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 21

Prickly Thistle

Soon after dedicated teaching work and physical exercises, Prakash retires to his room to relax for a while? Soon he finds himself glued to pen and paper. For he never wastes his time in idleness in his youthful days but always busies himself in extra official work, physical activity or writing work with dedicated devotion as scribing has become a passion with him. Tired after half days work one day, he prefers to relax in his retiring room but the reflexes of writing finds him deep in contemplation.

Just at the same moment enters an accountant, an old student of his, accompanied by a robust young chap of fourteen or fifteen years age.

"Master ji, Namaskar, excuse me for the interruption," says the accountant.

In response, Prakash looks up and replies, "Namaskar, accountant sahib Namaskar. It's alright. Please take your seat. What makes you to come and do me the rare honor of a visit for the first time?"

"Thank you sir, This boy is my nephew. His matric examination in theory ended. He needs your expert guidance for practical work. Would it be possible for you to oblige, busy at work as you are?"

"Don't you worry. Don't worry. I'll do all I can to guide him." replies Prakash.

"Thank you so much, sir. Thank you. I'll tell you his tale sometime after wards. Namaskar". Saying this, the two visitors leave.

Long after, the accountant pays a second visit to him. Exchanging usual greetings the two sit together for a while and engage in a cordial chat.

In the middle of the discussion, Prakash interrupts and asks, "Accountant Sahib, what was the tale you wanted to tell me about your nephew, the other day?"

The accountant narrates the tale thus:

"My sister was in labor pain when she came to ours at the time of his expected birth. She stayed with us for several days and behaved as if the time of her delivery had not arrived.

But one day at mid-night she felt restless and cried in labor pain. Her painful screams penetrated our bedrooms and the whole family was agog. We rushed to her room and were alert and agile to nurse and help relieve her pain. She delivered. But alas! The newborn neither cried nor displayed any sign of life. This was sister's first delivery.

Thinking that she had polluted her bed with excretion, she stood up quickly but suddenly fell down unconscious, luckily not on the new born.

An atmosphere of gloom and panic enveloped the attendants. Breast-beating, weeping, and wailing followed. Chaos resulted in helter-skelter movements and groping in the dark. In such a panicky atmosphere, no body knew what to do.

The clock ticked off time. Hours rolled by. It was early dawn. The birds chirped. One of the attendants slipped away and called in a nurse.

Slowly, steadily and cautiously, the nurse started the needful cleansing work. It took her  an hour or so to complete the process. It was now time for her to begin nursing and trying to restore my sister's consciousness, which took her another couple of hours or so.

Subsequently, the nurse diverted her attention to the newborn which was dumped as a dead mass of flesh in a nearby basin. She held it in her hands, shook it, held it by the legs suspended it and shook it again. She tried her best to bring it to life.

Nothing materialized. There was no response, no sign of life. But the undeterred nurse * persisted. She pondered over the problem. She asked for a garlic or an onion bulb. The demand was met as the market was nearby. The expert nurse crushed the bulb near the nostrils of the dead mass of flesh.

Lo and behold, sneeze after sneeze thundered out as the vapors that diffused irritated the olfactory nerve endings inside. The baby began to breathe and cry to the joyous surprise of all.

The robust tall boy is that baby whom you guided for the ensuing practical examination. He is my nephew."

Palour began to tinge Prakash's ruddy cheek imperceptibly all along the narration of the gripping tale. His face fell and wrinkles of grief appeared on his broad forehead. He looked blank and aghast as if prickly thistle bullets were shot at him in dozens.

Apprehending something wrong had been said and fearing he had hurt Prakash's feelings somehow, the accountant, in a low faltering but sympathetic voice asked him, "What has happened, Pandit sahib? You have turned pale and wear a grief stricken look? Why are you silent? Have I injured your feelings in any way?"

Prakash heaves a deep, cold sigh and tears roll down his cheeks. He bursts into subdued sobs and says, "No dear accountant sahib, you have not injured my feelings in any way. You have simply opened my eyes to our unbaked knowledge and inexperience, sadly enough after the event and that the heinous crime that has been committed in my budding youth. It was early dawn. My life-partner had felt the need of going to latrine half-an-hour earlier than usual, but contrary to her expectations it proved to be the call of a different nature. She rushed out, lay down and delivered.

The cat was out of the bag, concealed secret came to light. But alas! the fruit of labor was mum and lifeless. It revealed no discernable traces of living.

The birds chirped outside and the eldest, experienced sister-in-law, came rushing into the room to see what all this chagrin was all about. Every effort was made to check-up the newborn for signs of life. The consensus of all those, who had arrived there by now declared it dead.

Wrapped in a sheet of cloth, I carried it to the cremation ground under the guide nee of an elderly uncle. There I dipped it in the nearby stream for a pre-burial wash. A brisk effervescence profuse of air bubbles followed, hissing out from underneath. A lot of these bubbles were seen sticking to its chest and head after bringing it out. These remained there for a few seconds. The cue remained un-understood. Hence ignored.

Ah me! The baby was buried in a small grave!!!



* Foot Note: An object lesson for parents, prospective parents, Nurses and Nurse trainees etc.



Facebook Account Follow us and get Koshur Updates Video clips Image Gallery
Kashmiri Overseas Association, Inc. (KOA) is a 501c(3) non-profit, tax-exempt socio-cultural organization registered in Maryland, USA. Its purpose is to protect, preserve, and promote Kashmiri ethnic and socio-cultural heritage, to promote and celebrate festivals, and to provide financial assistance to the needy and deserving.

 | Home | Culture & Heritage | Copyrights Policy | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Credits | Contact Us |

Any content available on this site should NOT be copied or reproduced

in any form or context without the written permission of KOA.