Tuesday, January 25, 2022



       ( Above two photographs relate to international edition available on Amazon)

  ( Above two photographs relate to Indian edition)

 THE TULIPS AND THE SNOWSTORM ( Stories from Kashmir) 

by Avtar Mota
Price Rs440/-

I don't claim to know the skills of story writing but what I assure every reader about the stories contained in this book is as under:-

(1) The gripping narrative of every story shall enthuse ,involve and entertain you.

(2) The easily identifiable characters in these stories are ordinary human beings who get trapped in situations beyond their control. Even when they look to the sky over their head for resolution and relief ,it responds with indifference that is luckily benign. If they smile, you smile with them. And if they are pensive , they make you pensive too. These characters bring you to the book again and again.

(3) The stories reveal happy living , nostalgia, empathy ,helplessness, pretence and sorrows of exile. The shift in our value system , whereby utility and expediency are replacing every other old value is also visible in some stories .

In one of my stories , Tarawati is tempted to buy Kohalrabi ( Kadam ) that suddenly arrives in the Sabzi Mandi .In the mid-day heat , she walks to her shelter ,satisfied and happy carrying the prized Kohlrabi( Kadam) but dies of heatstroke . She is an exile who has lost her identity and environment and finds a gleaming hope of survival at the sight of Kohalrabi . I have received affectionate Kudos from a Professor in the US for scripting Tarawati's obituary in the story. The story 'Do Not Say Bangaluru Again " reflects clash of perspective between young and old. "Book Release "and "Award Winners" fall in humour and satire category. 'A Day Inside Lalla Ded Maternity Hospital , Srinagar ', ‘Qazigund :Anda Chai Paratha and Bathroom ‘ and ‘The Afghan Dry Fruit Seller ‘ are packed with truthful and gripping humour . So are the stories like ‘ Shoe theft in Kashmiri society’, ‘ Dudda or the Uninvited Guest in Kashmiri Marriage Feast’ , ‘Gossip Shops of Rainawari ‘ and ‘ Kashmiris and Humour’.

‘ Mother ‘ is another story based on ' Mother- Child ' relation told in a different style . Unforgettable Nazir Ahmed " is the story of a brave, innocent and honest footpath vendor. ‘Terminal Dues‘ and ‘Bank Loan Guarantor’ present complex issues that the exiled Kashmiri Pandit community faced after 1990.

In these stories, you may find settled people becoming travellers. Families disintegrating as children get educated and move to far off lands in search of jobs . Only senior citizens live in the houses that they had built for their families .Loneliness hangs on doors and windows . Deep freezers arrive in the society to enable children to join the Final Samaskara ( funerals ) of their parents . Old traditions and customs come under enormous pressure . The runaway technology appears imposing a strange and all engulfing dehumanising process .

I personally believe that a writer is a part of the system. He is in it yet above it. He has to be at a spot that could be called as his intellectual observatory. For my readers , I present excerpts from some stories


( Sarvanand had witnessed how some hooligans had made obscene gestures in front of the dais from which Mrs Indira Gandhi had addressed her election rally at the Hazoori Bagh park
in Srinagar city. ………………………Sarvanand looked around and saw that everybody in the gathering belonged to the National Conference cadre. He saw Ghulam Nabi (tailor), Ismail Gujri (milk seller), Rahim Naavid (barber) and Habib Ganai (butcher) looking expectantly for his reply. Everybody knew that Pandits in Kashmir would vote for the Congress party in that particular election. Sarvanand had also come with that purpose. But then looking at the situation, Sarvanand had to say something different.

“ We have one mission here. Alla-Baen or the plough (election symbol of the National Conference party) must win. Who can forget the role of the National Conference and its leader Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah? ‘Sher i Kashmir ka kya irshaad, Hindu - Muslim - Sikh Ittehaad’ or Hindu, Muslim and Sikh unity has been the slogan of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.” Said Sarvanand.

“Pandit Ji that is good. Don’t worry. We have done the same. Your vote has been cast. Please tell your neighbour Dina Nath Ji not to trouble himself by coming to this polling booth. His vote has also been cast. You Ismaala (Ismail), give the special curd Lassi to Pandit Ji. He looks exhausted.”)
( From the short story ‘ Curd Lassi 1983’ in Part I )


( “ What is Shastar, caste or surname ?”

