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July 6, 2017

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Meet Yousuf My Brother/Bhai From Kashmir

July 9, 2017

He isn't a real brother in the western sense of the word.

 

Neeloy messaged me saying "If you are up for the journey, you can come and stay." Three full days later, four government bus journeys a shared taxi along one of the most dangerous roads I have EVER seen and heavily armed train journey and motorbike ride later, I arrived in a small village in Kashmir.

 

I spent a month living with Yousuf and his family in the Kashmir Valley. It is truly the most magnificent place, a place of dreams. The Kashmiri people I met have the biggest hearts full of generosity and love.

 

Yousuf and his family fed me, put a roof over my head and treated me like family from the day I turned up in his village. They are all very important to me. I learnt a lot in Kashmir- it opened my eyes to many things I knew nothing about and gave me a great insight in to the disputed region of Kashmir. Kashmir has been a source of huge inspiration for my No.2 Collection.

 

So I wanted you to meet the man who made it possible for me to stay there for so long.

 

Yousuf Bhai- Thank you for everything.

 

Do you prefer the country or the city?

I prefer the country, it is much better for your body, spirit and mind.

 

Alice was inspired by the Kashmiri Pheran, can you tell us what it is?

The Pheran is a traditional Kashmiri robe that is made from wool. It features elaborate embroidery around the neck, cuffs and hem. This embroidery is normally done by hand by the women in Kashmir who are known for their handwork. 

 

What is your favourite time of the year in Kashmir?

My favourite time of the year in Kashmir is April- Where we live we are surrounded by orchards and in April the whole valley turns in to a mass of flowers. In October we start the harvest, this is also a time of year I enjoy.

 

If you could visit one country in the world which one would you choose?

I would like to go to Israel. I am interested in the religion and the way of life there. It is a Holy land I would like to see if I have the opportunity to.

 

What is the most useful phrase in Kashmiri?

Yabulli! Giant Tiger!  That is just a joke, we all got obsessed with saying it when we were all there in April.

 

What would you tell a  foreigner not to miss in Kashmir?

It is not about missing things. I would love people to come to Kashmir and learn about our heritage and culture. For a foreigner to see the kindness of my people.

 

What are the three things Kashmir is famous for?

For it's artisan techniques and its food waza vaan and khawa tea (cinnamon, cardamon, saffron with lemon)

 

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book has to be the Holy Quran 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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