Christmas Time, Christmas Time and  Prayers,
 Prayers for peace, a peaceful refuge,
 Welcome light, with lights on trees,
 Green and white, in colored deluge;
 Décor delight diversity diverted;
 All hope one, all call one, all pray one;
 Life to begin, or life, to cease?
 Christmas Time, healing time and tremors,
 Tremors of blasts, killing blasts,
 Farewell love, with flags on caskets
 Red and blue, in deathly solitude,
 Sacred silence,  spirit severed,
 All around flowers, all fresh now
 All withered now, none in baskets;
 Christmas Time Christmas Time and Salvation
 Salvation, for every nation?
 Salvation eternal, end of turmoil
 in blood and sand, crimson and cream,
 a moaning scream, a shattered dream?
 One for one, each kills one, one by one, till none is none.
 Christmas time, Christmas time and love;
 Love for all, a tolerant love,
 With gifts garlands and gatherings,
 Silver and gold, young and old, the brave and the bold,
 Weak and strong, the fighters for freedom for the world;
 All with love, all at home,
 None at war, glad tidings for  all.
 Amen. Amen. Amen.

From Kashmir
Kashmir is a landlocked, beautiful but Indian occupied state. Almost equal to the beauty of Paradise'. It is my unseen birthplace. I may never step on my native land, but my love for it will be forever in my heart. I keep the memory of my homeland alive in many ways and one is 'preparing Kashmiri food'

Though rice is a staple diet in many countries across the world, and is grown as the main crop where there is plenty of water but strangely it is extremely popular as a compulsory food item in Kashmir. Sharing some interesting facts: Rice, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is how it is a favorite. Eaten as boiled, cooked like ‘pulao’ with pieces of mutton  and spices, rice is prominent in Kashmiri Culture.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is anjum-foodpic.jpg
Time for a Special Rice Recipe on Weddings
Festive Spicy Rice Gruel

Ver is made only on two occasions in  Kashmiri households : one is the betrothal of a son or daughter and the other is the eve of the wedding, just before ‘henna’(mehndi) is applied to the hands of the groom or bride. Kashmiris are not fond of sweets, hence it is not surprising that the special preparation on these two important occasions is not the sweet ‘kheer’ but the hot and spicy VER.

1 cup good Kashmiri rice. Wash and soak for an hour.
50 ml mustard oil
3 tsp. asafoetida  water (1 gm. asafetida soaked in 3 tsp. water)
6 cups of water
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. crushed spice cake (the asafetida flavored one)
1 tsp. salt
125 mg mutton fat or 50 mg walnuts.

If using mutton fat, wash it well and break into small lumps. Lightly fry, in a little oil and asafetida water and keep aside. Heat oil, in a large saucepan. When it begins to let off smoke, put in the rice and asafetida water. Stir fry for a minute. Add 6 cups of water salt and the mutton fat or walnuts. Cook till the rice is very soft and the consistency of thick gruel. Sprinkle the cumin and spice cake on top. Stir and serve hot.

Traditional Holiday Recipe-My Favorite for Family Get Together Occasions
‘Yakhni’ – Mutton in Yogurt Gravy

1 kg mutton (ribs or other fatty mutton cut into medium sized pieces)
4 cups yogurt.  Well whisked.
60 ml  oil  or ghee
2 tsp. ginger powder
3 tsp. fennel powder
4 cloves
2 black cardamoms, crushed coarsely
4 green cardamoms
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. garam masala

Boil half a liter in a pan, put in mutton salt cloves bay leaves black cardamoms ginger and fennel powder. Cover and cook till the meat is tender.

Whisk the yogurt well adding a little hot gravy from the mutton to make it warm. Pour the yogurt over the meat, stirring all the time. Keep stirring  and simmering till the gravy turns into a smooth  thin custard like consistency.  Heat the oil and pour sizzling hot on the mutton. Sprinkle 1 tsp. garam masala. Cover the pan. After a few minutes remove from heat. Serve hot with boiled rice.

Anjum Wasim Dar was born in Srinagar (Indian Occupied )Kashmir, Migrant Pakistani. Educated at St Anne's Presentation Convent Rawalpindi.  MA in English Literature & American Studies. CPE Certificate of Proficiency in English Cambridge UK British Council  LSE.

Writing poems, articles and stories since 1980. Published  Poet. Won Poet of Merit Bronze Medal Semi Final  International Award 2000 USA.Worked as Creative Writer Teacher Trainer. Educational Consultant  by Profession. Freelance Writer.


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3 thoughts on “Christmas Poem by Anjum Wasim Dar, WordCity Monthly Dec2020 Issue4

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