“ Neither caste nor surname, It is a Kashmiri word meaning iron that is tough and useful. Neither the Hindus nor the Muslims can live without iron. So it is a real secular word. Shastar Sahib was toying with the idea of using Traam (copper) or Sartal (brass) or Loi (bronze) as his pseudonym but then Abdul Aziz and Mohan Kishen clarified to him that these metals were not secular. They also advised him against Sonn (gold) or Roff (silver) as these metals don’t get identified with his vote bank. Shastar Sahib was also writing poetry when he was idle. After his first innings as Minister of State for Forests, he forgot poetry but continued using ‘Shastar’ as his pseudonym.”)

( From the short story ‘Book Release’ in Part I)


(When Ram Krishen heard it, he turned serious and said :-

“That means the poor lady is to be kept in cold storage like a vegetable or perishable commodity. This is not our Sanatan Dharma. This is not the proper way to conduct final Samaskaara. This is not provided in our sacred texts and the Shastras. We Kashmiri Pandits don’t go by these short cuts. Who will keep her on the grass mat in the mortuary? Her body needs to be kept facing particular directions. Who shall recite the Bhagwat Geeta in the mortuary for her? Who will keep the earthen lamp burning in the mortuary? We can keep her on ice slabs if we have necessarily to wait for Sanjay. You should have told Sanjay that you are performing the final Samaskaara tomorrow and he could have joined us for the 10th day ritual (Kriya). It is not proper to shift a dead body from the house and then again bring it back. After all you are dealing with a soul that has yet to attain Moksha (salvation) through the Kriya Karma (religious rituals).”)

( From the story ‘The Final Samaskara’ Part I)


(“Khan pather me shigaaf se nahin nikla. Khan ka maa hai. Khan ka biwi hai . Khan ka bacha hai. Khan ayaal mein rehta hai. Khan tabardaar hai. Sab amraaz ka ilaaj karega. Yuk zenaana yuk mardaana ka beemari majlis mein bataane laayak nahin. Aissa beemari par pardaa nahin rakhna. Ilaaj karna zaroori. Khan bil khasoosan aissa beemari ka ilaaj karega. Apna Kashmiri bhai koyi khaas baat karega. Apnaa Kashmiri bhai koyi khaas ilaaj karega. Khan dawai bech kar yuk ba yuk sunega. Maalik shifa bakshega. Yuk, dho, teen din mein dawai ka assar aayega. Abhi bolega to hawa mein. Baad mein bolega to khan ki jaan ko.”)

(Khan was not born out of a crack in some rock. Khan has a mother. Khan has a wife. Khan has his children. Khan lives in a family. Khan is a family man. Khan will cure every ailment.
Many men, many women may have ailments not worth mentioning here openly. But don't hide such ailments. Get these ailments treated. Khan will specifically treat such ailments. My Kashmiri brothers can talk to Khan privately for such ailments. After selling the medicine, Khan will attend to these secret ailments. God will grant the desired cure. First, second and then the third day, you will notice the effect of Khan's medicine. At this moment, you may curse Khan but later on, all your good wishes will be for Khan.)

( From the Story ‘ The Herbal Tonic seller from Afghanistan’ in Part II )


(There was a cloth shop owned by a Muslim from Malik family just opposite to Ram Joo's chemist shop. The gossip mongers would start arriving at 5 pm and by 6.30 pm the discussions would become loud. Ram Joo was a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) and a skilled medical expert. He was a helpful person. He had worked with Dr Ali Jan, the renowned physician of Kashmir. However, the gossip mongers had brought total gloom to his business and rendered waste all his expertise.

When some family member of some gossip monger would try to go inside the shop due to some exigency back at home, the owner of the 'Malik Cloth Shop' would cry loudly:-

“Don't go inside. Kashmir' problem is in its final stage of settlement. They are busy preparing the agreement .Waldheim (Kurt Waldheim) has been waiting for this agreement at the UNO office since last Monday. You must understand. You are educated young man. Go back, tell your mother or the guest at your home to wait.")

