Thursday, December 27, 2012

When Shades fly

When shadows talk and shades fly, this is what makes your eyes see the grace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Being a droplet

The drops enjoy the free fall; Some lash the tin roof, a few hang on to the wet branches.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Words flow from Gaza: Look at me

Gaza rests in my thoughts and has been beating along with my heart, just like my own Kashmir. The world must not turn away from the truth. The story has to be told. Someone has to tell the tale. Others have to listen and spread the word. It is high time we all know the sufferings due to injustice as much as we know ourselves. 
I leave you with a poem "Look at me" by Nahida - an exiled Palestinian. Every word turns you speechless and stirs up the soul. Each line has a message for us to rise and speak out.

Look at me
 I would love to write poetry about love,
Paint rainbows and butterflies,
Smell the scent of pink rose buds,
And dance;
Dance with the melody of jubilant bluebirds
I would love to close my eyes and see children smiling
No guns pointing at their heads
Tell them stories of lily-like fairies in far-away lands
Not of bullets shrieking.... of missiles exploding
How can I?
How can I?
 There is a dagger in my heart
I am hurting
I bleed,
I cringe,
I cry
I am being slaughtered
Under your watchful eyes  
I am cold… cold…. cold
I cringe,
I cry
Humanity, where are you?
Why do you turn your face away?
Why do you keep looking the other way?
I am here
In Gaza's alleyways
Humanity, where are you?
Look at me
See me
I am here
In Gaza's alleyways
I cringe,
I cry
Enough turning the other way !
Turning a deaf ear
Turning a blind eye
While I,
and oh ! My poor children

Note: The above contents were published on Set Me Free with proper permission.
About the Poetess: Nahida is a Jerusalem-born Palestinian refugee living in exile for over 42 years. She was forced to leave her homeland, Palestine at the age of seven during the six-day war. She is a mathematician by profession. She has published two books- I Believe in Miracles, and Palestine, The True Story. You can reach Nahida at

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Buds, roses and the guns

Every child is an open book and the one who hails and buds out of a conflict is a complete memoir of its own. A compact memoir of the incidents that never get quoted in any of the huge journals that decorate the shelves of library. Those tiny eyes record and register the essence that everyone misses. Here is my friend Idhries Ahmad narrating few of those moments with his wonderfully weaved piece. Idhries had just captured what every child in Kashmir has imbibed, in itself, while being part of the decades long strife. I leave you with this article about the buds, roses and the guns.

