Being an army kid, I grew up on tales about life in the valley from Dad & Grandpa. It obviously intrigued me day after day , week after week , month after month and years all together of what this part of the country looked like. To add to all this Mum repeatedly pointed that one thing she always would regret in life was not taking me to Kashmir. So with constant reminders of this deprivation, I started to etch vivid images of the valley and its people from the mid 80’s.
I precisely still remember the day Mom & Bro took off to join Dad’s battalion at Leh and I was left behind in my beloved Nani’s arms. Today I am glad they went, back then I wasn’t ! In case you are wondering why, the answer is my acute asthma, yes I was only 4 then and it was too risky a proposition with the limited medical aid in those times.
The tension all these years refused to subside in the valley & ‘KASHMIR’ from being Bollywood & India’s most loved holiday destination turned into an unsafe volatile zone and lately a frequent point of discussion on Arnab’s Goswamy’s show. Meanwhile, for me the blurred images engraved over all these years only gained clarity with the advent of the digital era and our Facebook , Instagram lives.
It was difficult to contain myself any further, so with a long weekend at hand, I booked myself on a Delhi – Srinagar flight during the off-season month of September ‘My Birthday Month’. The asthma could no longer hold me back neither could the tension between the two neighbours.
And by the way I did in fact go breathless there not due to asthma but soaking in all those enchanting vistas around me.
Kashmir has only left me yearning for more and I cant wait enough to return to the alluring valley.