Unwoven Dreams: A Conversation with a Pashmina Salesman — Audio Interview by Anushka Sharma and Text by Vipassana Wahib Gautam

Jan 1, 2020

A young Indian woman, Anushka Sharma, under the guidance of her friend, Bhargavi Deshpande, decides upon chance to interview a Pashmina salesman, Sohail, who has traveled to Indore (Madhya Pradesh) all the way from Srinagar for a handloom exhibition. The conversation that unfolds is then contextualized by their other friend, 17-year-old Vipassana Wahib Gautam who has produced the text and provided the audio featured in the Acquaintance (opinions and interviews) section at Inverse Journal.

Unwoven Dreams: A Conversation with a Pashmina Salesman

by Anushka Sharma (Audio Interview) and Vipassana Wahib Gautam (Text)

As Kashmir enters 150th day of complete lockdown and cries for help are subsequently crushed, a 26 year old man, Sohail, comes down to Indore, Madhya Pradesh from Srinagar for a handloom exhibition to sell Pashmina and Kashmiri embroidery.
 
Here is a small attempt by our friend Anushka to see Kashmir through Sohail's eyes. At a time when news is nothing but rotten paper and corpses lay down in valley like grass, every voice from Kashmir is as significant as the sun is to life. Every narrative, every story, every life is as precious as the other.
 

I remember when Sohail told our interviewer (Anuskha) how he was pleased to talk to her as 'they do not meet many people like her'. What is so amusing in this occurrence? It is that we've failed to listen, we've failed to recognize our friends and brothers, we've failed to look around us, to sit and talk, to pay attention, to empathize and to understand someone's story, their perspective, their grief and aspirations. Our failure is not with our intellectual understanding of the situation and the cause, our failure lies in the ignorance to even make such an attempt.

 

"chār-sū hai baḌī vahshat kā samāñ
kisī aaseb kā saaya hai yahāñ
koī āvāz sī hai marsiyāñ-ḳhvāñ
shahr kā shahr banā goristāñ"

- Fahmida Riaz

 

(There's fear and frenzy in all directions
for some evil spirit seems to linger upon us
And only lament singers can be heard here
all these cities which have turned cemetery)
 

You can choose to be a bigot, choose to not believe news reports, international declarations, local leaders, intellectuals and experts. You can choose to deny everything. But you will know the truth when you're with them, you'll know it in your bones and you will be left with no other option than to trust your own nerves.

But Kashmir will survive you just like it has survived thousand nights of despair.

 

And if there's one word that we ride to sail through the dark times, it is "Azaadi".

All views, perspectives and opinions in the Acquaintance section belong to the author(s).

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About the Contributor

Vipassana Wahib Gautam, a 17 year old arts student currently in Indore writes poetry and school exam papers. Though not thoroughly experienced in the field of activism or journalism or any thing for that matter, she is enthusiastic about reading, listening and learning as much as possible in order to continuously develop an intellectual understanding of the times we live in and the problems we face. Vipassana is passionate about people, politics, academic pursuits and mother earth.

Knowledge is like Teher.
A handful of cooked rice
a humble offering
to ward off the grief
from an entire century.
Whosoever receives Teher
does so with blessings
and well wishes.
Today the T in Teher
is the T in Taaleem
just as the K in Kashmir
is the K in your name.
From Teōtīhuacān to Tral
we make a humble offering.

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