Why AK-47 was a favourite of ours…
"Kashmir is a highly militarised zone. I met children here who could even distinguish between the sound of firearms from the security forces and militants"- writes a  journalist friend of mine…
Obviously my dear friend. We were brilliant at it. Absolutely brilliant. In those days, I would bet, me, my brother and sister were better than, dare I say, the protagonists. Nothing extra ordinary, we just had too many lessons and credit to us we were all ears to them.  
We are absolute masters at distinguishing with ease and absolute precision the sounds of an AK 47- the Kalashnikov, LMG, SLR, 303, Sten gun, Brain Gun (don’t know whether the weapon existed, but for us it did), Chinese pistol, grenade and rocket launcher among others.  
In fact, it was our favourite game for many months after which parents influenced by uncle, thought our brains needed some serious rewiring. The good for nothing uncle had somehow got hold of our copies.
But while at it, we just loved it and we were very fierce competitors on the ‘field’.
Back then in early 90s, living at the edge of the national highway, we had the 'absolute pleasure' of the hosting both the parties - militants and troopers on our terrace, garden and neighbour's extended courtyard for years.
Without a fail, the party would start in the evening. We would get our rough copies and 'select' our weapons! A toss, mostly via aaroei-maario decided who 'got' the weapons.
The rules were pretty simple. For every shot of AK 47 heard and registered, we added 1 to our respective score sheets. Brustt (only learned later that it was a burst) carried 20 points. LMG – 1.5, 303 – 5, Sten gun, Brain Gun – 2 (quite a favourite with troopers), SLR-5, Chinese pistol -10 Grenade- 50 and big bang of rocket meant 100 accrued to the kitty. 
All three of us wished that AK-47 falls in our bowl. After all it showered petals in ones, two or threes or burst of 33 and was a favourite among the parties - Khaki guys and the men in Adidas. A slight difference though. The former had a wooden handle and the latter without. I have felt the power of both though the wooden one made regular appointments with me and my friends. 
LMG was the second favourite for it too showered bullets in scores but was only handled by troopers, a handicap. Sten Gun came third, followed by SLR, pistol, grenade, rocket and 303 in order of preference.
The 'made for each other' parties would start the salutations at 7 P.M and carried on celebrations late in the night. While the ‘separatists’ started the party with much fanfare, the ‘security’ forces always took time to reciprocate the feeling in kind.
It would start off with loud explosion –a rocket invariably hitting a tree, followed a volley of grenades hitting everything- expect the target and then an unending burst from AK 47s. The unimaginative repetitive script was punctured by an equally regimented script with a single SLR shot announcing the warming up of troopers.  Within half an hour even the stragglers joined in to justify their commitment and paychecks.
Between 8 P.M and 9 P.M, the orchestra was complete with all the pieces playing in symphony. The rhythm of AK-47 punctured by the staccato SLR and squeaky pistol interspersed the chatter of LMG . Grenades added to the high base and AK 56 pointed to a loner in the party.
The grunge of 303 signaled the presence of a lone Khakhi, not the regular trooper but that of an ill equipped J&K policeman, who like his local political masters, reminded the main parties that he was capable of noise. 
From 9 P.M onwards, it used to get real tough to keep up with the scoring rate. That invariably caused confusion in the final score card which more than often ended in bitterness among the siblings. Needless to say, more than often, yours truly ended up winner.
At times, the fun would spill over to early morning, but our deadline would be 10 P.M following which we could count our score, puff our chests if we won and go to sleep. The rest of histrionics wouldn’t matter. Only if they used rockets late in the party, would we get up and disturb our score sheets.  
Moreover, after 11 P.M it was free for all. Even some Kashmir Trained militants, soyuths, handigas, lalteens (collectively referred as wannabes or also rans) joined in and we didn’t want to count runs from substitutes. The pocket I lived in had at that time 102 PAK trained militants, mostly Hizbul Mujahidin men and so never any shortage of ammunition, excitement and quality man power.
Thankfully, these late night parties were rarely bloody. The fireworks in night most determined who held the writ of the land. Most of the causalities, mostly civilians killed in reprisals, happened in early mornings. 
However, at times the bullets met blood. One such burst 'allegedly' fired by a trooper 'accidentally' hit my beautiful neighbour. She survived but never was beautiful again and never again my subject of interest. Another hit, surprisingly, a rich man. Another hit a trooper whose friends got so angry that that they waited till morning to narrate Dad their side of story in their very ‘special’ way. Another hit a militant, formerly dad’s favourite student. 
Another killed a… Another injured a… Each one a separate story etched permanently. Will share them too, some other time, when I am not in this quirky mood. In this mood, I can atleast cull out some fun in the face of tragedy that destroyed our childhood...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

And I wonder..

I wonder about these eyes. How well it enjoys the world around!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cloud Kick II

Long back I penned down a little thought about how clouds mesmerise me. Here is the link for that Cloud Kick post. Time passed by, many a things changed. Transformations took place. But what I see as an undisputed constant, is nature's bounty. I have been watching and craving to write more about these fluffy monsters. These monsters sometimes become creatures that we only see in dreams and fables. We carve out stories out of these soft random beings. 
They are ubiquitous, ever-changing, interesting and, most importantly an absolute subject for us humans. Sometimes, they look like big balls of cotton. I could watch them all day, and see them drift by. Use your imagination and you can see lots of things in these formations.
Many a times I see little clouds floating like a feather from some gigantic bird. They are the souls of happy ships floating merrily.
I have always felt like a a cloud, something that persists over long periods, whilst simultaneously being in flux. I travel with time like the matter that flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to become one accumulation. 
Below are a few assemblies of this wonderful creation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The true story

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.” ― Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Smile - Unbuttoned

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase:
if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.” - C.P. Snow
Why chase something that is there? Why this race? Happiness is all around; it’s like bubbles. Bubbles of smiles bursting around us at random. Even in these tough times when a garden appears to us as a desert and even when we are forced to bid adieu to our loved ones, unwillingly.
Still glued to that hope - that hope of bloom, that hope of return. We smile. We all do!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heaven beaded by barbed wires

We have seen them glitter after quenching their thirst

Soaked with bonded sweat, with innocent blood

They stood ruthless as the face of the tyrant

At times, it became my armor, sometimes, it covered my fist

My murderer made it into a deadly whip

Those barbed lines were installed to arrest the spirits

Gave me a reason, to continue my quest

Carrying along a hope and a desire

One fine day, these deadly thorns will corrode and fall apart

These lines will fall apart, these lines will fall apart

Making way for a harmless stretch

Where our children will walk without a scratch.

