It is unbelievable when you manage to pack in so much in the span of a day. It is as if a whole lifetime gets encapsulated in a few hours. We had a wonderful time listening to popular songs at Nageen Club near Kashmir University. It was our dinner attraction. The interaction brought the entire team together.
The day started with a morning run in the hotel campus. The chirping birds, and the moist fresh air was extremely relaxing. In the afternoon I came to know that this beautiful Hari Nivaas Hotel was actually the dreaded Papa 2 during the time when militancy was at it's peak. If you've seen 'Haider' then you'd know that Papa 2 was a jail-cum-interrogation center where militants (or were they innocent Kashmiris?) underwent third degree treatment. Many died in the same premises. All this came to an end in the late 90s and then it was refurbished. Now no one can believe that the plush walls were once witness to torture and cries.
It was wonderful interviewing Jackky Bhagnani in the woods, then we did a walk the talk segment near the Dal Lake, followed by a short segment on a Shikara as it lazed around in the Dal Lake. At the press conference in the Hari Nivas Hotel, Kashmiri journalists raised a pertinent question about an absolute lack of functioning cinema halls in Kashmir.
We went for a brief city tour in the afternoon which included a Shikara road in the Jhelum river. Houseboats dotted the sidelines of the river. There's an uncanny silence in the city for the tourists are few and far in between. I did a walk the talk interview with Jackky and Lauren in the busy market of Srinagar with gun wielding security guards from the Army following us. It was fun. Later we did another segment of my interview with Jackky and Lauren at the beatific Nishat Bagh. A vast stretch of Dal Lake stayed with us through the journey. It was extremely peaceful and calming.
In the evening I did a down the memory lane interview with Vashu Bhagnani ji. It is always a pleasure interacting with this smiling gentleman. We share mutual respect and he is very special for me. A well spent day but a day which was hugely enriching, spiritually and personally.