Photographs by Eiliyah Anees.

Hair and make-up by Eiliyah Anees.

It might sound like a cliche, but, like so many others, even I feel that if heaven actually exists, it should be like Kashmir. For those of you who have been there, you might have your opinion on it, but, for those of you who have not gone there, you might think that it is pretty but might not understand why people keep talking endlessly about it’s beauty.

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Well, all I would say is that it is an indescribable experience. Kashmir is not just scenic, the whole experience of the alluring Kashmir begins with the first breath you take and the way that breath makes you feel. Kashmir is magnificent because it makes you feel magnificent. It all began as soon as the plane landed…

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Little did I know that as soon as I would inhale my first breath after stepping out of the plane, serendipity would happen. It was love at first sight, not just physical attraction, but, the whole mind, body and soul sort of love, the true kind. When the air spread in my body, I felt cleansed and realised the tolls I make my body go through because of an urban city life.

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When I went past the airport, deeper into Srinagar, I kept falling in love again and again and again…with everything. The mountains that could be seen, the air, the people, the way the houses were built, all of it hypnotised me. Until I saw the consequences of the recent floods and how they have destroyed the city, but, as they say, even the moon is scarred. Even though this paradise has temporarily become more like Paradise Lost in certain areas in the city, the spirit of my people (yes, my people, we are all one) is commendable, and before we know it, everything will be the way it is supposed to be…in fact, even better!

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But, when I took a road trip to Pahalgam (where all the pictures have been taken), I realised that I had spoken too soon. When I reached the place, the air was fresher (something I couldn’t imagine was possible), the grass greener and the water ice cold. There was no other person in sight, no human sound, nothing. Just the sound of nature, the wind, the gushing river.

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My friend had told me that water has an enchanting power, if you stare at flowing water for too long, you are drawn to it. She was right, I kept getting drawn to it, so much that I felt one with nature. I felt small sitting on a mighty mountain with forests around me that could swallow me whole and not even burp. That feeling, strangely, was satisfying and encouraging. It made me happy.

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Also, since I was in the heart of Kashmir, it was only natural for me to choose a beautiful turquoise Kashmiri woollen shawl. I built my outfit around it, a basic black top with high-waisted indigo denims. I went for a dainty little black and gold heart pendant, something that only the ones close to you can notice, it adds secrecy. I stuck to flats instead of heels because MOUNTAINS, therefore, I went for espadrilles.

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I kept my look very basic amidst nature, because frankly, I was just wearing clothes because it is a social norm.

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It is not over yet, stay tuned for next week when I’ll be talking about another basic look that I wore for my night out at the Grand Palace and how I took a bit of Kashmir back home.

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