Up the Sindh river in a Doonga
It was dark when the doonga arrived at the Apple River
food, stoves, rugs, and blankets were loaded in
the beds were made in the dim lights of kerosene lamps
and soon we lay down to the sounds of the poles against the sides
that pushed the boat
past the shadows of other boats,
watercress and asparagus.
While we listened to stories of the cousins
and some singing of the girls
father called out the stages that were crossed:
passing under the city's bridges we reached Shadipur
and then pushed against the current of Sindh.
The boatmen were up before us next morning
. Ropes were anchored to the boat
and towed from the bank to make the climb easier
By evening we were at Ganderbal.
Rented tongas took us to the magic spring of Tulamula.
We set up camp under a chinar tree
and played under the lights to the singing of the worshipers.
We peered into the water to check its colour
to know the future
but layers of flowers prevented this
so we did puja, ate luchis and nadroo fries and rested.
It was a pleasant night.
Voices around us and singing in the distance
made us feel secure. We were oblivious
of the trials that lay before us.