It is a still life water color…With no glass on the windows, there is a clear view of the cloudy sky above, leading one’s thoughts to questions like – what happened to the window panes, what shattered the glass and what left the deserted houses to the mercy of the weather and its present inhabitants – wasps, spiders, pigeons and the dog…? The crumbled bricks and dust cover the once warm, shining wooden floors. Hues of grey and browns cover the once vibrant colors of this paradise.
Many stories were lost forever in these tattered houses when they were deserted and left for decay; the decay which now has its own story to tell, speaking of mutability – the process of our life. In this decay the people of Kashmir look for the stolen gaiety, the splendor, and the colors of the past. Living in this world of optimism and hope, they celebrate every day of their life for being alive.
As I walked through the streets in downtown Srinagar, dotted with such cold skeletal houses in a cesspool of misery, I could feel warmth in the ice cold streets –warmth of the people, their hearts, almost as if rekindling an alluring candle. Scratch the upper crust of Kashmir soil, and what comes to light is the culture and civilization which is not dead in time, but living and pulsating…This is the hope and confidence I saw in the eyes of artisans with whom I was conducting a workshop in Srinagar, with the papier mache craftspeople.