The fragrance struck me first. A smell so sweet that it might let you go of all the fickle bothers of this world. Clearly, I was on my way to Pampur en route Srinagar. As for the fragrance, I must tell that Pampur is one of the few places in the world where saffron is grown.
Yes, I’m talking of those red threads that you get from the black currant colour flowers. It’s a thing so rare that calling it a ‘thing’ might be downright offensive. Watch those strands take a swirl in champagne and you’ll know what I mean. One stir and it becomes a fascinating concoction.
Okay, back to Kashmir now, before I start penning about champagne and all.
Stepping down from the car, I entered the farm and found myself in a wonderland of sorts. Some steps in, and I let go of my wish to visit Spain to see saffron plantations, for it can’t be as mesmerising as this. As the flowers that seemed to crop straightaway from the soil danced in the gentle breeze, whiffs of that sweet scent assailed my very existence.
It was then that I knew why the place is referred to as the “Land of Gold.”
Masters, as I may call the people working on the field (for they were nothing less than that), were busy plucking flowers. As cautiously as a mother tiptoes by her sleeping child, for one wobbly step and the flowers would be all crushed. Needless to add, crushing the red gold within them.
Much to my surprise, they let me pluck a few (maybe, that greedy look in my eyes became quite evident)!
Ah! Now that’s another bliss that comes from travelling. You become a jack of quite a many trades (well, I never raised my hand for the ‘specialisation’ theory).
As I ventured out of the farm, with memories for a lifetime, I couldn’t help but recite (in my head of course) the words of the legendary Lalla/Lal Ded –
“Drifter, on your feet, get moving!
You still have time, go look for the Friend.
Make yourself wings, take wing and fly.”
Here, I must add that Lalla, the mystical poetess, was another golden wonder of these land of many wonders, Kashmir. As they say, only two words work here, Allah (God) and Lalla.
Lenswork – Akanksha Gupta
Wordswork – Shikha Gautam