The pain of getting uprooted
The journey will always be unforgettable
LA FEMME BY NIGHAT HAFIZ
Of all the processes of human existence, de-rooting is the most painful process. Change always involves risk of rejection. We may not like new people or they may not like us. Change also involves fear of unknown in which the safety centre present in our body keeps on telling us to avoid situations which we are not acquainted with. It scares us with problems like new adjustments, new moves and new situations, physical, mental and personal.
It was a “starry, starry night” and nobody was asleep. We all were up packing our stuff to leave in the morning for an unknown destination that had a unique address – Sona Masjid, Raughunath Mandir, Srinagar. Shifting from pristine rural setup to the hustle and bustle of city life after many years, for which I had no memory trace or impression, looked a cumbersome job. It needed lot of extra effort and more time and attention. It was altogether a different experience. To shift the entire house-hold a Doonga (boat) with boarding and lodging was a unique experience. The boatmen informed that it will take approximately three days and two nights to disembark us on our new port of destination. This was my first cruise experience. Cruising through waters of Wular Lake is a memory unforgettable.
We started our journey at dawn with enthusiasm. A curfew like situation was imposed on our movement to avoid any mishap. We were strictly advised not to move beyond a certain point. Toddlers were tied with the ropes and life became confined for a free and wandering soul from woods. The first thing that took me away from this unusual claustrophobic situation was my mental shift from boat to surroundings outside. It was a breath taking scene. I saw the reflections of blue black mountains in the crystal clear waters of Wular Lake. It was amazingly soothing for senses. I remember the excitement that followed when I saw birds chirping and singing on different notes, which I had never seen or heard of. The wetlands, the orchards around, the serene and calm character of Wular Lake were splendid. Water was changing colors with every movement, absorbing every shade of sunset and reflecting on our faces. Our boat was moving with grace and beauty to destination before it could embrace the darkness of night. I was mesmerized by the cleanliness and orderliness of nature:
How richly glows the waters breast.
Before us, tinged with evening hues,
While, facing thus the crimson west,
The boat her silent course persues!
And see how dark the backward stream!
A little moment past, so smiling!
And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam,
Some other Loiteres beguiling. (William Wordsworth)
Lakes are known for their calm serene and cool nature but sometimes fierce winds blow up and make journey dangerous. It was on the second day of journey when winds decided to chase us, treat us badly and terrified us. I remember boatmen shouting nervously for shelter with words haiskar, husthaw, numruth, tarwol tardeyee. (Be careful, rove with strength, God is great, Shall see us through) It looked long way to nowhere, water and more water with ripples and waves and no direction to distance. Current of water beneath us changed abruptly. Calmness and peace vanished with waves. We all were remembering God in acute despair and ultimately there was a little sigh of relief when we saw an oasis in the middle of Wular waters, a dot like island, Zaina Lankh, standing out like Monte-Cristo in sea, but not with treasure of gold and diamonds but a treasure of life for us. Boat men roved with great effort to this unusual piece of land in the middle of waters. Some people were already there to help and our boat was tied up and anchored with stones. We were safe on this neglected Island that had lot of wild cherry and pear trees.
Zain Lank is believed to be a residue of Satisar lake of pre -historic times. Built by Zainul-a bidin in 1442, it is an artificial island in the middle of Wular Lake. With passage of time it has changed its character. I often mix up islands that we visited in Wular Lake, sometimes they exist as two different islands and at times they emerge as one. They were different in their nature, one with lot of wild trees and other with red, black and green wish threads. Ziarat had an unusual mystic effect with lot of solace around. I remember Hanjis (boatmen) telling us to be careful with the place by saying “Ziarat haz che sethah garm” (it is a very sacred place)
We were happy and relaxed when calm ultimately returned to Wular Lake. We started our journey with a joyous mood. When I relive my experience of this journey I have a strong desire to see our water ways neat and clean. We are endowed with sources unlimited and such resources are God’s gift to mankind. Kashmir has the advantage of having several navigable water bodies that could be used to create an alternative transport mode to significantly reduce street and road traffic. River Jhelum flowing through the heart of the city is one such example where ferry service could be developed to transport people from different areas. Jhelum, Choont Kol, Dhoodh Ganga, Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake, Tailbul Nallah, Barinambal are a few of these assets that with effort could be utilized properly. Let next generation remember us not as an unaesthetic lot who filled water resources with filth and garbage and made roads on incredible canals like Nale-mar.
After a long and hectic journey we approached much awaited destination. When I look back, life to me looks like a whirlpool of incidents, resulting in twists and turns which spew and suck us, rip us off the purity with which we were born. We are all born innocents, some with closed fists and others with open palms but all with clean hands. Human beings nourish an inborn desire to return with same sacredness and purity with which they were born. No religion propounds hatred and aggression. Faith was yet to become fire when we reached our destination Raghunath Mandir Ghat in Srinagar. Some people, differently dressed up, spoke the same language of love and were eagerly waiting for us. I remember a lady with a smiling face and an orange bindi on her forehead, who came close to me, tried to hug me and, unconsciously with her dejohour (a hanging ear ornament), hit me hard on my face with affection. A mixture of pain and pleasure, I will remember that incident forever.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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