Friday, August 8, 2008

Shri Ganesh!!!

Why does one write a blog, or to be more precise, why have I decided to join the fraternity of blogs and bloggers? I mulled over this for quite some time and today against the backdrop of the incessant downpour, I seem to have gotten my answer. Rain is always a reason to rejoice, notwithstanding the water flooded streets, the open manholes, the traffic jams and the power cuts! A steady shower from the skies never fails to inspire the creative and cheer the ordinary. To the poet, the lyrical pitter patter on the roof and outside the window is a poem, to the musically inclined, it is a lilting melody and to the poor beggar sleeping out on the pavement under the open skies, it is another harsh moment in the endless train of miseries.

Good or bad, sweet or bitter, every downpour is a story in itself. And here I get my answer! Like the rain, I realise, I also have a story to say. The fact is that after almost a decade of chasing stories out in the big, wide world and trying to find answers within the TV studio, I still have a lot to say and seek answers for. There are stories and stories, of both personal and impersonal nature. Stories of people, of places, of events and of non events, and, I want to share these with likeminded or even differing souls. The purpose is not to reach conclusions or seek definitive answers. The purpose is to start a journey, a journey of conversations, honest, genuine, and agenda free conversations. And in the context of the current turmoil in my home state of J&K, the first story that comes to mind, is that of Hamida. Hamida is a distant memory today, but he will always be an unforgettable reminiscence of peaceful and much happier times in my beautiful state.

Many years ago, 1982 to be precise, I made my first trip to Kashmir. My father was posted in Srinagar and we were based in Jammu. I was a class one student and till that time had seen Kashmir only in Hindi films or in my father’s postcard collection. We decided to pay Papa a visit during the summer break. And although I was very young at that time, I still quite clearly remember shouting with joy as our bus entered the famous Eucalyptus tree lined stretch in Baramulla, a location so commonly used in Hindi films. My father lived in a pretty Kashmiri style government bungalow in Srinagar and Hamida, a young local Muslim boy was his domestic help.

Hamida was quite an endearing soul, who always had a big smile on his face. He made us delicious Kashmiri delicacies and hot steaming Kashmiri Kehwa at all hours. Whatever the time of the day, one just had to ask for something and Hamida would produce it right away. He was particularly kind to me and my little brother. Often we would shout….Hamidaaaaa, and he would rush to us with pockets full of goodies. Whenever we kids wanted some entertainment, Hamida would play us some music on the tape recorder. He was fond of singing and would sing often in the kitchen. And in those daily dreams like trips to the Mughal gardens of Kashmir, Hamida always accompanied us, telling us wonderful stories about the places. We found his stories about the famous Pari Mahal particularly enchanting. The tales of fairies visiting the abandoned fortress at night delighted us no end. On our treks to Shankaracharya, the famous Shiva temple, he would climb those never ending stairs holding our hands.

Our fascinating trip to Kashmir ended in ten days and we returned home to Jammu. Everything else was quickly forgotten in the hum drum of school life, but Hamida stayed fresh in memory. We made many subsequent trips to Kashmir, but never again met Hamida. Today when I see people in Jammu and Kashmir, the two regions of the state, create ruckus over the Amarnath Shrine Board land issue, I wonder what would be Hamida’s take on the issue? Would he still be as warm and friendly to us as he was then? Or would he look at us as enemies from Jammu? I wonder and I am not too sure.

As if the scourge of insurgency was not enough, the natives of the troubled state now also have to cope with the divisive politics of selfish politicians. Politicians, who are hell bent on fuelling hatred and animosity among the people of the two regions by inciting communal and regional sentiments. The motive is to widen beyond repair the already existing regional divide between Jammu and Kashmir. And the goal….petty electoral gains? Why else do you think would the issue be raked and blown out of proportion just a few months before the state goes to polls?

The government, both in the state and at centre, first allows the situation to worsen beyond return and now plans to hold all party meets to find an emergency solution. One wonders at such a delayed reaction to the deteriorated scenario. One can at best only hope that the current efforts are serious and that all parties across the political spectrum genuinely and earnestly work towards resolving the matter, rather than planning shrewdly on how to gain the most out of the volatile situation.

Heard a Kashmiri shopkeeper lament on national TV the other day… ‘ In siyasatdanon ne tabah kar diya iss riyasat ko’( these politicians have destroyed our state). This sadly is the bitter truth of Jammu and Kashmir today.


रवि रतलामी said...

welcome to bizzare world of blogging. I liked the idea og dual blogging - ie blogging in hindi and english both.

But it looks like pure PR thing. Nah?

Gage said...

gud goin sheetal!!!
al da best!

Nitish Raj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nitish Raj said...

welcome in the world of words...sheetu nice to see u here...same format...same thinking... what's the matter?...going to pak?...
u can also come to my blogs too...
bye c u

Rachna Singh said...

sheetal hello
i am rachna blog moderator of following blogs
please see them and if u r interested please let me know and i will send invite to you

Eve said...

there is a always a soft human story behind everything that goes on in this world. sad, that most politicians seem to miss it. welcome sheetal. looking forward to reading more...:)

Unknown said...

Welcome Sheetal ji to the world of bloggers!

best wishes,

हाका हुम्बा (हल्ला गुल्ला) said...

sheetal ji.. i visited your blog first time,it is quite impressive. your wide range of writting on memories, international relations, bollywood , contemporary issues ..etc.. are amzing. but you did not write anything for 2 months. why?
mam its realy good effort or i would like to say another great part of yours and your blog having excellency. keep it up mam.
Ram - JNU