( From the story Gossip Shops of Jogilanker, Rainawari in Part II)

(“Yes, apart from me, five persons were given the prestigious SSCD Literary Award for the year 2019. Poet Sham Lal Talvaas, writer Som Nath, Parvez Muscle (owner of Muscle Gym), Aziz Lipton (Assam tea trader) and upcoming singer Surbaaz Pahalwan (from Langot Akhara) were given this SSCD 2019 Literary Award. In total, six persons received the SSCD 2019 Literary Award. SSCD is the NGO of Shri Samir Samar. All the six awardees had donated five thousand each to SSCD, the NGO of Samir Samar. The awards were presented by ex-minister Dil Nawaz Bedil in a grand function held at Tehzeeb Theatre. Our names appeared in the newspapers.”
“What is SSCD?”
“Society for Stopping Cruelty to Dogs.”)
( From the Short Story‘Award Winners ‘appearing in the book ‘The Tulips and the Snowstorm  in Part I)
(When Rehman ‘Kazaakhteer’ published his first poetry book titled ‘Gagur Ta Gagraai’ (The Rat And The Thunder), he raised a GP fund loan of fifteen thousand rupees. He was expecting to recover his cost at least but unfortunately, not a single book could be sold. Roshan Gulab wrote a highly recommendatory review for ‘Gagur ta Gagrai’ in the Sunday edition of the ‘Daily World’ newspaper but it didn’t help at all. He distributed 50 books free in his book release function. Out of these 50, about 40 were found lying on the chairs when the book release function was over and the audience had left. The security guards found these abandoned books when they closed the doors of the hall where the function was held. They felt helpless in dealing with these books .The residual two hundred fifty books were sold by his wife to a Kabaadi (scrap dealer) for one hundred rupees. From this money, she purchased some snuff or Naswar (Naas in Kashmiri) and nthrew the packet on Kazaakhteer’ s face saying, ‘put this snuff in your nostrils. They are blocked. Now that you have finished your GP fund and can not publish another poetry book, this snuff will help in releasing residual poetry from your nose.’ Rehman Kazaakhteer’s friend Omkar Nath ‘Vasvaas’ also could not sell a single book of his poetic collection ‘Nar Ta Narparistaan’. He had invested rupees sixteen thousand in printing 300 copies of ‘Nar Ta Narparistaan’. The money had been received by him as part payment of his money back LIC policy. Finally, his wife threw all these books into the big household garbage bin kept by the municipality near their house and told her husband, ‘better you put on a female dress and dance as Bacha (male dancer dressed as female) in marriage functions. You will earn better.
This is the only way to recover sixteen thousand that you wasted.’)
( From the Short Story ‘Book Release’ appearing in the book ‘The Tulips and the Snowstorm' in Part I)
(And Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpuri also could not wait for more. He had also desired the end of the miseries created by the second world war when he wrote:-
"Sipaah e roos hai Berlin se aur kitni duur?"
(How far is the Russian army from Berlin now?)
A man turns impatient should he be made to carry some trouble. He wants to unburden himself at the first available opportunity. Qazigund was a place more connected with the unburdening or release than consuming tea, snacks or other refreshment .This was Qazigund, lined with rows of rickety and shabby looking shops .Wearing Pherans (cloaks worn by Kashmiris), the shop owners would come closer to the bus windows and cry:-
"Andaa, chai, paraatha, bathroom.
Bathroom, bathroom, valeev
mahraa, vala behen ji, vala huz" 
(Eggs, tea, Paraatha and urinal.
Urinal, come Pandit Ji, come
sister, come Khwaja Sahib.)
"Rajmaah, chaawal, murga bathroom"
(Rajmaash, rice, chicken and urinal.)
"Valaa sa, tamaek jejeer, maaz,
bataah, thool, chai ta bathroom" 
(Come, tobacco Hookah, mutton,
rice, eggs, tea and urinal.)
( From the story ‘Qazigund: Anda Chai Paratha and Bathroom’appearing in the book ‘The Tulips and the Snowstorm’ in Part II)
The book has been reviewed by Ashok Ogra , well known writer and media personality . Here is his review:-

Review published in Sunday edition of The Daily Excelsior dated 30-01-2022

The book is available on Amazon worldwide.
Link for Canada
link for UK
link for Australia
Link for Italy….
Link For France
Link for India
Pan India agent and stockist for instant phone delivery ( with discount ) to any corner of the country ..
Rohit Pandita ...Mobile..9596976373... Just call him 10 am to 10 pm IST



     ( Well known poet Farooq Nazki  holding the book )

The book is  available on Amazon( India ) . For immediate purchase on special discount price of Rs340/= , just call ROHIT PANDITA ( my agent ) on his moblie 09596976373 for express and assured delivery of an autographed copy  within 3 days through DTDC courier . Pay by Google pay , NEFT , fund Transfer or PayTm.

Happy Reading ....

( Avtar Mota )


 Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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