Across the lake,
it would appear as the crowning jewel.
It would appear slowly,
from within the fog.

With a change of season,
the colours and shades would change.
Sometimes red, sometimes yellow
and sometimes appearing orange.
Now, I don’t know,
in what state it is in?
Although it’s surrounded by water,
it appears thirsty.

Silently it would keep an eye on the proceedings of the city.
But sometimes, in the waves of Dal Lake,
it would appear dancing.
It would swing to the beat of the ‘shikara’ oars,
and sometimes, dance to the beats of ‘tumbaknar’.**

But, I have come to know, that it stays aloof and sad,
waiting for my return
and that might happen someday,
a ray of hope has just informed me!

*Hari Parbat is a hill overlooking Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, which epitomizes the unity in diversity and religious tolerance. The site has a fort and many religious monuments. 

**Instrument used in the traditional music of Kashmir

Painted by Manisha Madan

About the Authors

Dr. Pavneesh Madan is a Professor at the University of Guelph. Born in a Kashmiri Pandit family, his ancestral home was located in the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir. The summer of 1989 turned out to be the last time he spent time in Srinagar.  On a fateful day he found himself at the Grand-Pré National Historic Site, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and this chance visit erupted a dormant volcano of experiential sensitivities, which outpoured as poems in his upcoming book, “Uprooted Homes” from where this poem has been taken. 

Manisha Zutshi Madan is an Indo-Canadian artist based in Guelph, Ontario. Born in Srinagar into a Kashmiri Pandit family, Manisha did her Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the Jesus & Mary College, Master of Arts (MA) from the Delhi School of Economics and Master of Philosophy (M. Phil) from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Currently, she serves as an advisory board member on the Indo-Canada Arts Council and is an active community builder and philanthropist. She paints in memory of her birthplace, home, and ties with Kashmir which she has not been able to visit since 1990. 

Posted by Shweta Dixit