Bashir Gosani, 36, Tour Guide, Srinagar
Gosani’s family owns a houseboat on the placid waters of the world famous Dal Lake. Whenever tourists flock to the valley, Gosani is the most sought after person in Srinagar. His income is largely dependent on the uneasy peace in the valley. Whenever business is brisk, Gosani’s family can enjoy the pleasures of eating mutton. In more penurious times, Gosani says they cut back on everything. He says it would really hurt to end the family’s tradition of offering wazwan (a traditional feast) once a year. “It is an extravagance. We serve seven different meats to our guests. On this occasion all our friends, relatives and neighbours join us. I would miss the hustlebustle and wanwun (Kashmiri singing). Fond of listening to music and movies, when he is not walking around Dal Lake, Gosani relies on cable television for leisure. “Whenever I go outside Srinagar I watch a movie in a hall, but here, there are no cinema halls,” he says. But Gosani’s greater dissatisfaction lies in the schooling of his son. He dreams alternately of buying a car and sending his son to a good school.