Somewhere along the road between ‘beginning’ and ‘ending’, there is a perfect moment for every living soul. There may possibly be more than one. But for most part we are too busy, too young, too adult, too sophisticated, too this or too that to recognise it and by the time we realize the moment may be lost. Naseema Begum, aged 24, a resident of Baramulla witnessed her perfect moment when she visited Gulmarg for the first time with her parents. In the generation when teenagers step out of their homes becoming bag packers, free souls, solo travellers, etc., Naseema is travelling for the first time to a place only 15 kms away from home famously known as Gulmarg along with her family of six including parents, grandmother, elder sister and a younger brother. On reaching mesmerizing Gulmarg they occupied a dhok by cleaning and setting it up for two days. After a day long trek her perfect moment came when she woke up in the night to find moonlight flooding their Dhok (a dingy Dhok-stay where Naseema’s family was staying for mere 100 rupees, which belonged to one of their maternal uncles), it was so bright that Naseema got up from sleep. The valley’s air was soft and heavy with the fragrance of pear blossom and honeysuckle. A 24 yr old Naseema is not supposed to be astir at this hour in the night but she wanted to sit outside and enjoy the moon carved valley. Another miracle set in the morning when crowd in huge numbers started to pour in. Naseema’s father, uninterested, told that this crowd must have come to grace the much awaited event of the year “Gulmarg Fest”. The actual miracle happened when Naseema’s father agreed to attend the fest. At an altitude of more than 10,000 feet, the unseen and unheard effort by the local hawkers glittered the valley with colourful adjustable structures and eateries. Some Nip & Tuck snow games in the form of skiing, snow racing, horse race and tug of war displayed the strapping demeanour of adventurers Gujjars and Bakkarwals in front of the tourists in the valley. Apart from this, for those who have come from cities, the rejoicing part was Kashmir’s most admired folk dance followed by village games. For Naseema, eye popping activities other than the picturesque valley events were Zorbing, Hot Air Balloon, Camping site, Gandola ride, snow scooters and skiing. A media frenzy local boy running carrying reporter’s mic shared “quite an info” while taking candid camera shots of tourists coming out of Gandola, that Amarnath Yatra will also be starting soon & G-20 is around the corner. Can any trip conclude if none of the family member gets lost in the crowd? Naseema’s family is the same and was not even surprised that their grandmother went missing and later found near Gandola. While on the lookout they learned about the Stalls, traditional huts and finger licking local delicacies of Kashmir. A phenomenal synergy was seen between tourists and locals. For Naseema and her family, Gulmarg concluded with a long memorable walk back home, gathering the visuals from the valley of how they were surrounded by infinity, pure ecstasy, at the same time Naseema had a glimpse through an Open Dhok and has witnessed a perfect moment by stepping on a bridge across to Gulmarg.
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Kashmir is known for its vibrant and diverse artistic heritage, which has been passed down through generations of skilled...Read more