Friday, February 19, 2010

Going in history | The first sweets in Kashmir

The marriage season is here and that means sweets coming into my house from all corners of Kashmir. Uncles, aunts, cousins and friends coming and delivering the so called "Mithai". I happened to be at my Mamu's place when the door bell of their house shouted a melodious "Assalamualikeum, Barai Meherbani Darwaza Kholiye" and someone delivered a very shiny box from Nathu Sweets. It was one of those occasions when two hungry men were given the key to the refridgerator. So thus opened the box full of sweets, opened only to feel the arrival of emptiness within just a minute of doing so.. Licking my fingers a question flashed, I wondered when was the first time when my mamu had his first sweet.

He replied, " I think it was June, 1947. The first sweet I had was a Ladoo. I was about 7 years old at that time.. It so happened that I used to study at CMS (Central Mission School), Fateh Kadal. During those days, the Dogra Rulers used to celebrate their birthdays with pomp and show and used to give enormous amout of charity to the poor people of the state of srinagar. They also used to distribute sweets. Then, I used to live in Downtown at Chisti Kocha, Syed Ali Akbar, Fateh Kadal. I hadnt seen sweets ever before in Downtown. Its was a custom that all the schools used to take their students to collect the sweets. Our school took us to Pologround. We assembled into lines, each corresponding to the respective schools. The dogras carried huge willow baskets which were filled with Ladoos.. My turn came about 20 minutes later, I was given 3 ladoos. I put two in my pocket, I wanted to give them to my sisters. I held this last yellow soft ball in my right hand, and slowly relished the sweet.

When the Dogras came to Kashmir (1846-1947), the Kashmiri Pandits used to worship only Parvati and Shiv. Shivism was quite prevalent during those days. The Dogras constructed temples Of Ram and Lord Krishan in various parts of Srinagar. One of the biggest temples was Raghunath temple which is located on the left bank of River Jhelum ie between Habba Kadal and Fateh Kadal. During the birthdays of the Dogra Rules, they used to distribute free rice to the locals. I also used to go and collect the rice. Once what happened that I was collecting rice and I lost track of time.. I had to be at home one hour earlier.. Then my grandfather started searching for me all around Zaina Kadal and finally found me at Raghunath temple. Haha, Then I wont tell you what happened.."

I laughed, for the way I imagined my mamu as 7 years old seemed to be very funny to me.. I said, "Fateh Kadal and Pologround are miles apart.. How did you go there?"

My mamu looked at me as if I had commited a sin. He said, " Well, we didnt have these yellow school buses at that time, all we had were two legs and the ".

And then I took out my phone, wondering how easy life was, and how people tend to waste stuff and be thankless for what they have. Oh!and btw my mamu is Shafi Ahmed Qadiri.

Alec Smart Said, "Mamu? It means a maternal uncle right. Then you are the international uncle, Mamoon? Subah hogayi Mamu.."