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Abyss of Happiness

Losing yourself is the easiest once you set your foot in the heavenly mountains of Kashmir.

All hail the mountain kids! Kashmir is a place that I always wanted to visit & fortunately an opportunity popped up. We hired an outstation taxi from Katra, the holistic foot of Vaishno Devi & left for Srinagar. We had to cover 243 Kilometers in a car packed with 6 people, including 2 children, imagine the patience we had.

The weather was exorbitant, cold winds with the shining sun, a perfect oxymoron. Life felt so good after a long time, things were starting to fall into place. I rolled the window down, & stuck my face out, taking in the morning sunlight & the swift air. Mountains were as absolute as the skies, up high, bold & static. Travelling light with the wind.

It was snack time now, so we took a break from our long journey & stopped at a small, cozy stall. After filling myself up with masala Maggie & tea, it was time for a memoir. Click!

At 4 PM, we were in Srinagar searching for our pre-booked hotel, apparently the people there were friendly but military was uptight. Somehow we reached the hotel & enquired with the manager about the political tensions in Kashmir. Streets were silent, & the silence did not remind me of serenity, instead it was as if the screams of the rebels were devoured by the unknown .

Soon there was sunset, & we left for the infamous “Dal Lake”. One of its kind, shimmering lights amid the surreal waters, I stepped inside a Shikara, a wonderful woodwork with a royal touch to it, Kashmiri carpet & a cozy pseudo-couch, I felt like a Shehzaada for once in my life. With a slight push, the Shikara ventured into the lake, creating ripples that extended beyond the horizon. The proficiency in Shikara business provided us with delicious, mouth melting kebabs, wonderful houseboats, & everything in between.

From the Scorching heat of Wagah Border to the Serendipity of Golden Temple.

Often family trips are not fun. But when we plan joint family trips with cousins suddenly life becomes chaotic. In the month of summer, a planned visit to Amritsar turned even more chaotic, amid the traffic jams & the heat we slowly started losing our minds. After hours of being disheveled, we finally went through the traffic & set towards the Wagah Border.

Upon reaching, It suddenly struck me that this was the worst decision of my life. It was a bright hot day, security was hostile, & I was standing with a Nikon D3200 in my hands, sweating all over & watching my family decide where they should store their personal items. Decision was taken & we proceeded towards the arena.

Humongous crowd gathered, filling out almost all the seats, after pushing & pulling we found ourselves out at the front waiting for the ceremony to start. Every inch of me wanted to get out of there but I was stopped by my parents. Alas! The ceremony started & inspite of all the anger & hatred for my predicament, it all at once turned into patriotism when the beats of our National anthem struck my ear drum. I stood upright, looking at the tricolor flag thinking about how it had every right to be there up above, flowing with the wind, with every ripple it reminded me of all the martyrs who lost themselves to eternity for the sake of the Indians they never knew.

Parade began & soldiers marched, every move they made was calculated & flawless. Stretching out their legs & stamping them on the ground to display dominance of our country. Everything ended soon & we left for the city only to visit The Golden Temple at Night.

Stepping out of the hotel, we walked towards the temple as it was just a few meters away. The air changed abruptly & all the voices blurred into the background, only sound one could hear was the unification of godly rhythms coming from the temple. I remember how one aged man helped me tie a scarf on my head, the vibes of that place was transforming! As I walked inside, there it stood, twinkling like the only star amid the cosmos of human sorrow.

Standing in lines did not feel bad for once, after a long wait of 2 hours I finally got to bow my head down to the ground that contained divinity. Positivity filled inside me, & I was high with optimism. I just sat there on the floor, wondering about all the things I wanted to do in my life & how the attitude of gratitude is going to help me in doing it. Although the day was tiring but it all vanished away with the serene & ethereal reality.

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