I am a south Indian by birth but greatly influenced by the lifestyle of north Indians. When I was in my 8 th grade, our school took us for an excursion to Kashmir. Those were the most exciting times of my school days.
It was a six day trip to Kashmir. Every minute we had something to learn, something to admire at or something to gaze at. The manifold Kashmir did not give us a minute to dawdle. I did not know A B C in koshur, but somehow managed with repeated “assalamalaikum” and “kithna bhaiya?”.
In the streets of Lal Chowk Ghantaghar, we did a little shopping. There we got to meet some actual humans. I bought a pearl necklace and a traditional kashmiri shawl. If it had been anyone else, they would have gone mad with the way we negotiated with them. But men there were so patient and had an endured smile. With no time my friends and I became friends with Mr.Kaul, a shawl seller. He was a 58 year old man, running a street shop to earn his living. He also had an agricultural land, which his son took care of.
At the strike of 1, a lady arrived at the shop, carrying a bag. Mr.Kaul introduced the lady to us as Mrs.Kaul. Just like her husband, she had an endured smiling face. The red salwar-kameez looked so pretty on her. She had brought lunch for her husband. With a genuine welcoming face, she invited us to have lunch with them. She opened the meal box which was filled with rice and meat up to the brim. Our mouths were watering which made us realise that it was lunch time and we had to leave. Mr and Mrs.Kaul were disappointed with us leaving them half way. We did not have any option either. When we had reached our rooms, we were discussing about how both of them seemed to be loving and genuine, how the area had a welcoming milieu. Mrs.Kaul had addressed us a “khaetie”. She did not think a minute to share her lunch with us. Both of them mirrored my grandparents. Their hospitality had made them adorable.
The next 5 days we did not get to meet them. But everyday , on the roads, on the backside of buses, we could find some really beautiful quotes, which was another way of expressing kashmiri love. I strongly believe that these little actions enhance the beauty of Kashmir. .
We had sauntered to an embracing retreat to enjoy times and to forget life’s little hassles and hitches in its hospitality.