National Geographic : 1948 Apr
With Soulful Eyes a Nomad Regards Her White Buffalo Calf Gujar tribesmen and their buffaloes are lifelong partners in the Kashmir milk business. When spring melts the Himalayan snows, off they go together to the heights, where the Gujars live in crude temporary homes like Indian wigwams. A buffalo cow calves at four to five years and yields milk the next eight months. From it the Gujars make butter, which is converted into ghee, the clarified butter oil of India. In the Liddar Valley, where the photographer encountered this pair, he sampled buffalo "cottage cheese" (page 549). there was a trace of a smile and I nerved my self to ask, in sign language, if I might make a picture. She nodded consent, but as I peered through the finder I saw that she was gone. Look ing up, I saw my picture rapidly departing. A stern-looking Moslem man had appeared from nowhere and was physically propelling her away. Never more appropriate seemed Laurence Hope's Kashmiri Song, with its sad note of frustration: Pale hands I loved, beside the Shalimar, Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell? Whom do you lead on Rapture's roadway, far, Before you agonise them in farewell? Pale hands, pink-tipped, like lotus buds that float On those cool waters where we used to dwell, I would have rather felt you round my throat, Crushing out life, than waving me farewell! * But since a photographer's frustration is hardly comparable to that of a lover, I did not pursue the matter further, preferring not to have any hands, pale or otherwise, "round my throat, crushing out life." Hitchhikers, Even in Kashmir Bountiful crops as well as ornamental trees and flowers grow on the well-watered slopes between the mountains and the lake. One day, as I was passing the Shalimar Bagh by car, four men and a woman stopped me. Moslem farmer folk, they were trying to hitchhike to the city to sell several bags of walnuts they had grown. Kashmiri walnuts are superb and are exported widely. When I offered to buy them, the dele gation promptly sold me the whole load for * From Complete Love Lyrics, by Laurence Hope. Copyright, 1902, 1909, by Dodd, Mead & Company. Reprinted by permission.