It sounds exciting to be able to live in a houseboat and take a Shikara ride in a lake, that's what it is to most of us "An experience of the lifetime". But during my stay at the lake I experienced much more than that, there was a complete town established on the lake. There were houses, shops and what surprised me the most was there were farms , right on the lake . There are few things I clearly remeMber which I would not have known till my visit to the lake.
It was a beautiful and freezing morning as I stepped out of the houseboat at Nageen lake and something caught my eye , A lone Shikarawala rows his way towards a picturesque dawn! 1. Mobile shops : While we were enjoying the ride in our Shikara , another shikara came right next to hours and to our surprise it was a mobile shop selling all kinds of imitation jewellery and accesory. We go further and there is a similar shop , just this time it was a florist. 2. Non-Mobile shops : There were few shops made up of wood right in the middle of the lake and people would commute on their personal vehicles, "the shikaras" to get the groceries, vegetables , fruits, gas cylinders. 3. Dariya mein curfew (Curfew in the water) : Our shikarawala informed us in the evening that we cannot go further than the point we were as there is "Dariya mein curfew" and no shikaras should be out beyond a certain time. I had never heard of it before but then I see a police boat with speakers asking everyone to return back. By then i had already spent a couple of hours in the lake and it did not surprise me much as the lake wasn't just a lake it was a small town and guess law applies the same there as it does on the land. Our shikarawala guy was in his 50s and a very lively guy. There were a lot of stories he told us , i remember two of them: He has a wife in Kashmir and he is also married to a lady in France. They had fell in love and got married while she was visiting India couple of years ago and since then she sends him a return ticket to one foreign destination every year and they spend a week or so together. The other story I remmeber was of the conflict between two neighbors at the lake. One day our shikarawala heard these two neighbors arguing with each other and on enquiring he found out that one neighbour was accusing the other of "stealing his farms". Looking at our confused faces, our shikarawala explained to us "These plants the people grow in water have their roots floating in water and due to heavy winds the previous night a portion of the farm had drifted to neighbors house and the owner is accusing the neighbor of stealing his farm". We burst out laughing.