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Day 8 of 30-Day Leaf Art: Inspired by Kashmir’s Chinar Leaves and the Stories of the Kashmiri People

leaf art therapy_nature journaling_chinar leaves_kashmir_India

Yes friends, today’s art IS inspired by Kashmir’s very own – Chinar trees and leaves – and the bounty of natural beauty that Kashmir is. Well, we all know Kashmir for its divine natural beauty, don’t we? But, what few of us may know about are its people. The Kashmiri people are of-course beautiful to look at (each and every face looks angelic, I tell you!) – but they are as beautiful in their hearts and spirits too. With the kind of struggle for life they have gone through and are still bearing every single day, the Kashmiris are a testimony to the resilience and fortitude of the human spirit. Today, on this very special festival of Eid, I dedicate my art and this article to Kashmir and Kashmiris.

Check out dozens of photos and read some heart-felt tales from Kashmir.

During our recent trip to Kashmir, the beauty of Kashmir overwhelmed us, no doubt. But, where-ever we went, it were the stories the Kashmiri people shared with us that ached and touched our hearts. We feel honoured that they trusted us with their personal stories of strife and torment caused due to the decade-long state of affair in Kashmir (terrorism/political uncertainty, conflict with State).

younf kashmiri woman

What’s astounding is that there’s a whole generation of Kashmiris whose lives have been thrown apart due to this and in their own words, “it feels we’ve been uprooted from childhood and thrown straight into our old age. We’ve not known what life in between means. What being a child means. What youth means”

kashmiri portrait

Whoa – that gives me goosebumps and jitters. It’s a fact a whole generation of children there have played with hand-grenades instead of toys and pistols instead of sticks (gilli danda).

And yet, what we saw on their faces was hope, gratitude and an unshakeable faith in Almighty.

kashmiri girl cutting grass for the ponies

When I think of Eid, I Will Think of Kashmir.

The holy month of Ramzan (that culminates today with Eid) started when we were in Kashmir. So, it’s all the more significant (and a sign?) that I dedicate today’s Leaf art to Kashmir. Since the Chinar trees fascinate me beyond words, it’s only poetic that I chose the Chinar leaves today for my art.

A Divine Script?

Our Kashmir trip (which, I believed was a calling from my baby’s soul – read here) – did it have any connection with the beginning of Ramzan while we were there. And the fact that it’s Eid today when I’m in the middle of my 30-day leaf art challenege – is this related too? Are these events part of a common script – a divine script – playing itself out? I feel so… 🙂

Talking about Chinar

The Chinar is a magnificent tree with a broad, spreading crown and long-fingered, maple-like leaves. It’s truly emblematic of the Kashmir valley.

And, voila! – the Chinar has found its way in my favourite field guide – Trees of Delhi – due to the fact that only ONE modest-sized specimen can be seen in Sunder Nursery (on the left as you drive towards the timber section). And, by the way, if you’re interested in trees or want to take your children on an educational nature walk, Sunder Nursery is THE place. Established in 1913, it’s a 70 acre site home to nine Mughal period structures.

chinar maple-like leaves art

So, this painting, folks, is a part of my whole Kashmir script and saga. 🙂 I’d love to know what you think.

leaf art therapy nature journaling

In the meantime, sharing some more snapshots of life from Kashmir. Eid Mubarak and hugs.

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Early Morning Vegetable Market on Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir.

This is a wholesale market where people get their produce on shikara (boat) and go about selling. Like the Venetian Gondolas, the Shikaras are a cultural symbol of Kashmir.

flating vegetable market on Dal lake Kashmir

We woke up at 4 in the morning to watch this unique exchange!

flower vendor on shikara Dal Lake

The blooms of Kashmir.

vegetable market on shikaras Dal lake Kashmir

More people, more stories

horse men of Aru Valley kashmir

The horsemen. They have a bad reputation amongst tourists for how they haggle and squabble. But, when you listen to their tales of poverty and hardship, you’d probably empathize and understand what makes them behave the way they do. When a father has earned only 20 bucks at the end of the day, it’s no surprise that he’d pull out all the stops so he can make a little more to take home bread for his family…

horse man kashmir

 The Mother and Daughter

kashmiri woman mother

A mother is a mother no matter which part of the earth you go to. I found myself striking up a chord with many of these women. I’d go around mostly walking and looking at my pregnant belly, these women folk would stop, smile and as I would move toward them to chat, they’d offer me health tips, suggestions and wishes (dua – in Urdu).

kashmiri girl

Nature – wildflowers, lavendar and so many hues of purple!

lavendar in bloom kashmir

The lavendars attracted hordes of honey bees and butterflies! What a treat for all 5 senses!

wild flowers_kashmir

Reverence for our ‘Jawans’

Indian army jawans Kashmir

And, finally, my whole-hearted respect, gratitude and admiration for our Army Jawans who guard the borders, risk their lives, have left their families behind – just so we will be safe. It’s a very, very tough life they live.
You know what, it actually felt heavy on our hearts when we’d see these men in uniform standing vigil all through the day while we clicked pictures, played in the streams and enjoyed every moment. My heart goes out to them and to their families as I pray for their well being.

I hope you liked this photo essay on Kashmir and her people. Share your thoughts freely below and share this post in your circle.

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If you missed my previous Leaf Art, check out here:

Day 1: Inspired by Saptaparni Leaves

Day 2: Inspired by Gulmohar Leaves

Day 3: Inspired by Banyan Leaves

Day 4: Inspired by Peepal Leaves

Day 5: Inspired by Yellow Bells

Day 6: Inspired by Jadi Leaves – Ficus amplissima

Day 7: Inspired by Kassod Leaves – Senna Siamea

30-Day Leaf Art Therapy: Intention and Purpose

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Anita Roy August 9, 2013, 11:22 pm

    Rashmie.. that was a lovely little visit with Kashmir. I hope that Kashmiris and Indians and Pakistanis find a way to living a peaceful life right away.

    • Rashmie August 14, 2013, 10:59 am

      Anita, thank you for connecting and writing here. Glad you enjoyed this virtual visit to Kashmir. You must go there next time you visit India. 🙂

  • Ranjana August 19, 2013, 5:37 pm

    Heyy Rashmie di:) loved reading about the Kashmir and Kashmir people. I did not know that Kashmirians are so kind:) N of course the Chinar leaf art is very lovely and those tiny flowers in the art is giving such a beautiful look to the art 🙂
    Hoping even we’ll visit Kashmir very soon!!!

    • Rashmie August 27, 2013, 12:29 pm

      Hi Ranjana,
      Thank you for this sweet note. Sorry for my late reply. So glad you like the Chinar leaves art and loved reading about Kashmir and Kashmiris. Yes, Kashmiris are warm and lovely people. You guys must visit when things get better. (right now, it’s in the middle of a turmoil again. 🙁 )

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