It was 5 AM in the morning in Srinagar. Drizzling outside , it was still dark , Ishfaaq was at the door waiting for me to open it. I forced myself out of bed and went to the door.
“Hot water is ready Saheb!” Said Ishfaaq . Yes in 10 degrees of cold weather in Srinagar i was supposed to take a bath. I had no choice otherwise i would stink for the rest of my day. It was a plan to leave by 7 AM towards Gulmarg the most beautiful place in kashmir which we were about to visit. by 05:30 AM i was ready , so was my bag. I forced myself on the breakfast table . Of course you would not expect a person to be hungry on a breakfast table at 6 AM in the morning. I did not a complete 8 hour sleep so was feeling a bit tired. But the excitement of me going to Gulmarg kept me alive.
While having breakfast , i asked Ishfaaq to pack some for me , so i can fill my tummy once if i feel hungry . Ok it was now time to leave. Heavy vehicles are supposed to leave Srinagar by 07:15 AM in the morning. So we made it a point that we have our vehicle ready by 06:30 AM so we are out of srinagar by 07:15. Though i was refreshed i did not realize when i fell asleep inside the bus. And when i woke up, i was out of Srinagar and my eyes went to a beautiful which we were passing by .
We were approaching Tangmarg in 2 hours time and from there i was supposed to pick up my fur coat and gum boots. Now you guys would be already knowing all this would be required. I was enjoying the hot sip of kahwa after i collected my fur coat. I was supposed to go to the nearest cable car station from where we were supposed to go the the phase 2 of peak point 15000 feet , and i am not joking i was about to reach 14500 feet above sea level on a peak , from where the line of control (the Pakistan occupied Kashmir was not too far) . And within an hour we were at the cable car station . The cable car station had a big queue of people ready to board the cable car. In Gulmarg its called ‘The Gondola’. I boarded the Gondola and was set to reach the phase 2 in 15 minutes .
I am not kidding the peak point i am mentioning was just 20 mins away from the cable car station and i am not surprised . The cable car station itself was at 8000 feet above sealevel. So reaching 15000 was like a piece of cake. So within no time i was approaching the beautiful valley in Gulmarg Kashmir. It was freezing cold as i walked out of Gondala. I bet if i would have not had my leather gloves i would have died. I was barely able to walk on the snow. I some how managed to stabilize myself.
My ear muscles went numb. I was not feeling them at all. While on the other end on the valley i was able to see people doing ice skeeing and ride on the sledge. And suddenly i was approached by a local man in the valley.
“Would you like to see the LOC (Line of Control) Pakistan border”
I was very curious at that moment. But i had stories of people getting robbed and killed in the valley. So i did not take the risk . I asked my Sister who was with me to take a picture of mine as souvenir from the valley in Gulmarg.
Here i am at peak point 15000 ft above sea level . Well don’t know if i was really , but i did feel i was on top of the world.
Shwetal – An Avid writer.