Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India


Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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October-December 2002 issue

House Boats on Dal Lake in Srinagar

House Boats on Dal Lake in Srinagar. Credit for introducing House Boats in Kashmir goes to Pt. Narain Das, father of Swami Laxman ji.

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

  Stories for the Children
Charu & the Witch - Concluding part
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

M. K. RainaCharu got panicky for Gulu. He continued to look for him till he found him in a corner along with the bodies of some other children. Samang's brown horse was also there, standing on four legs but motionless. There were precious stones and jewellery placed on shelf like structures. There were swords and arrows, made out of large animal bones. There were all varieties of fresh and dry fruits and other eatables, stored in beautiful gem laden stone containers. Charu's time was running out. He quickly looked out for the glass jar containing souls, but there was none. There was a wall at another corner. Charu went behind it and found another small cave, in which fire was lit. He took a burning wood and searched each and every corner of the cave, but he could not find any souls. He got worried. He came out of the cave. Tara was alert, standing near the stone. There was no trace of a wind and Charu still had time. But he could not decide about his next move.
Charu noticed, Tara was wet. He had taken another dip at the spring. Charu was angry. Tara should not have left the spot he was stationed at. He rebuked Tara and Tara licked his feet, begging pardon. In a flash, Charu felt, he had had some clue to rescue Gulu. He took out a bowl from his sack and went to the spring to fill it with water. He did not forget to have another dip before he entered the courtyard again.

Tara kept the bowl on ground and climbed up a tree. From there, he looked at the chimney. The owl was fast asleep there. Charu climbed down immediately, picked his bowl and went inside cave again. He reached near Gulu and poured the spring water over him. Gulu started moving his eyes and lifting his hand. Charu shouted with joy. Within moments, Gulu was alive. He embraced Charu and kissed him. Tara heard their voice and came running inside. He licked Gulu's feet. Gulu patted him. Charu and Gulu wanted to leave immediately but Tara would not let them go. He was looking at the brown horse of Samant. Charu understood what Tara wanted. Charu and Gulu, both came out. Tara remained there. Charu emptied his sack and filled it with spring water. Both of them had a dip, and carried the sack inside the cave. With his small bowl, Charu poured water on Samant's horse. He was also alive. They poured the water on as many people as they could and all of them were alive. Time was running out and they could not waste time on getting more water from the spring.

The brown horse and the people who got life back, jointly slided the entrance stone. All of them were out of the cave. Charu instructed all to run to safety before the witch came or the owl awoke. And an idea struck Charu's mind. The owl was sleeping and It was the right time to kill him. He signalled Tara. Tara ascended to the top of the cave and down brought the owl, his wings tightly held in his teeth. Owl was half asleep, fluttering his wings. Tara dropped him near Charu and Charu lifted him in his hands and twisted his neck. There was a thundering roar all around. Charu continued twisting owl's neck and the wind started blowing. The witch was somewhere near, roaring with pain. Wind blew faster and the witch came close to the spring, shouting and screaming. The owl was still alive and Tara was not able to kill him. He put him under the foot of the brown horse, and the horse trampled it. There was a loud scream of both, the owl and the witch. The witch fell near the spring half dead, screaming and pleading for life but the horse was mad. He did not look at the witch and instead kept the owl pressed under his foot. Tara, jumped over the owl and tore his neck apart with his sharp teeth. The owl and the witch died instantly. And a miracle took place. There was no spring now. It vanished. The magical water channel was calm now. There was no splashing and there were no colours. The skeleton bridge also vanished.

Charu and Gulu, both were sad. Those, dead inside could not be given life now, as there was no spring and no magical water. Before they started leaving for their home, they heard noise inside the cave. And in a few moments, all those who were still dead inside, came out alive, running and shouting, to the pleasure of Charu. They had all attained life at the death of the witch.

When Charu and Gulu reached top of Vismainag, they saw flocks of different varieties of birds coming towards plains of the cave. They saw nightingales and bulbuls and parrots and long necked swans, all chirping and singing, and retiring at the fruit bearing trees. The whole area looked like a piece of paradise. But Charu, Gulu, Tara and the horse, did not want to stay in this paradise. They wanted to be home before it was night. Tara ran fast and fast so that he could inform the villagers in advance.

Charu and Gulu mounted on Samant's horse. When they reached the foot of Vismainag, there was no ravine. The banks had joined back. The trees were there and the rope was lost inside the earth. Beyond this place, the land had grown with lots of flowery plants. There were no wild bushes and the whole area looked beautiful.

When Charu and Gulu reached Kolur, all the villagers had assembled at both the banks of Hapatara. All of them shouted with joy and embraced both Charu and Gulu. Charu had done a great job at the risk of his life and was now the hero of the village. Charu's parents were in tears of joy, having seen their son alive. Tara was carelessly swimming and playing in the waters of the stream.

Next day, villagers removed the thorny bushes barrier from right bank of Hapatara and declared that area open to all. They changed the name of the snow-capped mountain from Vismainag to Charunag, in the name of their hero.

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