Will my love, give me my Peace-child?………. By Rashmi Talwar


Will my love, give me my Peace-child?………. By Rashmi Talwar

War does not determine who is Right !- Only who is Left..! Oft repeated, in areas of conflict where doves try to broker peace.

As I watch with glee the unfolding Kashmir of my dreams – pregnant with tourism, following countless miscarriages spanning more than two decades, I feel joyous and sparkling!

I wonder, pray and am deeply hopeful that a peace- child is born, one that grows to make its parents proud.

That peace and tourism make a magical concoction, spelling boundless prosperity for Kashmir, remains a forgone conclusion for this land, lovingly crafted by God .

I, and many like me, also know that until the full term of this pregnancy, the peace-child, surrounded by a secure albumen –( the guardian angels!) and gaining succor by its robust mother (the delighted local populace!) in a closed protected surrounding is a ‘fragile’ foetus.

Its birth – a dream, for expectant but anxious parents whose hands rise in everlasting prayer that this glowing health of tourism, that failed many attempts to conceive earlier, may not just crumble with a single blow.

Yet nothing at all, can deflate my soaring spirit as I hear happy tidings and watch the sheer radiant delight of droves of those who visited the valley this year or the last, literally spilling with joy. And hence, my answered prayers cling to my bosom with surreal dreams for brimful prosperity for Kashur– this gentle charmer, ensconced in emeralds, topped by sapphire blues and ablaze with colors.

Nevertheless, I cross my fingers and feel like resorting to the ancient tradition, existent amongst both Kashmiri Muslims and Pundits of touching seeds of ‘Isabad’ to the shoulders of some ‘noble souls’ and sprinkling them over a burning Kangri, for the divine pious fragrance of burning seeds to ward off the evil-spirits and let the potential of this heavenly vale once again glide and fly unshackled in the bluest skies.

Walter. R Lawrence’s seminal book “The Valley of Kashmir” urges me to look beyond the obvious and I let my imagination take wings about the vast dimensions of areas open to honourable means of livelihood.

The book talks about growing English and European vegetables in the cool climes; the abundance of currants, walnuts, canned or dried fruit and vegetables, juices and saffron and I think of …the newly revived ‘Tulip Garden’ to ‘enjoin’ it with bee-keeping for a double income boost and having a bottle of ‘Kashmir’s Tulip honey’ or one in Gulmarg with wild lupins – a la ‘lupin Gulmarg honey’ on a crisp toast or it could be daffodil, clematis, honeysuckle , jasmine, azalea, fuchsia – honeys from the umpteenth lurking flower gardens all across. Fisheries and Kashmiri food could be my other favorites.

The state’s boast of best blue sapphires in the world could be my proud jewel or souvenir to pass as a prized family heirloom.

Raising my head to behold majestic pines, firs, plum, peach, apples or quintessential Chinars makes me imagine budding robust ‘Bonsai’ culture of the Japanese that could be introduced here along with culturing ornamental plants and flowers in ‘multi-level’ green houses.

The global demand for exotic herbs cultivation of the likes of oregano, sage, rosemary, basil etc too is a modern day demand in culinary delights, accruing huge advantage from such export to plains or even abroad.

Furthermore, collection of the vast spread of green moss in forests, extensively used in floriculture baskets, moss-sticks and gardens; of self-dropped pine-cones and pebbles for landscaping or the bottling of crystal clear waters of natural springs like of Chashma-e-Shahi, hold untold opportunities for local and foreign needs.

Lawrence writes “Kailasa is the best place in the three-worlds, Himalaya the best part of Kailasa and Kashmir the best place in Himalaya”. The book is inspiring on silk production, hops, viticulture, and wine-making.
It talks about “varied Sports-excellent, abundant scenery for artists, mountains for the mountaineer, flowers for botanists, vast field for geologist , magnificent ruins for archaeologists, health resort, mineral-rich….air- rich, soil rich, water rich, …rich , rich , rich in every conceivable dimension.

From the orange hued silky dawn, I piece together a morning filled with thrill on water-scooters, canoe/banana rides, jet boat rides, water skiing, para-sailing or holding a world conference on a large cruise boat or just a quiet informative cruise down the Jhelum to trace the heritage of this enthralling valley.

A little later, starry eyed, I watch a rainbow hued ‘mela’ where boundless handicrafts, spreads, embroideries, candles, woodcraft, earthenware share corners with books, music, documentary videos, be gaily spread and I long to shrug my last rupee for a piece of this place.

While in the upper reaches of Gulmarg, Tangmarg, Sonmarg , Pahalgam I look to share the thrilling delight of gondola rides on every picturesque snow covered peak, snow skiing, sledging and varied fun times.

