Friday, May 21, 2010


                                    ( Boats carrying HUKH or  drifted wood at Kraalyaar Rainawari ..Photo..1920.. )

“Bobu Ji Hukh Chhu Aamut. Patta mokalee . Buthee chhuyee Krooth Vandhaa ” 

“Pandit Ji Hukh is available now . It shall be sold immediately . You have to face severe winters ahead” .

said Ali Mohd Muttah'aanz to my father .

And we went to Kraalyaar M'aar ( Canal ) and Purchased about two quintals of Hukh for the winter season. Hukh consisted of pieces of  drifted wood collected from rivers by a group of Boatmen and then brought to city for sale in big boats called Bahatch.Hukh Collected from DODERHAAMA near Ganderbal town was marketed as “ Special Doderhaameuik Hukh “ . It was used for burning in Kitchen during winters . It made the kitchen warm when burnt in DH'AAN ( CHULHAA ) by our womenfolk .I would sit in the kitchen to have my food when my mother burnt HUKH for cooking food . She would also burn a stick of Willow or Conifer or Deodar along with HUKH pieces .Seeing the Hukh in the DHAAN ( CHULHAA ) gave a very good feeling . In extreme winters , We would come to the kitchen repeatedly to fill our Kangris . The kitchen turned cozy and warm with HUKH burning. Our ladies used to make Charcoal from the Burning HUKH or firewood in the kitchen. They would keep a LEIJJ ( earthen pot ) with a lid in the Kitchen . Very skillfully , they would remove Burning Coal heaps from the DHAAN ( Chulhaa ) and throw them into the LEIJJ and then immediately keep a lid over it. The burning charcoal would cool down and the charcoal so prepared would be used to make the afternoon or evening Tea for the family.

In so far as firewood was  concerned , its procurement from the Government Timber Yards spread all over the city was  a tough job. You had to get up in the morning and keep your CHENDHEE ( Timber cards supplied to each family by Forest department ) near the window of the Zeun Ghaat ( Timber depot ) to procure timber at  government rates. Generally milk selling families supplied the labour force at these timber depots . A labourer would even carry 100 Kgs of Timber log on his shoulders . Then he would suddenly  throw the log with a bang in the courtyard making windows rattle . Now the TABARDAAR( wood cutter ) would come and cut these logs to pieces for ultimate use in the kitchen . We would then carry the pieces for storing them at a safe place .HATAB ( A Variety of Timber used for burning ) was a preferred stuff  by kashmiris. I vividly remember kashmiris keeping a vigil on arrival of HATAB at timber Depots to buy it . It produced a quality heating fuel for the Kangris .

Another fuel with kashmiris was the saw dust popularly known as KOSH. They would use it in kangris and more specifically for boiling water to wash clothes . Every sunday we would use KOSH DAMCHULAA ( special mobile chulhaa made of iron for burning saw dust ) for boiling water to wash clothes . It produced irritating smoke . The burnt saw dust was also used in kangris . For bathing we had a special galvanized iron HAMAAM which used to give instant boiling water once firewood was burnt inside it . Wastage of POPLAR tree wood sold by Band saw mills was burnt in this HAMAAM .. The wood used as fuel was called MOCHAA or left overs ( scrap ) by the Band saw mills where sawing of POPLAR Tree logs was done.

Many families  had Kerosene stoves . My father  had  also purchased two Kerosene stoves for our kitchen   . Triloki Nath Pandit  whom every one called as Treyaa Pandit or Treyya Tsoor  and   who reportedly had some criminal past ( in plains of the country) had opened a stove repair shop in Jogi Lanker chowk . His shop was near police station Rainawari  just opposite to  the shop of Chuni Lal Watloo.  Chuni lal watloo had a small  drug and medicine shop where pandits would sit for gossiping  . These gossiping Pandits made Chuni lal Watloo lose all customers .When Newer Drug and medicine  stores   opened in  Jogi lanker  Chowk , Chuni lal Watloo  shifted his activity    to a newer trade and started working  as an  agent of the Police officials   in  the nearby Police station . Any person who had to lodge an FIR or needed Police assistance had to come to Chuni Lal watloo's shop  for  direct or indirect help from the police  . 

Now coming to Treyya Pandit's shop of stove repair ,Every time I went   with our  stove to him, he would just change the burner . He did it to all stoves coming to him . For him change of burner perhaps solved all problems of a stove .He did  so even for Minor Blockage  in the kerosene passage of the burners which could be easily   cleared by a   stove pin.  Perhaps he knew nothing else  and also it made him earn instantly.  His customers paid without any arguments.

Then came the LPG Era . Kashmiris immediately shifted to LPG DHAAN (CHULHAAS).  We had to face Long queues at Jawahir nagar office of JAKFED wherefrom we would purchase the gas  Cylinder refills . Kashmiris  quickly forgot the age old trsted and tried fuels like HUKH , HATAB , COWDUNG AND KOSH ( saw dust ) .

