Reclaiming Kashmir, through cafes, e-commerce and adventure sports
SRINAGAR: The recently-opened Books and Bricks Café is a firstof-its-kind all-American diner in Srinagar. The interiors are done in brick, wallpapers are pages from a Reader’s Digest collector’s edition and on the shelves are books — ranging from Thomas Hardy to Zadie Smith. Inside, co-owner Danish Yousuf — a 27-year-old postgraduate in financial management from Middlesex University in the United Kingdom — is found mostly in the kitchen, helping out the chef.
Around three kilometres away, on the city’s arterial Residency Road, stands a unique “restaurant on a truck” called In Fusion. As officegoers and students crowd the vehicle for biryani and noodles, its 29-year-old owner Fahad Jeelani — a former software engineer at Wipro in Bangalore — is busy taking orders and directing the cooks.
Yousuf and Jeelani represent an upcoming generation of Kashmiris — youngsters who studied and worked outside, but returned to the Valley as entrepreneurs. And, not only food, they are in almost every sector you can imagine — from restaurants to e-commerce websites, from web-magazines to adventure sports.
CONTINUED ON P9