During my Childhood ( at Banamohalla in Srinagar ), Every Morning I would open my wooden Window facing river vyeth/Jhelum.
It was the greatest experience of the day and I would wait all night in my dreams to open it.
One big reason was I wanted to be sure that weather was fine to play and second 'a more important thing'. It sounds unusual but there was a lot of importance to this activity for me.
Our House was located right on River bank LINK (http://kanghar.blogspot.com/2004/06/my-home-on-banks-of-river.html) as such my relatives would often chide me as "HAAENZ" ( or the people who stay in River).
In Spring when whole of Kashmir was enjoying I had an apprehension that it shouldn't flood our Bank and house.
Come winter but I wouldn't be allowed to play because of apprehension I might slip on snow and get drowned.
In autumn I was worried for the receding water level of Vyeth.
In summer I will pray to lord that hustle and bustle stay like this.
So first thing to check was If any tourists are traveling in tourist boats in Vyeth.
Vyeth was very important for my forefathers. I still remember their story.They worshiped it as being life line of Valley and celebrated its birthday every year with lamps called Vyeth Truvah'.
But for me I felt like a watchman for this river. Monitoring everything that would be happening around this river. When I read River Valley civilization I felt myself to be nearest descendant of those people.I learnt to swim in its waters that too without telling anybody.
My meeting with River Jhelum was always exciting.
Come Shivratri and Mom will take us there to wash all clothes and quilts.
I would watch with cruel eyes, when vegetable vendors would through garbage into it from habakadal bridge.I was the happiest person on earth when in 1988 CPWD came to our locality and told that no toilet outlets will be allowed to flow into this river and 'Sulabh' toilets with Tanks will be constructed in every household adjoining river...
I wished that when I will grow up I ll tell all kids about this story and the way we preserved its waters. I would read stories from books (scarcely available) about rivers and its preservation. I won a drawing competition once on it as well. I had a big dream to visit VARYNAAG its source and see it growing till it reaches my home at Habakadal.Some one would tell me that water from temples purifies the waters of Vyeth and keeps all bad elements away from society. That is why we have temples on its banks.
Badrinaath (our temple priest) would wear langot and was the fastest swimmer we knew to cross upto Pandit Shawl house across the river. Baitaji and Mukhtareh would follow him to take his LANGOOT off in water but this chase will end with all the fun on our river Bank.
A funny incident from that bank :-
A big stone (Patri kanye) had a crack in it because Baitaji (a local man)sat on it and farted. we kids would burst in laughter that with his fart a stone can crack no wonder he can swim across in floods too.
How can I forget Khandeh and Rehmaan who rescued not less that 20 BEERA BAALLs (wooden cricket balls) .. They were kids favorite boatman who occasionally might quarrel over passengers to be taken across the river. Khandeh died before 1990 and rehmaan was wondering where KPs are going and why they are not praying with loud speakers on in temple.
There was a sudden lull and cruelty in air. A suspicious current of water had as if changed the color of river and hardly would I see anyone on this water front.
When bullets would be fired across the bridges I would pray that river water will heal the injured. When someone will drown I would think as if water has marooned him to safety. When some one would say "THRAAT pyeh aath Vyethi" I would moan with sorrow.
But a day came when I moaned too much...I was 13 years when we left valley on 17th April 1990.That unfortunate day I saw as if Jhelum was flowing with my tears...
When I reached Jammu I saw some kashmiri men taking bath alongside Bihari Laborers at Patoli chowk. A strong Adamant local shopkeeper teased them and said "These kashmiris have taken all the water from city .. look at the Patoli Pond they drank it all.it is dry now" ...
I came back home and was contemplating if I could take this Local to my Jhelum and ask him to please take as much water as his wants for his pond.
But alas never did I know that even after 17 years today I would still be writing about that river of my dreams and feel myself opening our wooden window on front third floor.
Someone please contact the people who are living in our house (now at banamohalla in machine Kochi.. Next to national photo studio ).. Request them to please open the river facing Window with care. 10000 miles away a fool like me has tears in his eyes for that window and its perenial flowing river.
I would be happy to do anything for my dearest HAANJI brothers with whom I spent my childhood and for my river which has more to give us than take from us.
With Great Love and care for my Vyeth..