Youth of Spring

Since fears of a parched summer have been assuaged somewhat by copious February rains and a bountiful spell of snow in March, a propitious forecast (Kashmir’s unerring weatherman permitting) would be of brimming rivers, gurgling streams, shimmering paddy fields, luscious orchards, and vale and hil awash in gaiety and green – of course wherever the “promotion of tourism” industry and the “defence of the country” industry has left bits and pieces for nature to encroach on. As both “industries” now have a promoter tripping the world to redeem the nation’s lost pledge of glory and power, or, as the saying goes, to dispel misimpressions clouding the land – once of (seditious?) fakirs and snake-charmers – the message must have certainly gone home that business would henceforth be a walk-in-the-park adorned with, apart an odd tulip or lotus, a robust monument more befitting the fatherland than the “dejected sparrow” and bag-of-bones who shuddered at the very word.

Not that shudders, or reflexes quite close, had not begun to run across Kashmir too, late Sunday afternoon, when, according to eyewitnesses, stray, playful flakes turned into uncoiling ropes from the heavens and made for many an uneasy sleep, largely due to September, and infelicitous news from the weather front. But they (the shudders) measured next-to-nothing on the Valley’s Twitter scale even otherwise preoccupied with events and developments of more earthshaking nature. Barring which, when the sun blazed with full glory the next morning, the most succinct tweet on the night’s snow could probably have beenpev ta gav.

For the uninitiated, the pithy phrase in Kashmiri often refers to sprightly, healthy old gentlemen felled suddenly by a stroke, or plain good luck, with hardly any connection to bewildered 15-somethings with deep and multiple perforations caused by three centimetres of red-hot lead in their breast. Though both have grave consequences, one is the case of an Agency keeping no calendars, and the other an instance of them being followed with strict loyalty. Only if the latter could be said of seasonal calendars, now increasingly out of sync with traditional beliefs and practices.

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