Koi Apna Nahin

Koi apna nahin sevaye ye Dal ke kinare ke,

Jisme humare ashq behete he.

Kal usne mere aansoone ke saath, meri duae bhi shayad kabul kar li. Ankhon se dard bahaa aur hathon se tazbi ki aadhi motiya pani mein shareek ho gayee. Shayad sab salamat rahen ge.

A few days ago, I got a message from an acquaintance from Punjab, who I keep bumping into at the hotel in Kashmir, with pictures of Srinagar, asking me to visit. I’d been meaning to come here, ever since mum passed away because no other place in the world, makes the enormity of my feelings seem so insignificant and make me feel more inconsequential in the larger scheme of things. So Kashmir is always, the slap that I give myself, my reality check. I got the message while I was sitting with my Dad, who literally pushed me, into going, which is hilarious. I said to him, ‘you have to be the only father in the world who will push his daughter to go and meet some man, you’ve never met, who will be staying in the same hotel, by himself. ‘ To which his reply, was the same as always, ‘ you’re not a child, I know you can handle men and right now, you really need some company. Go just talk to someone, you need to.’ He’s right, I needed the company, of the Dal.

So, I arrived here, armed with my camera and books, which I haven’t opened and got right down to it. Worked, walked and then informed this friend, who like me, comes here on official business. Since the restraunt is shut, we sat in his room for a couple of hours talking about politics, religion, being Sikh ( his version being very different from mine, as I don’t follow anything and he’s a Jato da Munda from Punjab) , Kashmir etc as the sun came down. I excused myself and walked towards my lover. Now, I have two. One is my car and like I’m apparently the love of Shets life, the Dal Lake has to be the love of mine.

Have you ever kept a long distance lover? Someone you meet once in a year and when you do the sight of the person, gives you goosebumps, your heart pounds in your chest, your eyes well up and you’re so overwhelmed with emotion you’re ecstatic and devastated at the same time. Those days are part of my history but it’s the way I feel each time I approach the Dal after a long haul. Unlike most lovers, though, it’s great at handling my tears and it does comfort me in my weakest moments.

Like I said, I’ve replaced men with technology. I forgot to mention what else.