All posts filed under: Jammu and Kashmir

Welcome To Heaven: Stories From the Line Of Control that May Enlighten The World– VII. Final

On the Great Himalayan Road Journey to Baltistan, today is the showdown, the final journey continuing from Call of the Now- I Life and nothing more- II Road will tell you- III Remember me with a Lotus- IV The Gun Mountains and other Gods- V The Wait of Baltistan- VI : ँ : — It was more difficult to reach here than i had thought. To an extent I was only one night away from leaving it all and going back home. A whole day had gone in repairing Tyre and servicing this vehicle in Diskit, the same valley that hosted gypsies once, ancient travellers, porters coming from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan carrying opium and other magic potions to the cold desert of Hunder; a stop that they still talk about as the Silk road. This was the ancient Silk route, and from here you either go up to Mongolia or find your way to the Tibetan plateau into China. I took to Baltistan. “And had Turtuk not pulled me in this one time, I may …

The Wait Of Baltistan: Remembering Love and Lessons While Teaching in the Border Village of Turtuk – VI

On the Great Himalayan Road Journey to Baltistan, the final journey continuing from Call of the Now- I Life and nothing more- II Road will tell you- III Remember me with a Lotus- IV The Gun Mountains and other Gods- V : ँ : As i sit to write this final chapter, many memories from my journey that I first took eleven years ago arrive. Vivid. Bringing a state of spiritual alertness. An all round high, more out of oxygen levels shelving by the night, at that height. Breathing deep. I wasn’t able to stop my popcorn like popping soul at the sight of the Himalayas. More so I felt young. Carrying freedom in my eyes as I was being taken care of for months and if I wanted to, for as long, to only teach. Incidents, accidents; new kind of trees, new crops, thin air, cold wind, white walls, narrow streets, mountain dogs, brick lanes, chants, monasteries, Tibetan flags; the mountain life; that air of newness like teenage romance, lived shortly. As a week …

The Gun Mountains and Other Gods -V

On the Road to Baltistan, continuing from Call of the Now- I Life and nothing more- II Road will tell you- III Remember me with a Lotus- IV : ँ : Before we reach Turtuk, Baltistan; it was important to dedicate an essay only to the journey. My travels that saw me traversing through these dangerous, rough and meditative landscapes that over the years helped changing me, even my cells. For many years this road has been my road to inner work and of the outside world, and i imagine one which taught me best how to discern. This National Highway that runs from Srinagar, Kashmir to Leh is called the NH Delta- 1 and is the most important road that joins the valley of Kashmir to Laddakh. La that is ‘a mountain pass’, and ddakh is the ‘King’- this land that is the king of the mountain passes, running along the mighty river Indus, parallel to the most active, volatile border in the world, the Line of Control with Pakistan. Ever since the partition …

Remember me with a Lotus: Memoirs of heaven and birds in Kashmir- IV

Narayan, do you know why I am here today? I kept my silence. I couldn’t see my father when he died. I wasn’t there. He had stopped me from leaving home but I left regardless and all my life i have been living with this guilt that i couldn’t even gave my hands for his body. I wasn’t there with him when he wanted me most and it had needled me every moment. You know, when he was young, he too came on this yatra, with someone like you, his friend. I remembered his stories of bathing in the coldest waters of Sheshnag.

Life and nothing more- II

Continuing from Call of the Now, for the Great Himalayan Road Reunion. : ँ : To Srinagara, to zojila, to Leh, to Hanle, to the land that invoked my spirit, beyond the Indus, towards the Karakoram, to the parents of my children in Turtuk, to the man who flipped, to all the treks that lead to mahadeva and Gaura; to the top of that Himalayan mountain where the first tyre burst, to i don’t know what pass that came after where hundred’s of horses ran just to take left, and we took towards sky. Stone laden river bed that kept us moving on a conical mountain all afternoon, many called it a road. Through a broken bridge, through the ditches connecting another ditch on the World Yoga day. To stopping in front of the snow, and drinking it. To dipping in the coldest river Tirthan, to filling stomach from the river Chandrabhaga. To standing all night under the milky way. To crying for my parted child, to buying eyes for Rasool bhai. While laughing at …

Man’s Search for Meaning

When I returned to Ishbar that night, Shiban seemed speechless. But Dr Kaul looked at him with satisfaction giving an expression like “then he has seen.” And soon the moment came to explain to him what he had seen. We sat around fire, while waiting for the food to arrive. Open your ears, said Dr Kaul and he began speaking like reciting an over practised hymn. “The men in the east, he said, are trees; those in the south are flocks of animals; those in the west are wild plants. Last, those in the north like ourselves, who cried out while they ate other men, were the waters. When the collective sound of chewing filled the air, he started explaining about eating. The act of eating is a violence that causes what is living, in its many forms, to disappear. Whether grass, plants, trees, animals, or human beings, the process is the same. There is always a fire that devours and a substance that is devoured. This violence, bringing misery and torment, will one day …

The day of the U-Turn

Winters had started settling in Leh. I used to get up the earliest, take the coldest shower from the waters of Indus. For at least half a day to come, my peace with that. I was making tea when i heard Cynthia, singing. An old American woman who had been teaching in Leh for last 29 years. From the US, she arrived each winter to teach Laddakhi students. I offered Cynthia Tea. She said “I am sorry, I am still not Indian’ and laughed out loud. And asked me to come up and look at the old lines on her table. The table had a beautiful map. And this map sounded fulfilling. It had a path along the river Indus, that left the road way down and lead one to an ancient looking narrow canyon. She suggested, I must take that. And then without asking walk for an hour or two to the village called TAR. There lives my best friend; in a cave, like kitchen, where Ibex’s and snow leopards come sometimes to say …