The autumn in Kashmir! That day, that time, that place. And some good things had begun to happen
It has been almost five decades since I have been listening to the tune Come September that really is a complete artistry on strings of guitar and fits perfectly on Autumn in Kashmir!
-‘One of my Dad’s Kashmir friends, ML. Darbari from Rawal Pura in Kashmir used to say that I’m so glad I live in a world where there are octobers because autumn is when every Chinar leaf is a flower and it looks like the world is covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.’
-‘It was background theme music of the movie by the same name. That was a romantic comedy , so were many others but for the first time I heard it was on a picnic near Sweet Falls Shillong 46 years back and the last time I played it in my car when we were at Dara Shikoh gardens in Kashmir was exactly 31 years back! Writers and soldiers are romantics and so was I!’
-‘This is a story of a different kind, a story of three kids (then but now grown up) who were standing alone as the autumn leaves of Chinars were getting pale brown. It was a chilly morning sun was refusing to emerge and I was seeing them from the windscreen of my jeep!
-‘As my habit was in those days as it is now, I stopped and I found out first that they were hungry! It’s not a hand stretched that tells you whether the child is hungry or not! The eyes and a small smile does tell many things! I had understood that. I knew I had chocolates in a bag pack, I offered them but they did not take them. I offered a bunch of lollipops, a discovery by George Smith. The third choice was not far off! A little dusty road in the town of Bijbehara where something had happened! That time proceeding on a leave to see my eldest daughter being born was my wish but seeing these kids was an intimate, face off locked on to by fate! Emotions had to be caste side and just moments of sentiments had to be carried along! I did not choose the Jawahar Tunnel route to railway station Jammu for my onward journey to Hyderabad! I chose the dusty road to the interiors of Bijbehara where a horror awaited me!’
-‘This is not a story that has suddenly happened. It happened time and again where Kashmiri emotions were swept away by the leaders who were flamboyant, considering themselves as a kind of new plantations to rejuvenate spirits both in spring and autumn, they wanted money, they got far too much! Two sects of politics reduced Kashmir to a skinned duck. ‘But this generation is mine! I created it in my own way. Politicians would say so but not me, it can be felt if you talk to a new gen Kashmiri kid, it could be a boy or a girl!’Positivity is exploding on their faces like never before!
’A few years back we (my family) were standing at the rusted, unpainted gate of Dara Shikoh garden and as is my habit I began jotting down some lines on the Autumns in Kashmir, Yasmin walked up to me and after reading the paragraph remarked, ’hey forlorn Dad, what are you writing about? ’ I said nothing, just what happened when I saw you three, Mana and Henna the other on that autumn that day on 24 September 1994, I remember till today. Our small little family was going to get bigger that day! It did! The family of humanity, full of love but love too has bad incidents! In this tale it did not happen from that day onwards! In other words we are fortunate’
‘Autumn in Kashmir ‘was the caption of the photograph I got from my biggest comrade in arms with a pen. I did not know why he sent this picture! I do not ask many questions but two are definite,’ situation and the reason as to why?’ For a minute or two I never got a reply and I dropped the story in my hand, ‘It was half an hour later he rang me up and said the photograph is with you! It was enough practically! I was taught a thematic appreciation test a long time back! It was about autumn, that sounded poetic but that still did hit my brain hard! But writing about it was easy because I have been very fortunate to see many autumns in Kashmir but in particular I remember the one of 1994!
-‘This story is all about humanity where three little children on that murky but extremely cold day stood on the roadside!’
By: M S Nazki
The movie theme Come September inspired so many tunes in Bollywood. As the movie itself inspired by Bollywood hits Kashmir ki Kali and Mere sanam. Most popular copied tune in Bollywood is Madhuri Dixit dancing to Nadeem-Shravan music composed ‘Nazarien mili Dil dhadka! That day I was on my way to meet someone who had entered my life but the bigger entries were to be made! Destiny had decided so! At that time I never realized that these kids had already been hit big time by what we call as fate! It was a carnage in a village in the interiors and the kids ran for safety. What happened the night previous is another story but not an unfamiliar one in those days when the Mehmaan Mujahideens used to come into any disgusting and blasphemous hour of the night and scare the spine out of the people. They were in no way guests, they were rascals in cloaks of fighters for the Kashmiris!
I always knew that their time in Kashmir was short and it was made extraordinarily shorter by the Kashmiris as the new generation was on different plane and grid! They wanted to get out of the gridlocks of fear and shackles of the battered psyches and chains of fear. That is precisely what they are doing now!
These three kids were part of that journey which was going to begin! I was just an average player but the originator had to be someone invisible and bigger than all of humans! We see in our lives that spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence and once it goes we await for the next years to arrive, summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance and we exclaim that next year we will try to better what we did this year, autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence and hope that next year we will make it more revered and finally the winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance and promise ourselves on the arriving happy new year that we will a step further on the ladder of perfection and then on the last date with life we prefer the eyes to close as long as possible so that we can go through every page of life we lived, visually with the brain rolling over the film frames! That Autumn in Kashmir I will never forget because that day I met my three daughters making it five in all!’!