In Kashmir even strangers at midnight are welcome!

Jimmy Bali. Dated: 7/11/2017 11:49:33 AM

Great customs and true traditions!

Major Kulbir Singh
Jammu, July 10
To begin with I will admit that I am above fifty but love to travel and learn about things which I could not when I was a bit younger. The best days of my life I spent carrying a pistol 9 MM and the middle age I try to meet when I meet them, when I was a hunting Tiger as Major’s always are (with the tongue in cheek of course).
I was with my friend Mushtaq. It was evening when we were having Tuj (Seekh Tikkas at the red roundel Lal Chowk). Well it was a great feeling till the time Mushtaq reminded me that we have to reach Baramulla. Frankly admitting the Tuj maker was not taking a penny. I did not know why he was refusing. Mushtaq spoke to him in Kashmiri and I understood it all. Just because he had seen me in the fists of fury which I carried once upon a time? Mushtaq gave him a casual smile and told him in Kashmiri,’ it’s a case of mistaken identity. He is not the one whom you are thinking about. The man Ghulam Mohammed said, ‘Kashmiris do not forget’. True to the hilt he was. Kashmiris do not forget. They remember each and every event which has occurred during their life time. He took the money after my cajoling but then offered me something. It was another Tuj. ‘Can I carry it I asked’. In loveable gesture he offered me three more’. I told him that the iron sticks you would be needing tomorrow also. The reply was with a smile, ’trust me you will be here at the same time here again’. I thought I had lost a verbal battle since my instinct told me that I would be there. To others he was tell ‘ yeh mis a go asal’ (true to his heart). At Batmaloo I told Mushtaq to get them packed and requested him to stop at some food stall so that we could get the dinner packed.
Mushtaq was a bit surprised and he had every right to ask me the question, we are going to Sangrama and the people there are waiting for us. Obviously dinner would be there’. My reply was, I change my plans a bit too soon. We are going to Baramulla’. He got some mutton dishes packed along with rice and Lavasas’. It was already ten and we were on the way to Baramulla. Suddenly the lights blue apart and our Mahindra make Scorpio was surrounded by soldiers. Thank God they were Gurkhas and I am fluent at Gorkhali. I knew Baramulla inside out. The officer though his name was Salman written in yellow on his chest (the left side of course), to him I asked, ‘is it against the health rules that one cannot travel during nights’. He smiled and I handed him a book, appropriate name would be, ‘the return of Sherlock Holmes’. The character was fictitious but made real by Arthur Conan Doyle. The Spectator an English magazine published it and suddenly they ended it. Trust me it was the biggest mistake the publisher and the editor did. Anyway the officer let us go. Now I did not know where to land up but we did. Mushtaq looked a bit perturbed and asked me, ‘are you right on the ball’! My reply was I am. I rang the bell and suddenly appeared a glowing face, with a torch of course. I did not have to say a word when she blurted out, You were supposed to be in Sangrama idiot’! My reply was, ‘I thought it was more important to meet my daughter first. The whole house lit up and this welcome I had never ever seen before. Well Sannah is a big lady now, doing well now but the best thing she always smiles. Kashmiris look good when they are smiling!


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