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Writerly Places 3 : A Houseboat on Dal Lake, Kashmir, India


(When you are a writer and your most inseparable companion is a notebook and pen, then you are always looking for writerly places where you can sit and make a few stray notes. Jot down a few lines of a poem or story, or a half sentence of heard conversation, make a quick sketch, or put down that idea which has been at the back of your mind ever since you woke up in the morning.

So here is a series of writerly places which I have found on my travels. This is the third post.)

Kashmir, India. What better place to write than the intricately carved wooden deck of a houseboat, watching the swirling waters of Dal lake, a fish eagle soaring overhead and listening to the quiet lapping of the waves.

The best time is early morning, or late evening after the boats have stopped plying, the day’s water commute is over and the lake is still as a mirror.

From the deck the lake is all around you and a range of low blue hills around it. You can sit there for hours, watching the birds and the reflections of the clouds and filling page after page.

They bring you tea, the special Kashmiri tea, which is a pale clear orange, full of saffron and dry fruits. They bring your cup to the deck and then you are alone with your thoughts and your notebook.

There just aren’t many places left on earth as serene as this.