Looking at the swollen belly, with fervent prayers for a healthy child, when fears of its safety are somewhat lessened or quietened —
I think of enriching the child with multi-dimensional facets offered by the Universe.
Combining the backdrop of Mighty Himalayas with the robust- rich culture of performing arts of the valley and hosting world artists, I visualize a massive wooden-raft floating stage on the Dal/ Nagin /Wular lakes, where the finest music- recitals from the world, waft to touch the loftiest peak; dance- be such that ‘nasha’ of the ‘jhoom’ or intoxication, is stamped on hearts for life; theatre- to enthrall every evening.
Performing to audience lounging in gently-lit romantic shikaras that double as front seats, bordered with moored house-boat seats much like the Roman Amphitheaters.

I also think of adding multiple floating-stages with ‘Son et lumière’ or the light and sound show, a ‘musical’ fountain show, a blazing fireworks show or even a week-long Kashmir’s “International Film Festival” , a ‘Literary Festival’ with ‘Golden ‘Hungul’(near-extinct deer species native to Kashmir) Award’ as a top honour.

And as I leave my shoes out to step from a star-lit night onto Kashmiri carpet and ‘namda’ covered floors and cuddle on chinar-patterned embroidered warm cushions, near a massive ‘bukhari’ set in the centre, I lounge with ‘Kehva’ from a samovar, or Kashmiri wine in one hand, pretending to suck from a papier`-mache hookah and looking up at the exquisite beauty of the roof tastefully sculptured with small wooden pieces of varying designs called ‘Khaatumband taalav’ and I see myself melting with the mellifluous tinkling of Santoor’s magic droplet music, so soothing, engulfing me into a feeling like a first-love child ‘delightfully drowsy’ in its mother’s lap.

FIRST PUBLISHED ON OPINION PAGE 7 IN “RISING KASHMIR” ON JUNE 22, 2012

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38 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ifra kak on December 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Gem of a piece…..Thnks for sharing mam…:)

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  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Ravinder Bhat: Rashmi Ji //cultivate hope // till DEATH//Rashmi Ji, Enjoy this Jagjit Chitra number….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qti7ac5row

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  3. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Ankur Dhar : Home is where the heart is said the Queen…. And I don’t think , I have to explain where our heart belongs, rashmi….

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  4. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Shailendra Aima: A good, well polished write-up!
    And the weave of imagery that you perceive as fragile, is available at no extra cost for those who know what’s what and who’s who in Kashmir. If tourism and peace is your ultimate dream about Kashmir, the dream has already arrived.

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    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Shailendra Aima –Thanks v much ji — I feel it is important to move forward … and for that one needs to look at the brighter side, cultivate hope … if thro this i have managed even an iota of raising a hope …I feel that a beginning has been created … Above all …what matters is that People of Kashmir remain happy and blessed !

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  5. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Kaul Ravinder: Rashmi, Kashmir has only to pray to Almighty that ‘Let all of Rashmi Talwar’s dreams come true’ and the problems of Kashmir will evaporate and it will once again be heaven on earth. Amen!

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    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      ‎@kaul ravinder — Thanks dear — Were it to be that simple ..? Things would look up ..from this very moment from now …Ha ha ha !

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  6. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Aalok Aima: ‎Rashmi – Lovely imagery …..

    “Nevertheless, I cross my fingers and feel like resorting to the ancient tradition, existent amongst both Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits of touching seeds of ‘Isabad’ to the shoulders of some ‘noble souls’ and sprinkling them over a burning Kangri, for the divine pious fragrance of burning seeds to ward off the evil-spirits and let the potential of this heavenly vale once again glide and fly unshackled in the bluest skies”

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    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      ‎Aalok Aima:– Thanks dear for liking it !

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      • Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        Aalok Aima: ‎Rashmi,Joyous as it certainly is, yet such joy is incomplete.

        It cannot be as simple as the switching on of a light-bulb in a dark room.

        Such joy is incomplete unless it is accompanied by the bringing of redress for the sufferings of the people of Kashmir whether in Kashmir or those displaced out and for ‘Hyond kyho Mussalmaan’ (as the phrase goes)

        There has to be restitution, reparation and compensation for those who have suffered. There have to be acknowledgments of the TRUTH

        At least for me otherwise the joy would be incomplete. I am sure you will agree.

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        • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 2:18 PM

          I know my joy is ‘fragile’ I know there are festering wounds that need to be assuaged , I know there are many who die dreaming of a comeback …I know and will do more to bring cheer and hope to their heart … I shall do more !

