Folk Tales from Kashmir

Table of Contents

  Index
  Foreword
  Dedication
  Preface
  Introduction
  Twin Scientists
  Daddy’s Distress
  Breaking the Horse
  She is the Apple of My Eye
  Daddy’s Coronation
  The In-Law Tussle
  Broken Pen
  The Dudda
  Daddy’s Nightmare
  Rise and Fall
  Rivalry and Rebuff 
  Mini Marco Polo
  Royal Dudda
  Facing the Challenge
  Yes, No? May be So
  Crest Fallen
  Psychic-Clash
  Shock Treatment
  Grandma’s Shivratri
  Conquering Death
  Prickly Thistle
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Chapter 4

She is the Apple of My Eye

Overpowering self preservation

"Rosy, my baby girl, is beautiful. She's lovely and charming I simply can't but gaze at her whenever free. I hold her on my chest as often as I can. She feeds at my breasts. She sends a pleasant thrill through the whole fabric of my body whenever she wears a gleeful smile expressive of satisfaction and comfort on her calm face and yawn soon after," say, Taja, her youthful mother. Rosy is her first child after her marriage.

Taja brooks a lapse in looking after her first born. She is only too fond of carrying the baby with her, in her lap, wherever she goes. Taja is extra-ordinarily anxious to keep near the baby and to keep her comfortable all the time. Rosy is thus brought up like a princess. For, she is the only child of her parents for a couple of decades or more.

And so, as Rosy grows, both mother and child become, as if they are each other's shadows. For they often seem to sit, stand and move about to work together even to the borders of exaggeration limits. Even as Rosy grows to her teenage, Taja is invariably found grasping her hand while shopping or visiting her relatives.

Once, it so happens that the whole township is agog with whisperings, gossip and subdued emotions. A man is killed here and woman saved there. An enemy is trolled and another gunned down. A youth is hanged and a suspect drowned. Tension and fear grips the entire township. And yet, the unsuspecting peaceful and peace loving dreamers still continue to be oblivious of the gravity of the situation and remain stubborn in their fatalistic, attitude. They continue moving about as freely as in normal times ever before. Some of them still seem to believe in the age-old conviction of self-deceptive safety-zone, they still stick to the old strategy of "YEATTI YOUR RAETSER" (Everything will be normal from this movement onwards and, we are safe at least for the time being). Trash! his false rumor. This replica of Khabri

Zena karol. It's a long, long time now since I salute my parents tethered as I ‘am to the peg of household chores, service of my aged in-laws, looking after our live-stock, orchards and kitchen garden, my dear husband being away in connection with his service. So many times have my brother and sister come and requested me to accompany them to my parental home, in down town, to console my old parents who had been craving for my darshans for long. Bed ridden, as they are? They are unable to move to ours. How cruel on my part to disappoint them on one pretext or the other, "Have I, my husband and my in-laws grown so callous towards my parents?" says she to herself.

She becomes self-remorseful, her sentiments receive a jolt and her emotions run high.

"My heart beats violently, I become dizzy, my head reels with pressure. What can I do? She broods over and reports her helpless condition to her in-laws, who in turn send word to their son.

Sad and sullen, Taja sits in a lonely corner, sobbing. Her sub-conscious agony of long separation from parents burst out in tears that roll down her cheeks. Her daughter Rosy is askance and stunned, wetting of her eyes, instantly become contagious. The reel of the replica of KHABRI-ZENA KADAL.

Unwinds itself like a flash in Taja's mind. The impact of the running film is so deep and permanent that, even in her semiconscious state, he repeats the whole episode of that mischievous replica of

KHABRI-ZENA KADAL VERBATIM THUS.

"Once a clever young man thought of playing mischief for fun with people, of Srinager. He gathers a group of his like minded friends and revealed his plan to them. The plan is approved and the line of action is unanimously agreed to.

