Kashmir Shikara Travelogue

When we got off the Shikara

1:00 am in the night, at Patnitop 120 kms from Srinagar Don’t remember what the date was. We had spent a month zig-zagging, criss-crossing, bumping over the roads (or roads that could be paved) in Ladakh. We were returning home via the beautiful Kashmir valley. The clouds were bleeding over us. But we stopped not breaking our ‘no riding at night’ rule. We kept going like there is a tomorrow, and we must get to this place, any place outside of Kashmir before tomorrow gets here. We stop. We stop only when reach that and knock on the door of the first hotel in sight at Patni Top at 1:00 in the night.   5 hours ago at 7:45 PM, 55 kms from Srinagar on the way to Jammu The local traffic police official asked us to leave. “What are you waiting for? If you want to get out of here, then now is the time. People are all in their homes breaking their fast. Leave before they return. Tomorrow morning the stones will return to be pelted at you. God knows what will happen. Leave! Leave! God will take care of you. Khuda Hafiz.”   5 hours ago 2:45 PM, 55 kms from Srinagar on the way to Jammu Ishwinder refuses to eat anything before she gets home and sees “mumma” again. She can’t stop crying. A kind uncle who is the owner of the hotel where we were staying waiting for the curfew to be lifted tries to pacify her. We feel like we are in a movie when he offers us to bring something from the house of Hindu shop owner in case we feel eating at Muslim’s house violates our religion. Ishwinder in a gust of emotions touches his feet and tells him he is like …

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