Folk Tales from Kashmir

Table of Contents

  Twin Scientists
  Daddy’s Distress
  Breaking the Horse
  She is the Apple of My Eye
  Daddy’s Coronation
  The In-Law Tussle
  Broken Pen
  The Dudda
  Daddy’s Nightmare
  Rise and Fall
  Rivalry and Rebuff 
  Mini Marco Polo
  Royal Dudda
  Facing the Challenge
  Yes, No? May be So
  Crest Fallen
  Shock Treatment
  Grandma’s Shivratri
  Conquering Death
  Prickly Thistle
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Chapter 12

Mini Marco Polo

Rahman Waggai is a well built, red haired, tall young man of over fifty and odd years. He is honest, business-like, and truthful man of pragmatic religion. His brotherly affection and cordial social contacts and harmonious behavior has endeared him to all his kith & kin, friends and relatives alike.

His cordiality with Suriya often makes him pay a welcome visit to Suriya's house whenever he comes on his own business to Srinagar and stays there for a night or so, once to pay whatever he himself thinks is due to the landlord. His rural affinity with Suriya's in laws makes him a guest of honor for several days with the latter on the sacred festival of yearly Shiv Ratri.

His taste for cooked fish makes him stay on with him until the fish is exhausted and it certainly lasts for several days, for the family too cooks good amount of it on the happy occasion.

Once Rahman Waggai seems like breeding a complaint against Suriya. He says, "Dear Pandith Sahib, may I know if you won't feel hurt what I say……” ?

"What has made you entertain such ideas, brother? Aren't you as good a member of our family as any other member is ? Don't you feel treated as such within your own right? Have you any apprehensions on that score?" retorts Suriya.

"No Pandith Sahib, no certainly not! I am as comfortable here as I am at home. Your rural warmth washes off all the coldness of the city atmosphere for me in this house" responds Rahman Waggai obligingly.

"Then what makes you feel like complaining, Waggai Sahib?"

"My complaint is genuine and born of lack of reciprocity, dear brother," replies Rahman Waggai.

"I haven't understood what you say nor do I comprehend what you mean by the word reciprocity, Waggai Sahib? Have we been slack anywhere in responding to your needs or looking after your comforts?" asked Suriya. 

"Kindly don't misunderstand me," brother. I feel quite at home with you all. But my complaint is quite genuine.

Its I who has always and without fail visited and stayed with you whenever I came to the city in connection with my own business still you have never given me an opportunity to reciprocate the affection you besto won me.

More so, you enjoy your summer months at different places away from the din and noise, dust and dirt of Srinagar and yet not at ours. Narapora is situated, as you know, just at the foot of a cool pine forest spread over the rising plateau. It could easily form your base camp for one of your treks and tours to Yusmarg, Nila Nag, Shajimar, Hali village and Hemal spring, Shupiyan and Nagabal, Aharbal and so on so forth. Wouldn't you like to give us the pleasure of your company there and carrying both your treks tours at the same time? Pray do consider the proposal" replies Rehman Waggai.

"It is a marvelous idea, Waggai Sahib. But what about the utensils we require? We usually do not carry any except a tea kettle, a stove along with sugar, cakes and spices only" asks Suriya.

"Never mind if there are no Pandits living there, I can supply you a fresh collection of them to serve your purpose. That's my responsibility Razdan Sahib" assures Waggai Sahib.

"All right, I welcome your kind gesture this summer" agrees Suriya.

Fifteenth July approaches. Suriya and his family members start guarding up their loins, and set on a trekking tour straight to Narapora Rakh. The party was well received and supplied with clean beddings and fresh earthen cooking kettles and fresh fire-containers of Kashmiri Kangrees for use as plates for eating food and replacing them every time, for they cannot be used a second time as they become impure for the purpose.

Rice was purchased from neighboring village. Maize-flour and vegetables etc are supplied by the host who directed party to a small spring nearby the then only source of water of the village. Mid-day tea was followed by dinner cooked in the fresh earthen kettles.

Fresh earthen containers of live char-coal of Kangries of which there were plenty in store of the host were used as eating plates, fresher ones by each member at each meal time. This only because when food eaten from the earthen pot renders it unhygienic and hence unfit for use a second time.

The used earthen containers of live charcoal were washed soon after use at meal time and depositing them in another rack for the purpose of insulating them by wicker work and shaped into Kangries for sale by the host later on.

On exhausting the whole store of fresh earthenware thus, the holiday tourists set foot on their trekking six to seven miles every day to the dismay of Waggai sahib and his so loving family members and the guests alike. For every one had enjoyed the joy and merriment, common food and took immense pleasure of sharing farm work in the fields and walnut plantations. All their time had passed on merrily also on their side trips alike.

Soon after their last trek mentioned above from Shupyen to Pulwama, holiday makers walked on to . Avantipora across the bridge over river Jehlum.Then to a tiny hamlet near the village Geru and thence to Navdal rills beautifully strewn on sides with beautiful little pebbles on one side of Tral village and back. The party was preparing for a re-cross by boat at Letapora to Kakapora for two or more additional onward marches to explore other areas of scenic beauty.

But alas! The only daughter-in-law weepingly  protested: we have already had enough trekking by now. I feel listless and exhausted. Besides, I have not seen my parents, brothers and sisters for long. I yearn to see them. Kindly let us return home now."

The leader of the tourists, Suriya, was faced with a complex problem here. On the one hand he wouldn't like to allow any deviation from, or laxity to disrupt his scheduled itinerary and on the other he couldn't take lightly his daughter-in-laws piteous appeal and frustrate her desire and sentiments.

The sword of ultimate decision fell on the robust youth Preetam who was bubbling with unabated spirit of adventure and wanted to share the joy of further adventure and exploration.

Offering a few chips while addressing his son Suriya said, "Dear Preetam, you accompany your sister-in law back home." Preetams face fell and spirits dampened. He was gloomy and dismayed and yet, he couldn't but obey with a heavy heart. It was now his turn to be alone at home.

It was Preetam's ill-fated imprisonment in his desolate deserted home despite electrification. He cursed the time of restlessness that passed by sluggishly for him. For seconds seemed to pass by in hours. He would sit on the windowsills, brooding and anxious to see his parents back home!

Frailty, thy name is Time!

Fie on thee! Fie thee!

Fie ! Fie! Fie!



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