 I end with a quote of camus :

 “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
 (Albert Camus )

So Long so much .

( autar Mota )

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Thursday, May 13, 2010


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“Come put your feet under my Pheran. I shall rub them . Do not use Kaangri ”

Said my maternal grandfather to me . I went to him complaining sudden redness and pain in one of my toes. He said “ Ye Chhuyee Shooh Gomutt. ” Meaning this is frostbite . With his rubbing , I felt  warmth and a little comfort. The pain turned mild . I heard him singing in kashmiri

“Bisht Bisht Braaryo
Khotakho Vunn .
Torraa kyaah Voluth
Babri Punn.
Su Kamunn Chhokuth

I do not know when I slept and where the pain went . May be the  lines of the song had played their role effectively. This and many similar songs were meant for children . I was always amused when I heard some one singing them. Whenever I played with my Maternal cousins , we would sing

“Raaja Bhaai Raaja
Kyon Kotwaal
Srinagar Me Chor Aayaa
Kiss Raaste
Iss Raaste”

A cousin sister of mine would play with us and sing

Okuss Bokuss Tillwaien Tsokuss,
Onumm Batukh Lodhum Deghee,
Shawl Kich Kich Wangno.

I am certainly talking of a period when only some families had the privilege of having the radio sets or transistors . My Father had bought this luxury for us . Radio Ceylon with Amin Sayani as the announcer was quite popular. I still remember the advertisement for LOMA hair oil. Television was totally unheard of . We did remember many hindi songs but friends in school and my cousins would frequently sing the kashmiri children songs while at play. Money was a scarce commodity. The state government clerks would be offered a special selection grade on promotion satirically  still known as Rs 70-6-130.  we had a community radio set  in Jogi Lanker chowk . Generally people would come out and listen to news over there.  I remeber some boys in our locality singing

“Kaav Butt Kaavo
Khechri Kaavo

We had a teacher in DAV school Rainawari Radha krishen By name . He was Tall and would spend some time in his class on issues not connected with studies . He would ask two boys to get up and do “GUFTGU ”. The boys were supposed to curse each other in choicest words or call nick names . Entire class and the teacher would join them with  their sadistic smiles on this  so to say one act play .One day I heard Radah Krishen  saying

“Tsrind Grindumm Te Mong Daal

Okhun sahibuss Khatan Haal ”

I did not know the meaning of these words but they some how caught my fancy . later I heard many relatives also using these lines while playing with their children. The lines actually mean that a teacher( Okhun ) is generally poor . So When he performs circumcision of his child he just cooks Daal and ordinary food. No Mutton or lavish dishes .These songs had enormous effect on young minds  . Mothers would lull their babies to sleep with these songs. These were sung by children while playing . Elders would humour them with young kids. No Kashmiri  of my age  can say that he does not know them . Some other songs which we used to sing as children are

Habba kadal loraan
Zaina Kadal Ladhaan
Bisht Mouj vadhaan

Hop Lop Chhop Kurr
Mauj Gayee Greit bal,
Torra anni Saut Pull
Audd thaav Chunduss
Su Poshee Vanduss
Audd  Thaav Aaliss
su Poshee Reit kaaliss

In DAV school ,We had a class fellow whom we called Nikka Razdaan .He would sing Ladee Shaah . Here goes what he sang

LadeeShaah Ladeeshaah  Daari  Kin  Pyaav
Pyaavanai Pyaavanai  Haaptunn  Khyaav .
Budd  Mauj  Budd  Mauj  Kenh Nai  Guvv
Tse  tulum  Trum Tai  Baa  Tulai Nai
Vataan  vataav  Naavid  Khai
Bakshi  Sahib  Naavi  Munz  Saer  Karaan
Musaafir  Aayoss  Bataah  Mendiss
Chonch  Dhubb  Loynuss  khor Tendis .

Somtimes our neighbour Ritch Maal would come to our house and gossip with my mother . Once I heard her singing smilingly

Tul Paluvv Tul Paluvv
Voth Tseluvv Voth Tseluvv
Baani Haali Buth Chhaluvv.

My sisters studied in Vishwa Bharti college Rainawari. I vividly remember them saying that a person by name Sarva Nand had a shop in the college and many girls would tell him

Sarvananduss  Kokur  Chanduss
Vanduss  Karaan  kuk Du Koon.

These lines always created a desire in me to see Sarvanand Physically . Alas I could not

On shivratri day I would wait curiously to see my mother with  a pitcher full of walnuts (soaked in water ) on her head knocking our main door and singing

Thuk Thuk
Kuss Chhuvaa.
Raam Brorr
Kyaah Heuth
Anna Heuth
Dhann Heuth
Roozi Heuth
Rozgaar Heuth .
Ghar Heuth
Gupan Heuth
Nosh Heuth
Koor heuth
Munz  Kuss Chhuv
Shiv Naath Te Paarvati

So long so much .
visit me also at

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