Life On The Lake
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.
Young boys horse around on plank sized boats.
Women row about busy with their chores.
And men ply the water selling every kind of ware.
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.
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.