Talk of Jammu and Kashmir and every man on the street will have an opinion. So tarred it is with the scepter of terrorism that it is pushed solely into the realm of argumentative debates for most of India.
Not many would have had a chance to pick it up from the table of scrutiny, dust off the surrounding rhetoric and actually look at how life goes on there.
After spending time interacting with people from all over Leh, a couple of my friends and I took time off to make our way around Jammu and Srinagar.
And what did we find?
Life goes on as in the rest of India. People try to carry on with their lives getting over the scars of violence that mar the beauty of the valley. The overriding sentiment is not one of antagonism, but a hope that the current truce, though uneasy, lasts and they can go on making their living. And rather unfortunately, Himesh Reshmaiya rules the charts in this state as in others.
Personally, it has been an interesting voyage for me. A thin mist of spirituality seems to hover over my visits to the valley, be it Leh, Jammu or Srinagar.
I gave up pure faith in my late teens. Rather, it would be more appropriate to say that it was taken from me. Reason started gnawing at beliefs that faith had handed down. Though agnosticism has not fully taken over, faith has become something that I admire and respect, but not something I share.
I do not know whether it is mere chance, or a more romantic divine providence, but I least expected to visit and learn about three major spiritual places in just four days time.
The story starts with a visit to Pangong lake along the Indo-China border.