By Mufti Jameel Farooq
Journeys are blessing; some journeys turn memorable and are hard nut to forget. When I look back in retrospect, the best and memorable moments in my life were not the ones, when I was given accolades or laurels me but the jiffies where when some weird friends were beside me who would make me strain-free, with their senseless jokes and uncanny actions. While going back to those instants, they seem so powerful that they still make me laugh – especially at a time when despair swamps the soul.
We had a journey of this nature a few days ago when my university mates and I made an extremely exciting fun-trip to Dachigam where autumn had engulfed the whole park. The fallen leaves where scattered on the streets; these leaves had lost life and were looking dead like the ones who are waiting to be engraved. I looked at the leaves somewhat devotedly and I felt that they were speaking in a language which only a lover of nature understands. The eloquent scene commemorated the language which I had learnt when I was a student of English literature. Those leaves seemed and smelled as if encoding the same language which once I would saintly followed and was my dogma which I devotedly would adhere to. They were whispering the line:
“Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too.”
While strolling with my fellow-mates on the way which was heading towards the trout-farm, I could feel the fragrance which was radiating from those trees -the creation of the Creator of creators, Almighty Allah. The soothing forest had its own language which it was encoding and decoding to its own inhabitants that reside(d) in her lap. While heading towards the trout farm, I saw some men in uniform with Ak-47 rifles slung on their shoulders, when I started to contemplate, why are the men in uniform here that too with Ak-47 riffles, when nature teaches the lesson of discipline and non-violence. Then after heaving a sigh, I was reminded of the great poet, Pablo Neruda:
“Come and see the blood on through the streets,
Come and see, the blood through the streets”
When, finally, we reached the trout-farm, I saw fish in abundance, like I had read in the fairy tales, which might be depicting them the best way; I saw them dancing and dancing in the farm, at times, jumping high and other times moving to and fro. The moment, I saw these fish I felt totally mesmerised and rapt which thus retold me the days when I had read the Romantic poet, Wordsworth:
“Then thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance”
After leaving the trout-farm, we straightaway headed towards the zoo. But, before we arrived at the zoo, we had a glimpse of back old bear like ‘Snowball’ in ‘Animal Farm’ of George Orwell. We met two American women, with whom we had good conversation. They somehow made us cold at heart by saying, “America is more beautiful than Kashmir, and moreover, we didn’t feel anything here that could have mesmerised us.” The American lady, who was in her late 50’s said, “Although, Kashmir is better than Delhi, I felt Delhi so much polluted and congested like war, India seems to have no sense of cleanness.” When the lady with scattered brown hairs became somewhat frank to me then I started to chirp into her privacy by asking the administrative questions about her country. I asked her, ‘How does she feel and compare the difference between the ex-president and the current president of USA? The lady with a half worn t-shirt, and red bag which slung over her shoulders replied, “The present president of USA, is no less than a demented one ; we fear our future and the future of USA at his hands.”
When we arrived at the zoo, we saw three to four bears and a leopard with light eyes; the leopard I observed was like the broken winged bird. The black bears were walking to and fro and we didn’t leave them without nauseating. When we were about to leave, we again some of the snaps to immortalise our sublime visit.
The place, in every way, was soothing and we truly felt bliss but one thing that seemed obvious was that the tourism department of the state had not taken goo care of the scenic resorts. My message to the department would be that it must chisel these resorts so that one may feel an unquenched thirst for these places and visit endlessly. When we left the National-park, we went to the Botanical-garden, where we spent an hour; the place looked beautiful in the sublime autumn. Thi place too, whispered to me something romantic:
“Heard melodies are sweet
But those unheard are sweeter”
These awe inspiring visits brought utmost bliss for all of us and I felt completely savoured these with deep solace within me so much so that I sang the lines of the romantic poet P.B Shelley:
“If winter comes
Can spring be far behind?”
—The author hails from Hajin and can be reached at email@example.com