Wednesday, March 22, 2017





Prof Neerja Mattoo writes:

" The Residency Road was full of shops selling Merchandise of all kinds . A fascinating sight was the magnificent Statue of a white Horse that occupied the compound of the Pestonjee ‘s home. The house had access from the Bund , while the offices of the Insurance firm Mr Pestonjee and his son represented , were on the Residency Road below.
when we walked on the Bund for our Daily walk , we could hear strains of a Piano playing – obviously western Music .Situated as we were in our enclave , such Plurality was natural . Having woken up early with the AZAAN , rubbing one’s eyes to the sounds of the TEMPLE BELLS and Breakfasting against the background of *BAGPIPES from the practicing Band Next door , It was only proper that the evening should end with the music from a Piano. Dance Music could also be heard if one ventured near the club. Residency Road also housed three Book shops, the largest and the most popular being the KASHMIR BOOK SHOP , owned by the sweetest Book loving and Book Knowing sardarji , with his white Beard and equally spotless white Turban .You could get all the Books in the world _ if it was not in the shop , he would order it for you. And there were all the Journals from High Brow ENCOUNTER , THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC , TIME , LIFE, The Humble READER’S DIGEST to WOMAN AND HOME and WOMAN , with their knitting Patterns and other “womanly” pursuits . And then there were all the comics, the graphic Novels of those times . It was an Alladin’s cave for young readers like us. How far we had travelled from the alleys of the inner city , we had no knowledge .
A Quaint little Cubby -hole of a Book shop was run by an elderly sindhi couple. It was called" DURUPADI’S ” , perhaps the sindhi spelling of word Draupadi !
The third Book shop was lowbrow HIND BOOK SHOP , which stocked stationery and Paperback best sellers .

Opposite the Hind Book shop and facing the Bund was “ THE INDIA COFFEE HOUSE “ a daylong haunt of the ‘ Thinkers “ of Kashmir : Writers , Journalists , Small time Politicians , Artists and Leftist students .A haze of Cigarette smoke hung over the place along with coffee aroma and the loud argumentative voices of the coffee drinkers .

Walking past , a longing to be a part of that _ To us , Glamorous – world would fill us, But it was out of Bounds for Young women. ”

I conclude this post with a couplet of Urdu poet and film Lyricist Prof. Shaharyar ..
“Waqt teri yeh ada mai aaj tak samjha nahin

Meri duniya kyon badal di, mujh ko kyon badla nahin”

( Shaharyaar )
“Time, I have never ever understood this trait of yours

Why have you changed my world, but not changed me”

( Autar Mota )
(Prof Neerja Mattoo is an Eminent Academician and a distinguished scholar from Kashmir. She is a noted writer and has also translated several Poetry and Prose texts from Kashmiri into English. This post has been extracted from her write up in “ Miraas “ Issue July – December 2016 Page 81 ..REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST- MYTH AND REALITY OF BELONGING AND TOGETHERNESS With due thanks and regards to her )

Till October 1947,The Present day Kothi Bagh school housed Maharaja’s Military Band . After Maharaja Hari singh moved out from the state , an army unit occupied the place . this unit was engaged in fighting the Tribal raiders .It was later occupied by Recruits of ‘ Peace Brigade “ set up by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad . Sometime later after this place was occupied by Kothi Bagh school.

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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