forest guest house where Lootera was shot. Vikramaditya’s next after Udaan.
As expected, a British construction with indoor chimney, unfortunately sealed 20 years ago
Just as the afternoon Azaan had its closing cermony from the nearby mosque, a familiar face next door. The same girl, 3 instances. I feared if she took me for a stalker. Which later turned out to be the best company I’ve had.
The hibernating introvert in me came to life again.
Sure she would be irked with my one word responses and drifting through aisle like a whizzing mosquito.
A walk towards south. An informal visit to the flock of sheeps, the horses, another ramzan bhai and the wani restaurant. Drafting, documenting using the recall memories from the past few hours-days.
The dawn was not puncutal, the usual 7PM came.
A company for dinner after a long time in thajjias, just beside the mosque.
8. The Story teller→