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Where have all the harisa gone?

I didn’t know whether to cry or scream when we reached downtown and found out 'undeclared curfew' had been imposed, again. No harisa for breakfast i've been craving for, writes Mona Arthur.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2009 22:01 IST
Mona Arthur
Mona Arthur
Hindustan Times

Last night we made plans to go to Srinagar’s old city to have harisa for breakfast. Harisa is a Kashmiri dish which consists meat paste and rice mixed with spices. It’s served only for breakfast and only in winter.

Sunday was a long day. We travelled northwest to Shilvat, Sumbal, onwards till Wullar. I was tired when we got back, so even though the harisa plan was mine, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. And I’m not a morning person.

So when Hashim came and woke me up, it took a lot of effort to convince myself to get ready. (If you don’t get there early, there won’t be much, or anything, left). Eventually my love for harisa won the battle.

I was grumpy and sulky in the car. Sanjeevji and Hashim were being humans, singing and laughing – on a cold winter morning!

I didn’t know whether to cry or scream when we reached downtown and found out undeclared curfew had been imposed, again. No harisa.

Hashim tried another route, but there was a barricade and CRPF personnel were diverting traffic, allowing only a few to enter after checking IDs. We tried the old trick; Sanjeevji showed his press card. It worked against us this time. As soon as he read press, the jawan said, definitely not, no entry for press. “Iske liye humein pareshan mat kijiye please (Please don’t trouble us),” he said and turned away.

So here we are, back at the guesthouse, having a civilised breakfast of toast and tea and watching General Musharraf on TV. I’m writing my blog, all the time dreading Neelesh’s phone call, asking if I’ve filed my story, which I promised I’d send today (and I will, Neelesh, I’m just more terrified of Nitasha and her calls).

What a way to begin my special day. Oh, did I forget to mention, it’s my birthday.