It has been difficult to write about Kashmir. I barely manged to get out before the floods. What I saw on the roads left me shaken. And yet Gulmarg on a rainy day was beautiful. The water has receded and the state will now face different set of problems. One of it would be mass cancellation of vacation bookings. I have faced a somewhat similar situation in Uttarakhand, but I was going visiting after the floods. I am of the view that as soon as a place is ready to support tourism, it would be a good deed to visit it rather than canceling the trip! Now that the worst of the floods in Srinagar are behind us, I am going to write about Gulmarg without guilt. Before I do that, let me put another record straight, as a rule I am not a big fan of rains.
I understand the necessity of the rains in the eco-system otherwise I would have tried to banish them. All they lead to is water logging and traffic jams and make my life miserable. For me rains on a normal day mean only traffic jams. I like them somewhat over the weekends though, when I don’t have to commute. I like rains after the scorching summers of Delhi/NCR. But that is it, any other time I don’t like them, on a balance I don’t like them. And in Gulmarg all we got was rains!
After being cooped inside for a day at The Khyber, we decided to venture out in the rains. Being cooped inside The Khyber was not such a bad idea because of the spa and the heated swimming pool but none the less, it was still being cooped inside which is never too good a thing. When we got got, I agree the greens were extra green in the rains but then the sky was also extra grey which ruins all the pictures.
It was fun trying to hold an umbrella and click pictures. After all, neither the cell phone, nor my precious, my SLR, like water! And even though every flower was drenched with water, I am not too good with macro photography! So instead of looking beautiful, it felt if as they were mocking me!
However, there was one advantage of being out in rains, other than our group there was no one out there, we had almost the whole city to us. Otherwise, I can imagine the same scene full of people with half of them taking a selfie, sitting on that bench!
Given a choice will I take Gulmarg with rains or without rains? I would any day choose it without rains! Without the rains I could see the mountains which were just not visible otherwise. Without them I could easily take a walk. And without the excessive rains there would have been no flood.