Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bilkul NRI question... no, not... Sealwaali Bisleri bottle kidher hai?

So I will be making my "once- every-two-years" pilgrimage to see family in India in Aug 09. I go there a lot more often now that I have kids. It is important to me that my children should have some connection to my culture. I want them to be comfortable with and connect with both thier "adha adha" backgrounds. I am hoping that travel and forming relationships with family in India will do something towards that goal. Perhaps they will have a sense of curiousity about the culture that they can fulfill in thier later independant years. Either way... I am getting on a plane with them in early Aug and going there for a month.

My American Sister in law and high school age niece will also join us on our adventure. We have travelled a lot together before and being with them is super easy and not stressful at all.

My question is... would you take a vacation in Kashmir in August with 2 little kids and some American relatives as companions? Is it safe, is it good weather, is it a good thing to do? Would you do it? And if you would do it, how would you do it? What would you see and where would you go?

I have never been to Kashmir before. I need suggestions and your input. I do not know the situation on the ground, given the political situation that is in flux.

The husband is quite uncomfortable with me taking the kids to Kashmir by myself. I need to convince both him and myself that it is ok. I also feel responsible for my sisterinlaw and niece when they are in India.

Do you dear reader have any ideas or input about a vacation in Kashmir in August?


The Comic Project said...

It's a great idea, pity that Kashmir has been in turmoil and losing out on so much revenue, and we are losing out on visiting it.

Kids is fine, but the American sister-in-law could make things a little complicated. I heard from an acquaintance about a year ago that there was too much security but they also got to go around in an uncrowded way. I don't know what kind of impression that would leave on a kid. What's the US travel advisory to that area btw?

My mom went there in '98 despite many warnings and she had a great time. But she's a big believer in "apne ko kuch nahi hoga" :-)

Weather etc. ka pata nahi. I have never been there, would love to.

Hey, thanks for dropping by. And for the comment + suggestion.

Are you on twitter etc.?

Rahul Viswanath said...

I have no clue about holidaying in Kashmir ......
I wud love to go for my HM though ;-)

Shud be interesting with US SIL n kids !! Have a gud one ...

ugich konitari said...


I know folks who went and had a wonderful time and came back, and I also know of friends of friends who suffered in a sudden militant attack on one of Srinagar's main boulevards by the lake.

Given the recent happenings and special attention paid to US/UK folks by the attackers , I would tend to avoid Kashmir, given the composition of your group, or even otherwise.

It might not be a bad idea to plan on a trip to the Ranthambore Wild life Sanctuary with the kids. Then if the situation etc has cleared in Kashmir, its probably a couple of hours flight from where you will be, should you decide to go.

I also know folks who had a great time on the Kerala backwaters trip, where you get to stay on a boat, (like in Kashmir), and travel around.

Its great that you are planning to come in a year with your children. I hope things work out well for you.

Braja said...

Hey Kiran...I wanted to answer your question on the other site about how does cow slaughter relate to the Taj? The point was that the loss of culture and sell out of traditions and values, and an increased interest and turning to western-influenced *everything* are the reasons that cow slaughter is on the increase in India, and they're the same reasons that groups like the one who attacked the Taj rant and rave. While all reasons for lamenting the loss of tradition and culture are valid ones, not all protests are, obviously. So you can pretend they're not related, but unfortunately they are. They're also related in terms of karma: does India think they're immune to karmic acts? That's what the author of "gappa" seems to promote when she demands "don't speak of the Taj" in relation to cow slaughter. Why not? Is there no reaction for the people of India to be suffered for the fate of their holy cows? I find that a little hard to believe. Either that or you believe in "random acts of violence," which have nothing to do with the function of the material energy. And I would find that deeply saddening to hea from an Indian: a person whose country has the deepest philosophical and spiritual background in the universe.

Anyway...that's all :)

Come and visit sometime... :)

Indian Home Maker said...

I am not sure about Kashmir specially with American relatives. I would avoid it, there are so many other gorgeous places they can see in India ... why take a chance like this?

May be I am being too cautious.

Love that little one cartwheeling .. I used to call my daughter Chammak Challo when she was young because of her love for gaudy trinkets ...

Here's wishing you and your family a very Happy and Prosperous New Year :)

Another Kiran In NYC said...

What places did your mother visit in Kashmir?
What is twitter?
Also how do I put in a hyperlink on my blog posts?
Is there a recommended website or something like a tutorial for me to learn to manage my blog?
I am a web ignoramus. I did not know what a blog was until just a few months ago! Its baby steps right now.

Honey Moon in Kashmir? That will be lovely I am sure! Is the big day happening soon?

You are right at the randomness of violence in the Kashmir valley. I have never been to Ranthambore either. Something to definately think about. Many years ago the husband and I did Kerala on a backpacking trip. But then we used to travel very rough. Sleeping at bus stations, cargo boats on backwaters etc. Never done it the way you describe, fancy house boat and all. I think my SIL could be persuaded! She did Rajasthan on her last trip. Kerala could be a nice change.

