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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




It was only a matter of time
for me and my family 
to leave the town and run away,
but that tell-tale threatening letter
that I was served yesterday
helped me to decide without delay
and fix tomorrow, the first of May,
as the departing day.

Left with a single day,
we ask each other,
is there a better way
than to spend it together,
this warm spring day,
in our garden here,
as a mark of farewell?

As we sit and stroll
and admire and extol
the lineage of each plant and tree
how spontaneously
each member of the family
picks up one implement or the other
and sets to work furiously.

We mow the lawn,
trim the bushes,
turn the soil in the flower-beds,
water the pansies and the phlox,
fondle the flowers and the buds,
spruce and sweep
and strew the fertiliser,
here, there, and everywhere.

Is this flurry of activity,
this spontaneity in the family,
the last rite of a sacred duty;
or is it because we all feel guilty
that we are leaving behind a legacy,
a larger part of ourselves,
this garden family,
to the terroristsí mercy;
or is it to escape from the reality
of the pain of exodus and turbulence
which we all experience;
or is it out of a sanguine hope
that this loveís labour and toil
will never be futile
but stay with us a fond memory
of our bonds to this soil;
or is it the faith in our tenacity
that each time we faced the exodus,
five times in our history,
we staged an honourable re-entry?

Srinagar - 30 April 1990



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