How Kashmir makes peace with freezing cold

Winters in Kashmir are harsh and long. Photo: Reuters

When a nationwide lockdown during the Covid pandemic sent people scrambling for essential supplies, complaining of anxieties resulting from the compulsion to stay indoors, Kashmiris on Twitter joked, “Yi kus baed kath che. Aes che ath hael (What’s the big deal? We are used to it).”

Not only the political turmoil, prolonged protest shutdowns and curfews—imposed as the first go-to option both in anticipation of violence and after violence breaks out—the weather too has taught Kashmiris resilience. Winter in the Valley is long, harsh and bone-chilling. While the weather is ideal for tourists who reach in hordes to experience the chill, imagine living in freezing temperatures with an erratic power supply due to increased demand and obstructed water flow due to frozen pipes through a long long winter.

How do people make their peace with the chill and what do they do to keep themselves warm? What constitutes an ordinary Kashmiri’s battle gear to take on the long, harsh winter?

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