Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sufi Saints Photo Workshop | Srinagar Two

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
It's with considerable regret that our group is about to leave Srinagar and its wonderful people today. I (and I speak for all the group) had a memorable experience interacting with people of all walks of life during our walk-abouts the streets and alleys of the city, during our visits to the innumerable shrines and mosques, and with about everyone who dealt with us...from the shikara boatsmen to the flower vendors (who were a little too persistent but did it with grace and humor).

There's no question that our main houseboat "Sukoon" was a 5-star experience, and we were glad to be in the hands of Aftab and his team who catered to our every whim. We enjoyed the very able assistance of Nizar Malik; who knew Sufism and Islam inside out, and who offered his personal perspective of these ways of life and faith...particularly as these relate to Kashmir.

As I write this, and as we have a few hours before our flight to Delhi, the workshop participants are putting together their inaugural multimedia slideshows. I asked for these to be simple and quick...and the exercise will test their storytelling talents, and ability to weave together a project under time pressure.

I had the good fortune to have met Aziz Ahmed, a unani (traditional medicine) practitioner, who introduced me to his dying craft. Most of his sales are now in rose water used in rituals at the nearby Shaikh Hamdan mosque. Notwithstanding, his small dingy shop has been standing for no less than 3 or 4 generations, and still has a wonderful array of antique bottles and jars; some glass others in ceramic, imported for England during the Raj.

I was also immensely pleased to reconnect with Yasin Dar, the photojournalist with AP, with whom I reminisced about the Manali Foundry Photojournalism Workshop.