Ground Report | New Delhi: Best Pickle in Kashmir; Twenty-seven-year-old Khalid Ahmad Mir waits on a pavement outside Seeno Kashmiri Pickle shop in Habba-Kadal area of Srinagar. Restlessly he peeps through a showcase to look inside the shop. “Why does he display such variety of pickles when he is not present in his shop,” he said satirically.
“The strong smell coming out of these bottles is watering my mouth,” he added while looking at the large bottles of pickles, “I want to taste them as soon as possible.”
Half-an-hour later 70-year-old Haji Ghulam Qadir Seeno arrives from a local mosque. He immediately recognizes Mir and greets him warmly wearing a smile on his face. “I come Kashmir once in a year and you know I don’t leave Kashmir without buying pickles from you,” he told Seeno.
Seeno pickles are a well-established brand in Kashmir. Pedestrians and shopkeepers guide people seconds after enquiring. Ghulam Qadir Seeno who started selling pickles more than thirty years ago with an average of four kilograms per-day.
“In the beginning I used to earn mare 500-1000 rupees in a month. Once people started liking my product I increased the quantity,” said Seeno sitting on a bench facing towards the occupied shelves in his shop.
Seeno said that around 100 types of pickles are available in his shop including both veg and non-veg. “I sell items that hardly anyone would find in Kashmir”.
“Mutton, chicken and fish in non-veg and rest everything is vegetarian” he said adding “every item here is a special item with such a wonderful quality. No one in India will manufactures apricot pickles. Name the item I will give you to relish it.”
Seeno was not a pickle seller as people recognize him. He was a transporter and had five trucks that used to transport goods across India. He used to drive one of the trusts but with time he lost everything in armed conflict. “I would say that I was forced to pick up this work otherwise transporter and pickle seller have no match at all,” he said as his face began to turn red.
Seeno quickly stands up and leaves his shop and returns with a four-square cigarette between his lips. He sits cross-legged on the bench to take few more puffs. In less than fifteen minutes he smokes three more cigarettes. He seemed to have been lost in his memory remembering something. “Do me a favour by not asking me any questions,” he said shaking his head.
“Two of my sons were killed by army,” said Seeno and then became mute suddenly. “Please stop! Can’t you see what I’m going through? What will you gain from it? It hurts…”
Seeno became normal after few costumes came inside his shop. They also requested this reporter not to hurt his sentiments. “He is an aged person and you must take that in mind. If he asked you to stop you must respect his wish,” they said.
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