The heritage you leave behind

Among the pre-Mughal muslim building of Kashmir, one of the most prominent is the masjid of Madin Sahib at Zadibal. The monument is a masterpiece and carries very distinct architectural feature including earthen roof, khatamband (ceiling made of thin pieces of wood worked in geometric patterns) and the tile work. The structure is famous for its glazed tile work throughout the world. The structure is a protected monument and some part of it was renovated by the State archaeology department.
The north of the masjid is the tomb of the saint. In ancient times it must have presented a brilliant spectacle, as its entire wall surface was decorated with glazed tiles, most of which have unfortunately been removed and sold out of Kashmir. A few fragments are preserved in the Pratap Museum, Srinagar.
I was surprised to see the shrine locked and not accessible to the public. The reasons behind is the controversy related to control of the shrine.
My best friend rightly said, "I do not understand how human beings can arrest such an exquisite piece of art and not allow other human beings to witness it. It is absolutely unjust on their parts as this shrine needs admirers and not a curtain to keep it away from admiring eyes."
The shrine was guarded by the caretaker and according to him no one can enter the premise of the shrine. One needs to get special permission from the regional administrative offices to do that.
Both the tomb and the masjid were built in memory of the same person, and the inscription on the lintel of the entrance of the masjid records the date of its erection as A.H. 888 (A.D. 1483) in the reign of Zain-ul-abidin.
The shrine is believed to be the only structure in valley representing all essential features of old Kashmiri architecture.
Not about anything else but is all about the heritage you leave behind.

The above images are clicked on my Canon EOS
(Specifications on request)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A long journey

The complete life, the perfect pattern, including youth and maturity. The beauty of the morning and the radiance of the noon. You are yet to experience what I witnessed so far.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The storm

The winds of the Dal appear old and sane. 
Looking back, these winds often turned turbulent and showed their might. 
They brought with them blood red mist that moistened our skies. 
What happened to the storm that rattled homes?
Is this lull announcing another brutal invasion?
The person in the image is me and it was clicked by a friend while on the shore of Dal lake. Later the image has been processed for effects with Adobe Photoshop.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A tender touch

A light, tender, sensitive touch is an amazing combination. Look what I managed to click a few moments back.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mystical harmony

The ground we walk on, the waters we float on, the flowers that bloom, the plants and creatures, the clouds above constantly dissolving into new formations - each gift of nature possessing its own radiant energy, bound together by mystical harmony.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Waters never die, they change form.
The above image is clicked on Canon EOS 1000D

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The burden

A heavy burden, a murdering poison, to bear it for decades is a feat. 

The above image is clicked on Canon EOS 1000D

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hydaspes the great

We dwelled on its banks for ages 
We moved, we grooved across its waters 
We played, we basked in its glory 
We relished its blessing 
But trembled in fear when its waters showed the might 
We never thanked back when it came for help after witnessing our plight
Its flow has swept away countless bludgeons too
The times it turned green, at times orange, red or blue 
It saw their might on its shores
It saw Qadeer thumping his enormity
It also saw fists that were held high
Its turns and twists hold zillions of tales
Only Almighty knows about their fate
Hydaspes the Great!
Most of us know Jhelum as Vitasta (Sanskrit) or Vyeth (Kashmiri). Not many know that ancient Greek had named the river as Hydaspes. The River Hydaspes is the Jhelum of modern-day Kashmir. Hydaspes (Jhelum) rises from a spring at Verinag situated at the foot of the Pir Panjal mountain range in the south-eastern part of the valley of Kashmir. It flows through Srinagar and the Wular lake before entering Pakistan through a deep narrow gorge. 
The river was regarded as a god by the ancient Greeks, as were most mountains and streams. Other rivers of the east, personified by the Greeks, included the Indian Ganges, and Assyrian Tigris and Euphrates.

The Battle of the Hydaspes
The Battle of the Hydaspes River was fought by Alexander the Great in 326 BC against King Porus of the Hindu Paurava kingdom on the banks of the Hydaspes River (Jhelum River) in the Punjab near Bhera in what is now modern-day Pakistan. The battle resulted in a complete Macedonian victory and the annexation of the Punjab, which lay beyond the confines of the defeated Persian empire, into the Alexandrian Empire.
Presently, the waters of the Jhelum are allocated to Pakistan under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The second snowfall of the year

Kashmir woke up yesterday covered with white velvet blanket. I stepped out and met a few people including a group of playful kids. In no time I realized a fact that a lot of people including me, like snow. A few find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
And I also saw this little chap (image below) facing its first winter playfully. He was thrilled to be part of the nature's opera.
The above images are clicked on my Canon EOS 1000D
(Specifications on request)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kashmir: it is all about a bulb!

The unfortunate story of Kashmir. As my twitter friend Afaq (@afaq_bacha) says "These incandescent bulbs are a thing of past and for good reason too. A relic and an easily avoidable drain on our meagre energy resources."
Shot on 
Sony Cybershot

The Dusk

Kashmiri shikarawalas (boatmen) returning home after a busy working day. They survive on these waters and cannot think beyond these mesmerizing water bodies of Kashmir. The Dal offers them livelihood and they bring Dal alive. 
Shot on 
Canon EOS 1000D
(Specifications on request)
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