In Photos | Stillness and slog in snowbound Kashmir
Trapped in winter, they prepare for spring. And that literally defines the spirit of the valley.
Away from the urban snarl-ups and clichéd countenance, the unruffled duvet of snow cowls a hamlet — cutting down its bearing with the abutting sectors and unleashing a comatose calmness around.
The carpeted countryside doesn’t conceal woes in its wonderland bosom. Barring its fresh and fleeting festivity, the snow hits grassroots hard in its wake. Snowed simpletons become sorrowed souls due to staked survival.
But then, the poet in some sees beauty in its beast mode in the season of frozen taps, menacing slips and shivering moments. Inside the snowbound homestead, an estranged soul confines itself within the warmth of his walls peeping at the snowfield outside its window dolefully.
Locals lend a helpful hand at the village level by voluntarily clearing thoroughfares for hassle-free movement. The snow-clearance drive remains spirited in times of escalating heart attacks. Shovels and snow can be a troubling twosome, the medicos warn, as they can prove perilous for the life-pump. But those living with the frozen timeline have no luxury to consider these caveats.
The snowfields spark a buoyant feeling in young and adorable. Kids wait excitedly to begin their fight—“Sheen Jung”. Their flustered faces give away the crimson cheerfulness — a moniker often being mocked by delusional disputants. The permanence of this beaming picture is a sign of sabr defining the very soul of the valley.
These innocent faces captivate adults and make them nostalgic for their own childhood. So on, it develops into a well-known brawl that lasts all day until dusk. Later, when the kids go home, they resume the fight until the snow melts. At the end of the day, they take turns for the much-needed Kangri-Josh.
The villagers assemble on the sides of the roadways, chatting about issues ranging from local to global level while maintaining their viewpoints on the present situation, whether it be political or not. The folks mock the problems that arise on a daily basis.
On the other hand, the exquisite varieties of various sorts of dry vegetables and pulses cooked by the women in households as part of their cultural menus create the nicest aroma in these kitchens.
For women, winter is not a fairytale. The fairer-gender remains on toes. Fighting winter with a rigorous routine requires a spine of a warrior. They hardly fail in their duty — be it cooking or driving out the cruel cold with Kangri.
The daily tryst with the frozen taps and water makes the otherwise serene season a troubling time for women. They do dishes in the chilly ambiance without grumbling about it. The contrast in their lives is glaring, and so is the perception about snow in the valley.
And when they’re not playing, they’re out with their school bags slung across their shoulders. Walking their way in delight and despair, the kids in Kashmir sustain the light of education on the slippery ground of the valley.
And while they slog and study, the hamlet remains carpeted in the frozen sight. The lifeless landscape reminds one of the unsettling reality of the paradise where people still struggle for means.
Apart from putting home in order, women work in the snowfields. These sanguine souls understand that the snowtime is the best time to implement agricultural methods to prepare the land for the upcoming crop. Trapped in winter, they prepare for spring. And that literary defines the spirit of the valley.