Broad white flakes doused from high above skies,
as I drove the heavy curtains away.
Snow had begun busily all night swelling the field -every twig,every fir.
The old neighbor's ( Rahaet daed) sheafed roof top's were bleached in pearly heaps.
Ivory snow over naked offshoots glowered like Pop corn.
In apparent silence, a thousand voices seemed all glued.
I galloped along the stairway-on my way to the living room.
Smoke emanated from the kangri pots - the one's mother had
prepared in wee hours itself. This would be a long day I muttered
within. Winters tend to be harsh in our part of the world, bringing
life to an abrupt standstill.
First snowfall with itself, brings the buzz called- sheen shaert.
An old custom where children befool elders and
in return ask for gifts; which mostly doesn't mean more
than a harissa feast- a time tasted Kashmiri breakfast.
After finishing up with harissa and hot sipping tea,
grandfather got about the business of stocking up house-hold items.
Snow with all it's romantism in place brings with it miseries
perforated too- a price perhaps you pay.
By now a sheath of white facade had concealed the entire
landscape, till it met the horizon afar.
Trotting along- holding my Grandfather's finger I shoved,
jostled through the alleys leading upfront to the market-
where Phiran clad, kangri's conveniently tucked inside, wollen
cap'd weary men were seen blowing hot air from their lungs to
icy fingers. The hand knitten ath panje (handgloves) in beautiful
colors adorned little hands of fairies; who were busy with the snow man.
Vehicles plied as scantily as does Jhelum in winters.
The agony of splashing snow by a disdained driver withstanding always.
Afternoon was spent gazing through the window pane of fine
brown ebony, as slowly and delicately snow piled up.
Chirping of crickets and golden finch
could be barely heard. Flakes keep everybody nestled.
Darkness soon absorbed the sullen afternoon-
dusk onsets early in winters. This was my most savoured bit.
We would encircle around grandmother with bemused eyes
as she rolled tales after tales: Hemaal-Nagraj, Satah-zung haiwan,
Hatam Tai. Stories that resounded and entwined in the warm
rove'y zephyr of our large living room. I can overhear sometimes, when I visit
my ancestral house. At some places, in some distant memory, the turnip perhaps does stop.