Spring selfies make Kashmir Valley's almond clove a big hit | india | Hindustan Times
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Spring selfies make Kashmir Valley's almond clove a big hit

india Updated: Mar 24, 2015 20:29 IST
Peerzada Ashiq


Clicking spring selfies have added a new dash to the Valley's season this year. An unprecedented number of people flock to Srinagar's 14th-century Badam Waer (Almond clove) for that display picture click against the backdrop of colourful almond blossoming.

"People of Kashmir have gone through gruelling experience of floods, then polls under stringent security arrangements followed by cloudy winters. It's time to celebrate after a long time and what better than Badam Waer," says Rayees Qureshi, a banker.

The trouble-torn Kashmir witnessed a harrowing experience during devastating floods in autumn in September last year and then a very harsh spell of winter.

Finally, the colourful spring has provided a reason to celebrate. Of course, clicking selfie has added a new dimension to these celebrations.

Spread over 300 kanals of land, Badam Waer, at the centre of local folklore, is a surreal experience these days. From white to violet to purple to yellow, the changing colours of blooming almonds have thousands of visitors flocking the garden.

Almond trees are first to bloom in the Valley, followed by tulips, unleashing a colour riot to the happiness of locals and visitors.

"From just few dozens of visitors in the first week of March, we have suddenly thousands of bloom watchers coming with families and friends on weekends," said Majeed Ahmad, one of the caretakers of the garden.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are splashed by selfies and group photos against the colourful backdrop of the garden. Spring selfie, as the netizens call it, has people competing for the best clicks.

"I went early morning to click pictures under the good light. I hope to see hundreds of likes on Facebook for the picture. My friends are also joining the competition," said Amjad Riaz, a college student.

The garden, which saw a significant chunk been taken over by encroachers during the Dogra rule, once hosted hundreds of people across the Valley with samovars (copper kettle) and food in March of 1958 during the Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad's rule. Former chief minister Omar Abdullah would also take his family along for the bloom watching in the garden, again thrown open in 2008.

Dr Arshad Hussain, a leading psychiatrist of Valley and assistant professor at the Government Psychiatric Diseases Hospital, sees a pattern in people's celebrations.

"Over centuries, it's seen people live with cave mindset in winters. Dark clouds do play a role in setting a gloomy atmosphere. People tend not to venture out much. This sudden bright light puts different glasses on people's minds and infuses hormonal and behavioural changes. Spring generally brings people out of their homes to start afresh," said Dr Hussain.

On selfie syndrome, Dr Hussain says it a human vent to "being acknowledged and seen beautiful".

"Man from times immemorial has been exhibitionist. He knows what to wear at home, at parties and other occasions. Selfies have provided a chance to flaunt that exhibitionistic character on a much larger scale," added Dr Hussain. "It will definitely help people to feel better and happy."