Everyday humour can be comforting, helping us to deal with tricky situations in a better way. Some times all it takes is a small joke to lighten up a scene. Often it comes in an unexpected moment, from an unfamiliar source. I had one such moment in Gulmarg, Kashmir.
Gulmarg was the first place we (my companion, a co-camera-enthusiast, Christine and I) visited in Kashmir after arriving in Srinagar a day earlier. Gulmarg’s breathtaking beauty, crowds of tourists and, pony owners and guides marketing their services relentlessly were overwhelming for me.
Cable car or gondola ride is a popular thing-to-do in Gulmarg. We walked to the gondola station from the car parking (hired cars are not allowed to take their passengers till that point) , photographing and turning down innumerable requests from pony-walas to go on a pony ride. The gondola station was packed with people and appeared disorganised. Soon a guide started asking me to employ him to buy gondola tickets and accompany us to the gondola destinations. After resisting for some time, finally I agreed. While he went to buy the tickets from an even more chaotic agents’ counter, dark clouds gathered and it started raining. By this time, both of us had lost enthusiasm to visit higher altitudes in a gondola and were kind of exhausted of the stream of people around us. I found the guide and asked him to not to buy the tickets. We waited for him to bring back our money from the counter under a shed with many other people.
A tourist (who was under the shed) asked his guide (who was standing out in the rain) whether it snows in this season.
The guide said ‘yes!’ with an almost imperceptive faint smile. It was apparent he was messing with the tourist. It doesn’t snow in June.
The tourist: ‘what happens when tourists are up there and it starts raining?’
A police constable who was standing on a higher step behind me said nonchalantly: ‘we leave them there!’
I couldn’t help but smile and turned back to see who spoke. The constable smiled back and said ‘every day we get questions like these, so we give such kinds of answers. I spend the whole day just answering questions!’
The constable chatted with me until our guide came back with the money and we called our car driver to pick us up. With that one comment, the situation had lightened up and Gulmarg seemed even more beautiful to me!
Text and Photo: Sanchita Chatterjee 2015
Also appears in https://www.gohimalayan.com/blogs/post/small-humour/