Journeying through Kashmir…

The Secret Garden of N Teaser
Photo by Franky Ng on Unsplash

Anything you already know is an understatement

The sheer thrill and joy you experience, following a particularly challenging set of examinations is unparalleled. My euphoria knew no bounds when my father announced a family trip to Kashmir after my 12th-grade examinations in 2014. I couldn’t imagine a happier end to an otherwise frustrating chain of events!

We boarded the flight to Srinagar, giddy with excitement. As the plane neared the state capital, the snow-capped peaks made for a stunning, breathtaking view. I remember forgetting the worries of work undone and impending results. There was something in the enormity of its beauty that made your woes pale in significance. We deplaned to the biting icy wind of Kashmir, cheeks already crimson.

The next few days were spent in shameless awe of the beautiful gardens and structures of Chashme Shahi, Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh. The weather was perfect, a light drizzle setting just the right tone. As far as the mammoth Dal Lake is concerned, it continued to render me speechless as I marveled at the gigantic body of water, alive with shikaras, light flat bottomed boats peculiar to the region. At night, when the shikaras were lit up, the twinkling lights would have my complete admiration. I would sometimes shake my head and wonder if we were in India at all!

We also planned an excursion to Pahalgam. Unlike Gulmarg, which had become a huge tourist trap, Pahalgam was a real delight. Fresh, unadulterated snow, several inches deep lined the town. As someone who has spent her life in the plains, my childhood fantasy of building snowmen was soon realized. A snow fight ensued and I am happy to share I emerged victorious. Next, we gorged on goshtaba, minced meatballs prepared with curd, and mutton rogan josh, a delicate preparation of the most exquisite meat.

This was my first encounter with the excruciatingly cold environs of Kashmir. I experienced life in the chilly valleys of this beautiful place. Contrasted with the relatively monotonous weather patterns of my home in Northern India, I was transported to a wonderland where kids would enjoy a winter vacation of close to three months and find the normalcy of life in the omnipresent biting chill. I developed a newfound appreciation for the harsh winters and began to understand that the realities of my life can be drastically different from those of others in the world. I have always attributed my ability to respect and cherish other cultures to this early exposure to worlds beyond my own.

I remember meeting young students who were my own age but leading such drastically different lives. There were many snow-based after school activities and tighter curfews to follow. From their food to their daily routines, everything was so different from what I have seen all my life. For the few days I was there, I did get a chance to interact with my contemporaries and share their lives. I braved the snow to walk a friend to school, devoured the heavy meat preparations she usually ate, built a post school de-stressing snowman with her and rushed back a while before the dark to return to the warmth of her happy home. While her daily life may not be like mine, I also saw that she was grappling with similar challenges namely school, extracurricular activities, family life, etc. We may lead different lives, but teenagers everywhere were the same! I began to appreciate that despite apparent differences, we were all people striving to be our best selves, at the end of each day. This understanding further engendered a spirit of oneness with the diverse cultures and ethnicities that surrounded me in Singapore.



Hi, I’m Sabhya. I grew up in Lucknow, India. After a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Lady Shri College of Women at the University of Delhi, I moved to Singapore in 2018 for my yearlong post graduate studies. I graduated with a Master in Management from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School. Since young, I’ve been a prolific writer who has travelled extensively across India and has also been a public speaker since the fifth grade. As I navigate and transits through my new life in the little red dot – Singapore, I hope that I can regale you with my anecdotal tales.

The Secret Garden of N Teaser

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enriching Our World through Diversity and Inclusion

Today, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) have become the buzz words. On their own, words are just an assembly of different alphabets/characters, insignificant and meaningless unless they lead to awareness and actions. Applying the famous idea: “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with,” let’s expand it and explore our “world.” Here…
TCG - child airplane pretend

Advancing Humanity through Exploration

Inspired by J.C. Maxwell (1831-1879), who published the Theory of Electromagnetism, my final year undergraduate project at KCL was to design and fabricate a Microstrip Antenna for satellite communication. Today I still remain on the mailing list of a group of British IEE engineers living in France. Because of that, I got to watch NASA’s live broadcast…

Gaining from Cross-Cultural Experience

Regardless of the different colours of our hairs and eyes, or the different languages we speak, did you realize we all hold and bite into an apple the same way? My curiosity about myself being a human and what makes me a person resulted in watching several documentaries about our bodies and how our minds…
TCG 2021 January Kindness, virtues, connection

Kindness, Virtues, Connection

Raised with Eastern philosophical root, I always embrace duality (Ying and Yang) when examining life’s happenings. As Winston Churchill said when he worked with other world leaders to form the United Nations after WW II: ” Never let a good crisis go to waste!” How useful his insight can be for all of us, considering…
TCG pandemic

Pandemic, Divisions, Collision

What a chaotic year! 2020 has certainly shaken the world. Below is the list of my top three observations. Troubling, but there are reasons why these things happen, and there are valuable lessons for us. Three other words also came to my mind: KINDNESS, VIRTUES, and CONNECTION. I will be sharing more in 2021! Meanwhile, wishing you, your…

Meeting of the Minds – Building Cross-Cultural Friendship

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash Ting! said my WhatsApp. I glanced at my mobile and saw that a message had come in from my newly-formed local foreign ladies group. It was just after the lunch hour on a Wednesday and I was curious who had posted a message. I clicked on the group to open the message.…
TCG Newsletter 2020 Nov survival of the friendliest

Survival of the Friendliest: The New Evolutionary Theory

“Survival of the Friendliest,” might that be a typo? Do you mean Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory, “Survival of the Fittest?” No, it was not a typo. I meant to share the new evolutionary theory based on the research of Dr. Brian Hare, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. This view will challenge the…