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Bathing away blues in the Dal Lake

An overcast day. It was blue everywhere. I was feeling some too. What could I do?

I had reached Kashmir the previous evening en route my motorbike run to Leh and Ladakh. An out-of-turn shower had ensured that it was not only the engine that shuddered – my entire body was shaking from icy gales that tore down at a merciless angle. Checking into a houseboat on the Dal Lake, today and tomorrow was to clean sparks, check cables and change oil. And scrub myself.

Before the blues get you...jump in

The early morning muezzin call to prayer wafting down the gently rippling lake nudged me awake. Though a bit weary, I was glad because I wanted to see the first shikara out on the Dal. Something in a cheap ‘hey, I saw it first’ kind of way. Armed with my trusty EFS-mount, I settled down on the quay that led out from my boat. Since it was among the farthest side of the lake, I could also see most of the lake’s shoreline with houseboats bobbing in yawning disarray. My co-revellers and riders were still sleeping it off, coffee would take time and so would the first shikara. Prompted by Ahmed, the friendly boat boy, I doffed my leathers and woollens and lowered myself into the reflecting blue of the water. The water, one layer below, was surprisingly warm. Or maybe I had put my body into a metabolic overdrive. Nevertheless I splashed around for a bit till I imagined looks of disdain directed at towards me from honeymooners who were supposed to be having all the fun.

Clambering back on the peeling-blue wooden platform, I felt alive and invigorated; the blues were washed away, left where it belonged – in the water. Just as Ahmed appeared with a dry towel and steaming coffee a shikara indeed appeared in the horizon. This was just one Alive is Awesome experience I had in paradise on earth!

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