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).
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”
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.
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.
So, this painting, folks, is a part of my whole Kashmir script and saga. :-) I’d love to know what you think.
In the meantime, sharing some more snapshots of life from Kashmir. Eid Mubarak and hugs.
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.
We woke up at 4 in the morning to watch this unique exchange!
The blooms of Kashmir.
More people, more stories
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…
The Mother and Daughter
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).
Nature – wildflowers, lavendar and so many hues of purple!
The lavendars attracted hordes of honey bees and butterflies! What a treat for all 5 senses!
Reverence for our ‘Jawans’
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.
If you missed my previous Leaf Art, check out here: