I was born in Rainawari, Srinagar. I grew up in Delhi and studied Engineering from the “University of Mumbai”. Most of my friends are Kashmiris, I met them either at work or during my Engineering years.
My parents often narrate stories about our house, neighborhood, friends, festivals celebrated in Kashmir, however out of all those stories, one incident from my childhood remains one of their “special memories” of Kashmir, recalling which brings tears to my eyes, even today.
It goes like this- I was about 5 yrs. old; studying in the same school where my mother worked as a teacher. During the yearly examination, the teachers would stay back post-school hours to check question papers, while students were allowed to leave after writing exams. So, it was one such day and I was supposed to travel back home from Hawal to Rainawari (home). An older cousin was supposed to pick me up from the Rainawari bus stop and carry me home. There was no school bus available on that day and my mother made me board a local bus, instructed the bus conductor, to help me get down at the Rainawari bus stop (SUCH WAS THE TRUST). It so happened that I missed my bus stop as I had fallen asleep and reached the last stop (Batmaloo). Once the bus stopped; there was only one male passenger left on the bus who enquired about me from the bus driver. It was then, that the bus driver realized” the kid was supposed to get down at Rainawari”.
This last passenger in the bus carried me all the way from Batmaloo to Rainawari and at the bus stop, the fruit vendor recognized me and helped this gentleman with the address. On the way, he had bought me a packet of biscuits also and handed me over to my parents. SAFE AND SOUND. My parents have narrated this story a number of times (to a number of people!) and each time they tell me this story their eyes are moist, recalling the communal harmony and brotherhood that existed in Kashmir!
We have only been physically away from Kashmir, our hearts still (and always will) belong there.
Home is where the heart is and heart is always in Kashmir (you will hear me saying this a lot !!). My younger brother and I were always encouraged to speak in Kashmiri at home. My father is a mountaineer, running a Trekking Company for over 30 years. He has had tremendous influence in my life. He has passed on his immense love for Kashmir to us, especially to me.
Personally, I feel the language is a common thread that binds us Kashmiris together, regardless of our faith and individual belief system. Sadly, we are losing our culture which pains me and I think making these videos is the easiest and the simplest way to preserve the culture. If we are able to encourage people to speak in and learn more about mother tongue the rest will fall into place on its own, though it will take time. I choose to do it in a humorous way, to bring a smile on the faces who have been suffering for past 30 years, some of us while living in the Valley and some of us outside of it. We all Kashmiris have collectively suffered and we deserve our share of fun and smiles. “Asvun Koshur” is my humble attempt to bring those smiles back and promote (therefore preserve) our Kashmiri culture.
Here are few of her viral videos: