Someone asked me if Kashmir is safe,
and I read the message while staring at the sun shining over Pir Panjal mountains far away.
The sky was yellow, the water was blue, the shikara moving ahead slowly, and I watched the people around me, I wondered if I should fear them, and all I found was a smile on their faces, to welcome me into their land.
I don't know if Kashmir is safe, according to the news channels in my region it is not, and according to people around me in this region, it is.
And so all I could think of was all the times I had been to Kashmir, all the times I heard someone call my name, asking me to join them for a cup of Nun chai and bread from their local bakery, and all I could remember was being invited for functions at their houses, being fed until I couldn't eat a single morsel, being taken around through the fields, stealing apples, standing by a moonlit Jhelum, watching Srinagar lit up at night from a mountain above, all those rides into the depths of Dal lake, where I couldn't see a single tourist except me, all those drives with friends, the late night in Lal chowk when I sat by the footpath eating ice cream with a close friend.
And I looked back at what was in front of me, the sunlit Pir Panjals still dominating my view, and the man rowing his boat was nearer, and he too greeted me with a smile.
Maybe he also wanted to say the same thing that a man once did, while I sat in a garden of Chattargul,
Photo & text by : @abhiandnow
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