Table of Contents
PART I: Snow in Srinagar 
  Reaching Srinagar
  The city of fame
  Rainy afternoon in ...
  Up the Sindh river in a doonga
  Snow in Srinagar
  Chilai Kalan
  Crossing the Vitasta
  Journey into the Himalayas
  Ishbar evenings
  Pony ride in the Liddar valley
  Views of Haramukh
  My father in Hawaii
PART II: Ten Thousand Years of Solitude 
  The Fire in the Waters
  Records of our lives
  Ask Krishna
  The Conductor of the dead
  A Wounded bird
  The riddle of Isha
  Patanjali's song
  The hidden path up the hill
  Inner Sarasvati
  Naming things
  On high desert
  A small beginning
  Seeking answers
  Nachiketa's dual
  Quantum implications
  Chance and necessity
  A Boy and his dog
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Chilai Kalan

The pheran, the blanket, and the kangri
barely warmed the bones during the forty days of Chilai Kalan.
The icy air poured in from the drafty windows.
Each bed was like a tent: we slept completely covered. 

When the morning broke we heard the sounds from the kitchen
mother making tea on the smoky stove
father saying his prayers after his bath in icy water.
When he had finished it was time to roll up our beds
and assemble around the breakfast sheet. 

There was only one blazing kangri.
We took turns to cook the coldest part of the body:
feet, stomach, face, or hands
and waited anxiously for mother to make hot lunch
sitting cross-legged at our book desks
pretending to revise our class notes
or playing cards made out of cigarette boxes. 

In the afternoon the washerman staggered in
with the pile of laundry on his head.
And then the middleman with his horoscopes
seeking mother's advice about suitable girls
with discrete gossip about many relatives.
My sisters made countless pots
of kehva and sheer chai. 

It was then that I learned to sit still
listening to stories about a hundred different people
perched on my seat wrapped in blankets.
Visitors gone mother began humming tunes
as she did her knitting
and how we longed for spring!



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