Monday, January 23, 2012

weather forecast dominates life in Kashmir

Not any political development, but the weather forecast is dominating the life of valleyites this winter.

For the three consecutive summers of 2008, 2009 and 2010 which saw mass protests in the valley, protest calendars dictated the life of people. The calendars would announce the days for observance of strikes, protest and normal working days. People would plan their work, visit to relatives or shopping according to the calendar. The days of strikes, listed in the calendar, would mean no work or business while normal days were abuzz with activities of life. On normal days people would finish all their important works besides stocking their kitchens with essential items.

Protest calendars hogged the media headlines for months together. People would wait curiously for the issuance of calendar so that they could plan their activities.

Even as the summer of 2011 passed calmly without calendars, it is the weather forecast which is dictates the life in Kashmir now. Since the onset of chillai kalaan which is believed to be the coldest part of winter, people have been strictly following the weather forecast on newspapers, television channels and internet.

The interest in weather forecast grew with the recent snowfall experienced in the valley on January 4. The severe cold conditions and heavy snowfall restricted people within their house hold for days. The snapped electricity, communication, dearth of essential commodities and shortage of water resulting for severe cold conditions added misery to peoples’ lives. People are punctually following the weather forecast before planning their travel or other important activities. Weather forecast has become lead news in media.

“It is a strange scenario in Kashmir. During summers, we have to plan life as per protest calendar and now in winter we have to follow weather forecast,” said Mohammad Latief, a shopkeeper

Latief has been regularly following the weather forecast to keep himself update about the forthcoming ‘problems’.

“Snowfall comes with huge problems here. So we have to stay informed,” he adds.

As winter has yet to end, people are strictly following the weather forecast. The status of Jammu Srinagar national high way is of equal interest to people.

“I ensure to check weather forecast everyday. If there is a forecast for snow, I keep stock of essentials so that we do not face any problem,” says Nayeem Ahmad, a businessman.

“When we are pre-informed about snowfall, we are able to prepare for problems,” adds Nayeem.

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