Friday, November 03, 2006

Life On The Lake

Yesterday morning I took a 3 minute shikara ride from my porch to the bank of the lake. I crossed the street and had a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of Nescafe. Although the native food is tastier, I need something approximately familiar for breakfast.


Then, I walked back to the bank and boarded another boat for a 3 hour ride around Dal Lake. The nicer boats have a long velvet cushion where one can lay back to enjoy the quiet lapping of the oar while watching life on the lake drift past.

in a shikara

And there is a lot of life to see. There are lotus gardens, and gardens supporting greens I've never seen. Dense turf floats on the surface, sinking and pooling with water around a footstep, and then springing up again. There are enough islands, moored together houseboats, platforms, and floating huts to call the place a town. There is a market, mosques, and a school.

public school

Young boys horse around on plank sized boats.

chasing ducks

Women row about busy with their chores.

And men ply the water selling every kind of ware.

flower boat

I'm suprised to find, with its houseboat lined lakes, that Srinagar has a kinship with Amsterdam. The impression of the sky is similar too; even on the sunniest day, there is something of water in it.

island house

Tommorow morning I'm leaving for Sonmarg, in the direction of Ladakh and the Indian Himalayas for a 4 night, 5 day horse and foot trek. It is cold here, at night and in the morning, and it will be even colder where I'm going. Yesterday evening I gave in and bought a pashmina, a shawl spun from the underfur of Himalayan goats. With its light, lovely magical warmth around my neck, I sat on the bank of the Dal watching the lights shimmer and eating skewered, roasted lamb with chutney and flatbread.

I can't believe I've been in India for a month now; time goes strangely, and every single thing is different. India is a place that demands you either bend or be broken. As inflexible as I am, I'm bending, and it's hard to keep track of things by familiar lights.


Anonymous maryeats said...

It is my one regret that we didn't get up here. Looks lovely.

8:59 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sweet life. that's all.
love carm

7:11 PM GMT-5  

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