by Burhan Qureshi
My mother comes from a sleepy village in north Kashmir. It is, indeed, picturesque. At times when she sits me down and tells me the stories of her childhood, she takes me into a dreamland. Her house there is on a hillock, a gushing clear stream runs at its foothills. There are vast fields on either side of the road. She tells me of the orchard where the finest apples grow, of the walnut trees in her garden that she used to climb (in fact, she taught me how to eat the raw, green colored walnuts, which if you know the trick, taste even better). And when she tells me that she used to swim in that stream, my heart skips a beat. I fall in love with her all over again.