Welcome to my blog! Thanks for elaborating on your viewpoint. I respect your belief system as much as I do Ugich's view. However, for myself I cannot accept any act of violence towards me as part of my karma. I hope, we can agree to disagree on that but will find commonality on other things.
I have been looking through your blog and your photos of Mayapur are lovely. A friend lived there for a while and told something about life there. How do you manage work while living there? Can you do it all on the net and by mail? I will definately return often to your blog.

I hear you on the little girl love for trinkets! Mine loves them all... like a crow! Anything glittery and dangly catches her eye.

Perhaps I am being stubborn about Kashmir and need to rethink it. I think some of it is a concious refusal to allow circumstance and terror to change the way I live as a law abiding citizen. However, with children in tow I should be more careful. I guess I shall go back to my guidebooks and start the vacations search all over again.
Thanks for the all your input!

vikram said...

Randomness of violence can exist anywhere in India, and Kashmir is simply too gorgeous to be missed. Pretty much the best place in India. I have a Kashmiri friend whose dad is posted in Poonch and he himself was there in June, when there was no turbulence. From what I know from him, Kashmiri tourists centers are just fine with a lotta security. Statistics show that Kashmir is a lot safer now and the tourist infrastructure a lot better. If you want I can get back to him and help you chalk out something. At the risk of sticking my neck out pretty obviously, go for it. Atleast solid research karo.

vikram said...

I meant when there was turbulence in june. Sorry for the typo.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Your pal is lucky to have Kashmir as his home base! We should all be so lucky... the Kashmiri Pandits should be anyway.
Solid research on Kashmir will be done, along with other tourist destinations... just in case. Thanks for the info offer. I might just take you up on it.

The Comic Project said...

@AKNYC: Don't know where she went, it was 10 years ago. Will check if she recalls :)

In your blogger editor, type in whatever text you want, look for the chhota icon in the editor (where the formatting options are), click on it and paste the link you want to be associated with the text. Done.

Now if I got your question wrong, it is a terribly embarrassing situation for me :-)

I think there is an ebook called blogging for dummies or something, let me see if i have it and will share it with you. Email?

Twitter is a microblogging service, 140 characters per post. A great place to meet new people, and excellent exercise to write less and say more. Join it, follow some people, build a network, get followed by people, have conversations - some meaningful and some not. It is addictive, fun and actually useful.

Braja said...

Hey Kiran...thanks for stopping by :) I'm glad your daughter loved the cows...it's part of her culture :) Bring her over here, she'll have a ball.

My husband and I both work in publishing; he works for a company in Sweden (he's Danish and speaks Swedish also), and I work freelance, editing and writing. So it doesn't matter where we are, our work is online. That's why we chose to settle here...

Sure we can agree to disagree, I'm not trying to sell anything :) I just don't believe in "random" anything, that's all: so that means that karma is something we're meant to be accountable for, not put it down to someone else. And that doesn't leave room for condoning violence or "accepting" it...it's unforgivably cowardly to resort to violence...absolutely.

I admire your desire to instil your culture in your daughter; it's important.

Onthewingsofadream said...

Hey Kiran,

I am from jammu and kashmir ...from jammu ...but its been years that I have been to kashmir ..

weather will be ideal in August to visit kashmir..

kashmir is as safe nowdays as Mumbai /delhi /banaglore ... or u can say mumbai / delhi /banaglore are as unsafe ...

If u want to go , better take some indian relatives too and get reservations done before hand ... and dont stay for too long ...

I can ask my dad who frequently visit kashmir how safe it is and what things to avoid / to be careful about

have a good trip ...

Another Kiran In NYC said...

How is the calf doing? Daughter wanted to know.

Welcome to my blog! Are you the reader from Surrey?
Great tips about early reservations and stuff in Kashmir. I might take you up on your offer of info, if the decision ever gets made to go to Kashmir.

Braja said...

Calf is doing great...come over tomorrow, I'm having a naming competition for him! And another cow story on Monday. I know. I'm hopeless :)

Anonymous said...

I have a much easier time in India (even in Bombay) when I wear a salwar/churidar kameez (the whole thing, dupatta and all---NOT jeans and a kameez). It seems to make people hesitate about whether I am western or India more than they do if I wear western clothes (I don't look particularly Indian). Get her some outfits now and make her practice so that she's comfortable in them (it does make a difference). But go for it. I would go to Kashmir in a nano-second (want to take a second white girl?).

Anonymous said...

Hello Kiran,

Happy 2009! Hope you had an excellent Christmas too.

Pilgrimage to India sounds great and it always is. Cannot be any other way, can it? Will be great for the kids as well.

I have never visited Kashmir myself and would love to. But sadly, and in answer to your question, I do echo the views of Comic Project,Ugich Konitari and your husband here. I would think hundred times before taking my British husband and in laws to Kashmir and I would suggest you do the same. I want to ask you, why Kashmir? Why not somewhere else?

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Great idea about the dressing the part bit!

Why the insistance on Kashmir? Hmmmm... good question that.
Somewhere in my head, I want to see it before it becomes another country. Traitorous thought? Perhaps... but I think its bleeding us dry. Sometimes you have to cut the cancer out. But that solution will not please anyone I know.

Maya said...

i guess kashmir will be ok, but there are many other things in india. my suggestion would include. kerala, rajasthan, karnataka and tamilnadu.