Back in time with memories of that wonderful and so simple life in Gulmarg. We spent at least 6 months there through the summer, running a small guest house. My little son grew up amongst the shepherds and sheep, the “ghora wallas” with their ponies,  the vast expanses of green that sprouted wild flowers, and the silence. It was quite a magical world. For 2 months or so it would be full of tourists and that was lovely too. And then, after the tourist season was over, back to the sound of silence. Incredible….it has been over 30 years, but every bit of it is so clear.

As I mentioned in Part -1, we had two wonderful caretakers, who worked tirelessly to make our lives comfortable and happy. They were both philosophical men, with a simple and truthful wisdom. I wrote about Mohmdoo in the first part and this story is about Hamza Malik. He was the younger of the two, and actually believed that he was still much younger than everyone else! I do hope he is alive somewhere, in his village perhaps, leading a peaceful life.

Hamza had a peculiar way of dealing with any chore that was asked of him. His standard answer was ” Kyu nahin. Agar zindagani hoga, main jaroor karu ga.” ( Meaning -“why not? If I have life, I will certainly do so.”) This answer was amusing and at times, annoying, because whether you asked him to get you a chair to sit in the garden or go to the market……this would be his answer.  And this reply crept under my skin, and became a constant thought. So, naturally, one day, I asked him what exactly did he mean by that answer.  Afterall, he had sometimes, to just go a few steps away, or make a cup of tea.

He said he firmly believed that he could fall dead any minute (which is the Truth of course) and this was to remind himself of this. He never wanted to forget that life was literally a breath that could be taken away by God at any given moment.  And therefore, he should be in a constant state of Gratitude for Life, be centred in the Present Moment and not take life for granted.

While I remember this beautiful lesson so often, I am guilty of not actually following it with as much sincerity as I would like to. I will forever salute those two wonderful souls for having enriched my life with their lessons.