Friday, July 3, 2015

Recalling Dal Lake

Photo of the day by Maqsood Bhat, appearing here, March, 2014. The view is of a Lake Dal shoreline, near Srinagar in India-side Kashmir. My stay on a houseboat on Lake Dal was perhaps the capstone of my entire two years in Asia, in Bangladesh. This is the high country of India, in the upper northwest corner, nearby the disputed territories with Pakistan. The people are often drop dead gorgeous, with dark skin, red hair, and blue eyes.

Where we stayed, my mother and I, was at a moorage in an ancient garden, said to be planted by Alexander's men - that long ago. Lake Dal is located rightly that such an ancient beginning is possible but who can know the truth? The moorage was owned by E.M. Butt and Sons. I still remember. The guest book contained the signature, "George Harrison". The timing was correct for that to be true too. But how many George Harrisons were hanging out on Lake Dal?

I had a cold. My memory of the place is filled with nostalgia. The boat was filled with wood smoke. I recall being miserable, an upper respiratory distress, much of the time but in my memory the whole thing is luminous. That same journey I was in New Delhi and up at Agra where I saw Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal. To get to India from Bangladesh, you had to fly to Kathmandu in Nepal and then on to India. To get back to Bangladesh, the same. There were no direct flights due to diplomatic complexities. That is why I was in Kathmandu three times over my two year stay in Bangladesh.

Recalling Dal Lake,
Spring, 1969

This boat is too small
and fills with smoke before heat
and if I squint some
this could be some place
in western Washington State.
But George Harrison?
Really? I am in
the bed he slept in some months
past, me with swollen
things and misery
trying to make joy happen
in spite of Delhi
belly - what it's called.

July 3, 2015 1:58 PM

1 comment:

  1. Catching up on your last five or six posts. The two most recent, with those gorgeous images of the house and sky and water... and your beautiful words... simply a lovely experience. Thanks Christopher.


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