The howling started suddenly. That was the evening of 19thMarch. The light bulbs zipped and were out. As is the norm. Electricity is the first martyr of any weather change in Kashmir.
As at that time it didn’t seem that serious, I hoped the electricity would be restored by 11am next morning. But morning was a long way off. It was the night that was exciting. And since I spent most of it awake, I can tell you something about it.
The wind hadn’t risen till late in the evening. After that it was all about the wind, and nothing else. In our beds we heard the leaves rustle violently in giant gusts of wind. The branches creak and crack. The unsettled birds chirping in displeasure. The gravel being rubbed against the window panes.
The bucket being banged against the walls.
Next morning wore the look of a violated village. Leaves, twigs and tree branches lay strewn all over. A newspaper had flown in from somewhere. A polythene bag was hanging. A piece of cloth.
By afternoon, someone who had predicted that the wind will stop by 1pm of that day was being told that the wind kept no clocks. The people kept away from the streets. The wind hadn’t died down. People were afraid of falling objects, tree branches and roofs.
The electricity hadn’t still been restored. The wind was still howling. A tree collapsed in the neighbourhood. It must have made a creaking sound when it fell, but of course, no one heard. The wind wouldn’t let us. Nothing rose over the gale. People were already worrying about this newly born qahar.
By evening of next day (March 20th
), the wind had reduced in its intensity. But there was no electricity, and with it getting darker no hope of it either. The wind reminded of the snow
. Only that this time the Highway was open and we weren’t wrapped up in blankets.
In some other parts of Kashmir the wind blew down houses. It uprooted trees, and created a blank. Those who saw the structures being torn down will tell you that’s what winds do. The blow things out of order. Some people will now be mending their walls. Re-constructing their little forts, their seats of assumed power, to keep any future winds out. But that won’t happen. Nothing stops a pack of cards from crumbling, except, of course, Time. Even the powerful take some time to realise their power.