Chilai Kalan is about to breathe his last to let the Chilai Khurd blossom. In the final breaths of Chilai Kalan, I was able to freeze an appointment for an interview. It was a difficult task but luckily I got hold of the Chilai Kalan despite his busy schedule.
Chilai Kalan sat on a chair made of ice. I feel more comfortable on the icy chair, he said. His words hit my ears like the winds of Antarctica, turning them red. The interview began.
Me: Sir, you proved to be a laggard this year in terms of snowfall. Why so?
Chilai Kalan (CK): The people of Kashmir look at me as a monster. They think I carpet the valley with the snow that generates all troubles. This time I thought to restrain myself to avoid the notion that people have encrypted in their minds about me. However, I entered with a bang. I have now frosted the valley with thick icicles. The older generations know my power better than the younger generations. I still have some breaths left and let us see how it unfolds before my death.
Me: Shall it mean that you resorted to politics in limiting your abilities to be the darling of people?
CK: I must say, yes I played politics. I have the right to adapt myself to the wishes of the people. It is important to have good snowfall to avoid the scarcity of water in the hot summer. It is also needed to keep the fauna in the oceans and rivers alive. But I prefer to opt to be on the safe side as I have learned from the people over the years.
Me: Sir, snow apart, the people of the valley are cursing you. They expected you to be humble, not ruthless.
CK: Cursing is in the blood of humans. In summer when there will scarcity of water, they will curse me again for not bombing the valley with heavy snowfall.
Me: Sir, Who should we blame for all the troubles people face in the harsh climatic conditions?
CK: They should blame themselves, not me. They have destroyed nature. I do my work fully. I try to balance the ecosystem. They repeat their mistakes. The people don’t understand the concept of “Natural Justice”.
(The Chilai Kalan seemed to be in a hurry now to leave)
Me: Sir, any message for the people of Kashmir?
C.K: I will quote the couplet of Dr Allama Iqbal to encapsulate:
‘Tanam Gulai Zi Khayanban-e-Jannat-e-Kashmir
The clay of my body is from the gardens of a paradise called Kashmir’ Enjoy this beautiful season you have been blessed with. Don’t take this white blessing as a curse. Let there be no clash of opinions on this scintillating creation of nature. Winter will melt in the sunshine. Every winter has its spring.
I thanked the Chilai Kalan. By this time my face had burned red with the glacial cold. I rushed to grab a kangri, while Chilai Kalan got again on the job.