8 September 2016
Mother and Father have come from Jammu to celebrate Vinayak Chorum, known as Pann among the Pandits of Kashmir. On this auspicious day, roth (sweet bread) is made and an age-old story is told. The day marks the end of deprivation and the beginning of prosperity. Mother cleans the kitchen, washes the utensils, kneads the dough and makes roth. Then, in accordance with the ritual, she does what all Pandit women do. She assembles us in front of a vessel containing the roth and recounts a story that has been narrated for generations: Once upon a time in a village in Kashmir lived a woman, her husband and their daughter. They made a living by working in the households of the rich. One day, while working in a house, the girl sees the women making roth. She has never seen such a beautiful sight. When she returns home, she narrates the incident to her parents. Her mother tells her about their past. Once we had everything, says her mother. We celebrated Pann, too. Then, our fortunes changed and...