The author discovers something addictive about the people and the life in Kashmir, which no matter how bad the militancy has tarnished, still lures you towards it.
"Sab Badiya Hai" and a Bro-code!
Smile and Say Cheese!
Food is something that I felt always connected the people of Kashmir like a bridge connecting two banks of Jhelum. In Kashmir, treating someone to a feast is the best way to show their adoration.
The mountains, the valleys and the alleys with its graveyards lit during dusk filling the atmosphere with a mystical aroma induces in you a kind of phantasmagoria. The people who greet you with unmatched hospitality is a trait that is difficult to find anywhere else. It just requires one meeting and a little exchange of pleasantries to make a Kashmiri feel that you are his “bhai”. The next time he will call you bhai without a pinch of hesitation. I happened to make some friends during my visits to this picturesque landscape. Today was Eid and I had called him up to wish him on their special occasion. He picked my call immediately and started with the usual sentence, “bhai kaise ho”. I replied, “I’m good, how are you”. I could feel the happiness in his voice when he said “bas aapki dua”. He further added “when are you coming to my house for I will prepare a feast”. Food is something that I felt always connected the people of Kashmir like a bridge connecting two banks of Jhelum. In Kashmir, treating someone to a feast is the best way to show their adoration.
You can notice, the moment you meet a Kashmiri on a good note, the conversation starts with this, “chai peeyo”. The best part is that the person offering you tea will be miles away from home and in no way can get you tea, but he intends that you wait here and I’ll bring tea. I replied, “I’ll come soon”. Immediately his next question will be “ghar pe sb theek ho”, for which I reverted with the usual reply, “ all good”. Even though we don’t have anything to talk about, he will keep asking you “Baaki sb theek”, this is my favourite part for which I will reply, “bas badhiya” which obviously by now you can guess will be followed by his question “maa baap theek ho” and this will go on for quite some time.
This conversation and these questions are the trademark of a Kashmiri. The people of Kashmir I felt are happy in their own ways. For them Life is sharing happiness with each other. Very rarely will you get to see sad faces over here. One thing the people of Kashmir can definitely teach you is the art of finding happiness in small things and yes of course the culture and the society has a role to play in this. It is the way they are and that is what is unique about them. I think that they feel life is not just about passions and big dreams but to live in the moment and find happiness in the most mundane of things.
The same day I received a call from one another friend whom I had met in Kashmir. The moment I received his call, the first sentence was “you don’t come here nowadays”, it’s pretty illogical to think that a person who visited a place will keep frequenting the place. But, for him it’s just the way he wants to express his friendship. He very well knows that it’s not possible for me to visit him but still he wants to put forward his point that you are my friend. If you get the opportunity to spend sometime on a festive occasion in this valley, then you will understand what I’m saying, why I say that there is something addictive like a sweet toxicity in the dim lit, pious yet alluring streets meandering thorough the hamlets with it’s fun loving people.