Srinagar: Twelve-year-old Usman Hamid’s excitement knew no bounds when he peeped through his window on Tuesday morning.
He rushed to his parent’s room and asked mom to join him and watch the spectacle of snowfall. Minutes later, he snatched the phone from his father and called his friends to invite them to `Sheen Jung’.
In fact, Usman and his eight friends had already planned a gala event much ahead of the MeT department’s prediction. The group has already formed two teams to vie for the coveted title.
Soon after the ground turned white, both teams took to the battlefield for the contest.
“Let it snow more so that we can destroy our opponent. Last year we lost to them, but this year we will make them bite the dust,” Usman said.
Later both teams built snow bunkers and made snowballs. ‘Sheshergants’ (icicles) are used to destroy the opposite team’s bunker.
Not just kids, adults too love playing this game mostly in parks and open fields during winters.
“The game is not new”, said 70-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Bhat of Baramulla. “Over the years, Sheen Jung has evolved. There have been some innovations like building bunkers and using a shield. We would play without any shield and often some players would get injured,” he said.
Snow cricket and football
The next task for Usman and Co is to play snow cricket or football.
“We have seen many children playing snow cricket and football in villages. This year we have planned to play these games too,” he said.
Last year, the first-ever snow cricket championship was organized in Srinagar.
The snow cricket in Kashmir is popular in Gurez. There is a unique tradition of hosting a cricket tournament soon after the valley receives snowfall.
Now football too is being played over snow during Chilla-i-Kalan.
After snowfall what kids mostly are excited about is making snowmen. Making snowman has become so popular that kids and youth spend hours creating a masterpiece.
Hundreds of netizens flooded social networking with pictures of snow sculptures.
Even shopkeepers use snowman as a marketing strategy to attract customers.
The tourism department also hosts a snow sculpture competition during winter. Many tourists participate in these tourneys.
They say when nature gives you ice, make ice cream. Sheen Kulfi is the favorite delight that children make in their homes soon after its snows. Sheen Kulfi is made by just adding milk, sugar, and coconut to a small ball of snow gathered from the rooftop or the ground.
Kids relish Sheen Kulfi while watching snowflakes from their windows or verandah.
From times immemorial, people have been making Sheen Kulfi in homes during winter. “Now people add cream, nuts, and other flavors. We would just add sugar and it tasted like heaven,” said Mujeeb Ahmad Wani, a businessman.