The homogenous group scattered in a crowded corner of the city. One of the youths shouted from a distant, hiding place, "Gayee ho ! Gayee ho ! (It's gone. It's gone). The cries echoed from another distant corner and were followed by others running towards the crowds and rushing onwards. The yells are reinforced by multitudes of hoarse ones. Then rise up counter queries of, "What is gone? What's gone………. "

The excitation gathered momentum and the full throated cries. "It's gone. It's gone, "and"  What is gone? Where? Where? alternate and jar the listeners. But mob psychology and mob behavior rope them into their onward movement when some other groups shout. "Zena Kadala! Zena Kadal ! At Zena Kadal Bridge, at Zena Kadal Bridge)".

The excited crowds rush with the mobs and assemble at Zena Kadal. " Gaye ho! Gayae ho ! what’s gone? what is gone? ----only to be told that a sputum has floated under the bridge. What a cruel joke!"

"Damn this hot rumor" of tension and violence. I am not one be cowed down by such false hoods. Taja shouts out, as she rises up she turns defiant, and dressing herself, clinches her daughters hand and leaves by Matador to downtown, ten miles away. All along the way she cannot. help seeing groups of bewildered youth gossiping and the pedestrians running more hastily than usual. But the gravity of the situation dawns upon Taja on reaching the busiest market usually bustling with throngs of people doing brisk business. She's awe-stricken finding shopkeepers downing the shutter’s of their shops and feeling home-wards for life and the few anxious pedestrians double marching onwards. Taja too follows suit till she finds refuge in her parental home. Touched to the quick, on finding her parents gazing expectantly towards the door, Taja enters exasperated and panting for breath. Sips of fresh cold water revives her and her daughter a little and they are found gently embracing her ailing parents sobbing which turns contagious, engulfing all, parents, children and grandchildren. The high-pitched feelings and emotions soon have cathartic effect and the babbling of toddlers breathe the balm.

Refreshments and hot tea come handy but the anxious looks of all are centered in Taja's return home. Shaken by her travel experiences. Taja is careful enough to leave just in time to reach home well before dusk. So, with wet eyes and imperceptible sobbing, Taja clinches Rosy's hand, embraces her parents and takes leave. Her brother, accompanies her and sees her off at the bus stand. The matador speeds on through the street. But alas! Suddenly stops halfway through across a bridge and asks the passengers to alight and fend for themselves himself avoiding the whole danger zone.

This has further aggravating effect on Taja's terror stricken brain.

Unwillingly, the passengers step out and plod on in panic along the deserted road towards the venue of the rumor around the otherwise busy chowk where all sorts of vehicles are usually available.

Taja and Rosy move on sluggishly at first but somehow their calf-muscles get tickled by reflex action. They consciously or sub-consciously speed up and catch up with the advancing pedestrians.

Taja and Rosy feel being trapped there as so some other too did! They move helter-skelter to seek shelter. Shelter where there was none. They play hide and seek to avoid being caught in the melee.

An isolated, fast running truck strays that way all of a sudden. A trembling, panic-stricken group of anxious people, lying in wait on the spot including Taja, rush to and push one another into it as it stops a few seconds and instantly speeds on.

Unfortunately Rosy misses the grip of her mother's hand. And she is left behind alone to her own fate! Deserted in this way, Rosy weeps and wails, cries and yells in distress, She frisks away hither and thither, like a freshly born calf to seek shelter in the mare's protective cover.

Similarly stranded, a well meaning man touched by her loud sobs is closely watching her panicky movements in an atmosphere of intense tension due to desertion at the hands of her, otherwise, inseparable mother.

Imperceptibly and unknowingly after long-hours, there stops an isolated maruti car near the well-meaning man. The driver opens the door and shows him in hastily. The well-meaning man pulls in the panicky, girl, before hastily boarding it.

And the car driver loses no time to speed on. Where?

Nobody knows!

May be back to her village at home, miles away on the same road……

 
 

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