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  7. Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    I thank each one of you who has commented here. Indeed the comments are so000 thoughtful … I request u to plz open the page on blog — and copy paste ur comments …will mean a lot to me …
    Donald Banerjee sirjee, Raza Rumi Bansilal Kuchroo ji , Krishan Murari ji, Ramesh Mehta ji , Daljeet Singh ji , Amrita Singh Shauq Ansari, Autar Mota, Minnie Mahendru, Rohini

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  8. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Minnie Mahendru : Beautiful

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  9. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Ramesh Mehta: Like the spirit of hoping against hope

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  10. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Shauq Ansari: khoob he jnaab

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  11. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Rohini Arora Scarred forever…. Only love heals….

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  12. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Amrita Singh: What magic you weave with words Rashmi! May Kashmir regain and retain the glory that it deserves. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Donald Banerjee: Top top Rashmi, let’s hope the Guardian Angels protect the fragile foetus of the peace child

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    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

      ‎Donald Banerjee –If the top! top! boss –The former one of the best News Editors of Tribune indulged me by commenting on this post I am v grateful for his kindness …. but If he has truely liked it … I am on the—- Top- 0 World ! :))) Cheers sirjee !

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    • Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Donald Banerjee: It is time we said “Cheers to all who wish Kashmir well, all the others go to hell”

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  14. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Krishan Murari: Exceellent! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Autar Mota: A very very stimulating write up.

    “Nevertheless, I cross my fingers and feel like resorting to the ancient tradition, existent amongst both Kashmiri Muslims and Pundits of touching seeds of ‘Isabad’ to the shoulders of some ‘noble souls’ and sprinkling them over a burning Kangri, for the divine pious fragrance of burning seeds to ward off the evil-spirits and let the potential of this heavenly vale once again glide and fly unshackled in the bluest skies.”……………….. BEAUTIFUL COMMENTS ON ISBANDH BURNING BY KASHMIRIS ………………….

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    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      ‎Autar Mota ji …ur a connisieur of kashmiri and world poetry, I am so overwhelmed with ur comment —

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  16. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Raza Rumi: Straight from the heart

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    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      ‎Raza Rumi is one of best columnists/ Journalist of Pakistan — silent types … he hardly comments on soft copies … so here Raza dear ! cheers to ur comment

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  17. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Bansi Lal Kachroo :After War yes we leave the orphans ,widows,homeless and disabled persons in wilderness of ruins

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  18. Posted by minnie on July 6, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I always knew that you bring these beautiful thoughts to life with your magical pen and loving touch…Its exquisitely written

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  19. Posted by Anonymous on July 6, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I always knew that you bring these beautiful thoughts to life with your magical pen and loving touch…Its exquisitely written

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  20. Like the spirit of hoping against hope

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  21. Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Valley joins ‘destination wedding’ bandwagon with Rs 5-crore event
    Majid Jahangir
    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, July 4
    Most of the 500 guests were flown in on chartered flights, put up in plush hotels, driven around in a swarm of luxury cars and entertained by Punjabi pop singer Mika. Mayank and Pallavi’s three-day Rs 5-crore wedding was one of those grand high society destination weddings that are often witnessed in exotic locales of Mauritius, Vienna, Milan, Paris and Udaipur.

    Well this wedding took place at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), lined by hired houseboats on the serene Dal in Srinagar.

    Kashmir, which is swarming with tourists this year, is also emerging as an attractive destination to host high society grand functions, thanks to an extended spell of calm.

    The wedding was initially planned for Mauritius. But a senior J&K police officer, a relative of the groom’s family that hails from Uttar Pradesh, requested both families to solemnise the wedding in Srinagar.

    The bridegroom’s family, hailing from Rajasthan, is into diamond business.

    One of the members who organised the event said for the June 22-24 wedding, almost all high-end luxury hotels in Srinagar, including Lalit Grand and Taj Vivanta on the foothills of Zabarwan overlooking the Dal lake, were booked.

    The “lagan mandap” was set up in the lush lawns of the SKICC on the banks of the Dal and the bridegroom reached the venue in a well-decorated shikara.

    The wedding was solemnised with Hazratbal and Peer Makhdoom Sahib shrines and Shankaracharya temple in the backdrop.

    The wedding was attended by state minister Nasir Aslam Wani and several top civil and police officials.

    “It was a grand wedding and the orgaisners were instructed to maintain secrecy of the event,” said an officer who attended the function.

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  22. Very well expressed… Keep it up.

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  23. Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 5, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Dear Harry ji — Indeed it is an Ode to a Child of Peace– and no better wishes than goodwill … may the magic of Isabad play upon this vale for its joyous rebirth spelling Prosperity for its people … Thanks v much for visiting and alwys commenting to encourage me to do better .. thanks v much indeed ! ..

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  24. What can one add to Rashmi’s beautiful ode! An ode to this ‘child of peace’, in this ‘heaven-on-earth’ !! Except to send collective goodwill. And, with the divine fragrance of ‘isabad’ over the burning ‘kangri’ wafting over the entire vale, pray for its joyous rebirth. Ameen!

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