Given the daily protests against the failure of electricity, drinking water facilities, absence of fresh vegetables from the markets and the lack of scores of other civic amenities in the Valley, one wonders why the older generation of Kashmiris still feel pleasantly nostalgic about the winter they experienced during their childhood and youth.

Although some areas in Srinagar city got electric connections in the early 1900s, all the rural areas in Kashmir lived without electricity, tap water supply and even motorable road connectivity till the 1950s.

"Our village is 30 kilometres from Srinagar, but we had no electricity, no water supply, no markets, and no public or private transport till the late 1950s", said Nooruddin, 84, a resident of Chanduna village in Ganderbal district.

"One had to wade through knee-deep snow to walk that distance, but every family was well-stocked and self-sufficient to survive the winter and enjoy it", Nooruddin added.

Modern facilities like electricity, Internet, better road connectivity, getting rations from the government-run subsidized shops, fresh vegetables, milk, edible oils, etc from outside the Valley is fine", Nooruddin said.

The story of the old man leaves one in little doubt that distancing ourselves from tradition and heritage has brought in more heartburn than comfort. The winter might be the same in Kashmir then and now, but the people who live there have definitely changed - unfortunately not for the better.

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