The heavy snowfall this year that too in Chila-e-Kalan (the harshest 40- day period of winter) after a long time has thrown life out of gear across Kashmir, particularly in rural areas with people complaining about non-availability of several basic amenities required during these harsh days.
Kashmir witnessed such a heavy snowfall in January after almost a gap of 11 years. Weathermen said that Kashmir has witnessed such a heavy snowfall only thrice since 1980. "Though the snowfall is not new in Kashmir but as per the information available us Kashmir has witnessed such heavy snowfall in January 1992, January 2006 and this year in January 2017," said Director MeT Sonam Lotus.
Meanwhile, the recent snowfall besides bringing smiles on the faces of people here has also brought back the memories of winters in old days.
According to the elderly people particularly those living in rural areas the "recent snowfall is nothing" as compared to what they used to witness in past and said the snow had almost vanished from Kashmir.
Abdul Razaq, 70, residing near Sonamarg in Ganderbal district said that when he was young 8 ft to 10 ft snow used to get accumulated in the rural areas. "I have witnessed 8-10 ft of snow. We used to come out from our houses through windows," he told Greater Kashmir.
"The recent snowfall is nothing as compared to what we used to witness in the past. It has refreshed the memories of past winters," he added.
Another elderly man Abdul Ahad Malik said , "Forty harsh days of Chila-e-Kalan were followed by 20 days of Chila-e-Khurd, and 10 days Chila-e-Bache. The snow we used to receive during these days used to remain here for months together."
Another elderly person, Haji Ghulam Mohi-uddin, 75, said the snowfall is a blessing from Allah and Kashmir is nothing without it, adding that some time back we were worried and used to wonder what has happened to the snow we used to witness in the past. "In fact this is the heavy snowfall Kashmir has received after 11-years. What we used to witness when we were young is unforgettable" Haji said.
He said that it used to snow heavily when they were young and they used to clear their roof tops twice in a day. " You can't believe we used to clean our roof tops mostly made of wood twice in a day and even many a times during nights, however the people still managed to live without much sufferings unlike nowadays" Haji added.
"In our times there were no facilities like electricity, snow cutter machines, MeT prediction, medical facilities, transport despite that people managed to live happily, " he said.
He said that in the past every household and every family used to be prepared before onset of the winter by stocking all the essential commodities required during winters. "The people used to remain confined to their homes during winters, though there were no electronic gadgets and other facilities which are available today. People used Laish and Chahtgeer(Kerosene lamp) to lighten their houses," Haji said.
He said the people particularly in rural areas used to get huge quantity of beans, maize particularly which they use during winters. "Nowadays people are dependent on readymade things, and mostly depend on what is available in the market," he added.