Almost three decades back ,before 1990 Kashmir was free of insurgency . There were no check posts,no encounters, and nothing like the newer idea of freedom. People of Kashmir considered themselves free. They wanted to be,free to move,free to attend late marriages and free to roam anywhere.
Those days ,Kashmir tourism was at its peak. People from far and distant places visited Kashmir. People throughout Kashmir earned their livelihood from tourism. A few months of the year were totally devoted to tourism. People were happy obtaining their livelihood from their source. Be it Shikara Walas ,horse owners,house boat owners,hotel owners or any handicrafts businessman ,everyone was happy with the small amount of money . They used to earn from this season limited source.
There were a number of Places in Kashmir which were famous all around the world. People visited Kashmir for Places like PAHALGAM, SONAMARG,GULMARG and the rest.
Situated on a southern edge of Kashmir was a place called MARGEN TOP. It was not very famous among tourists and only a small number of tourists visited this place every year.
In the adjacent village of Margon top there lived a woman with her lone son. The woman was a widow who had lost her husband in an avalanche which had hit this place almost two decades back.
They had a small shabby ,one storeyed house as their abode. The house was very humble in its appearance . There were no things of luxury only a few things of necessarily required to keep their live.
The widow managed the whole household and their son used to earn from their source-a horse . Every year a few tourists visited this place . This boy JAMAL tried very hard to serve them his best . Jamal was a pleasant boy with dreamy eyes.He had a heart wining smile ,God had bestowed him a noble soul. He was known throughout the village for his hospitality and humble ways.
Though the mother and the son were very happy but there was always need of money after the tourists were gone.
One day a tourist bus visited this place. They spend their whole day at this heavenly lap of nature,singing,dancing,eating and clicking pictures. The weather was so pleasant.
At afternoon ,suddenly it grew dark . The whole sky was covered with black clouds . Then it started raining heavily . The whole group disturbed trying to find a shelter and there till it stops raining.
After half an hour ,almost every member of the group boarded. The bus had left for Srinagar except for a Lady Mrs Joseph Flanders who trying to find a shelter lost her way in the woods.
Miss Flanders found a man carrying a bundle of twigs on his head. It was Jamal. She related the whole situation to him asking him to find find the way to her bus Jamal promised to help . He helped her to find the place where her bus stood just few hours back.
As she reached the place she found the bus was gone. She was left all alone in this remote area without even a penny in her hand. She was crying in the middle of no-where!
Jamal said ,”Meem shaib “Why crying what reason ?”I’m here ,don’t worry.”
The lady perturbed by the whole situation said,”Where shall I go ?What shall I do? What shall I do?”
Jamal took her to his own house. He promised her that he would help her.
As they reached the home ,he explained the whole situation to his Mother. His Mother was a kind lady. She comforted the young lady gave her food to eat and promise her that she would send her to Srinagar the next morning.
Whole night it rained heavily. The young lady was anxious and could not sleep . Jamal and his mother tried their best to make her comfortable.
They served her their best food. They tried to give her the best available blankets. They kept fire burning whole night and knowing that she was anxious . They talked to her whole night to make her feel at home.
The lady was impressed by their humble ways . She was astonished to see their management skills. Now these people used to manage with the meager amount of money they earned.
The morning of the next day dawned. All the three had morning tea together. The old lady gave her some food and asked Jamal to accompany her to the bus stand.
As they reached the bus stand ,Jamal bought her a ticket to Srinagar. As a Precaution he even asked the bus conductor to drop her at Jahangir Chowk Srinagar as the lady was staying at Jahangir hotel with her whole group.
After few days the lady left for New York. She met Mrs. Joseph Flanders,wife of Mr. Robert Flander – owner of a big tourist Consultancy.
As she reached her home ,she relates the whole situations to her husband . He promised to help the boy in every possible way. He sent a good number of tourists to this place with every tour he managed .He also sent a friend there with some money for Jamal.
He said Jamal,Mr and Mrs. Flanders has asked me to hand you this money. They have asked you to make a good use of it. They have also given their Phone number and address in the letter as well. They are so thankful to you.
Jamal opened the letter. Mrs and Mr. Flanders had thanked him whole heartedly. They had requested him to keep the money and make a good use of it. They had further promised him they would send a good number of tourist every year to enhance his income.
Jamal also kept their address and contact number to himself and though that he would contact them once he visit srinagar.
With this money and the money he earned that year , he builds a small lodging nearby his house and started a home stay service for tourists.
Within a few years his business grew and the small lodging was changed into a big hotel employing tens of young men from his own village. In this way Jamal and his mothers virtue turned to be boon not only for them but for the whole village.
After years Mrs Flanders once again visited the place with her husband .As they reached Margan top. She(Mrs Flanders) was astonished to find a big hotel of at Jamals small house,with sign board reading ,”FLANDERS ABODE” and bursted into tears.
Story written and prepared by two writers: