English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Kashmir valley’s first gaming hub shows up in upmarket Srinagar

The first ever state-of-the-art gaming hub, titled The Pavilion, has come up at the fashionable Residency Road in Srinagar, much to the delight of the people of the valley, long deprived of quality entertainment

The first ever state-of-the-art gaming hub, titled The Pavilion, has come up at the fashionable Residency Road in Srinagar, much to the delight of the people of the valley, long deprived of  quality entertainment.

Most of the modern modes of entertainment—including the cinema—have remained shuttered all over Kashmir under the militant diktat issued and enforced in December 1989. In 1996-2002, Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference government attempted to revive cinema by reopening three theatres—Broadway, Regal and Neelum—but that endeavour failed and proved to be ephemeral after a grenade attack on the cine-goers at Regal, on Residency Road, and an encounter at Neelum, a theatre outside the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar.

Residents remember that a businessman had set up a gaming kiosk on Residency Road in the late 1970s but it didn’t run for long.  Now after over 40 years, a young entrepreneur has established an attractive stress buster not only for the millennial youths, who have seen only violence all their age, but also for the people of other age groups—men and women.

Adnan Shah of the saffron township of Pampore has created this entertainment venture after visiting and enjoying gaming hubs in the United Kingdom. The idea of having such a facility in Srinagar occurred to him in that country. He thought of providing such an outlet to the capital city of Srinagar in Kashmir where more than half of the population is suffering from depression and anxiety while every second child is afflicted with direct or indirect symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Dealing in apparels for about a decade, the enterprising Adnan endeavoured to see a gaming hub in the conflict-riddled Srinagar where customers of all genres—men, women and children of all ages—would have fun and relief from stress.

“I never knew it would be me who would open the gaming hub in Kashmir. But I think, when I was thinking about it in the UK, the Almighty was perhaps listening and he chose me for it,” Adnan told Kashmir News Observer, a local news gathering agency after the inauguration this week.

“Finally, I decided to go for it and today, thanks to Almighty, we are having a full-fledged state-of-art gaming arena under one roof that too in the heart of Srinagar”, Adnan said from the gaming hub at an imposing mall facing both, Residency Road as well as Maulana Azad Road to the front and the back. He said children, women and men of all ages can come and enjoy playing the games of their choice.

“We have almost 20 varieties of games for all age groups. We have Ten Pin Bowling 360 VR, which one can’t even find in India. We also have Car VR, two-seat VR,  Basketball, Hydronic Car, Vibrator Bike, Funny ball, Monster Realms, Toy Catcher, Ball shooting, Disc Game, Hit the Clown, Moto GP, Temple Run, Rainbow, Transformers Shooting, two seat Bike Race and Air Hockey,” said Adnan. The lowest ticket is for an affordable Rs 40 and the highest for Rs 500.

“These are all affordable games for poor, middle-class and rich families. When a person comes here, I am sure he will never be disappointed. I encourage families to come along with kids and enjoy all games under one-roof,” Adnan said.

He explained how The Pavilion had been designed in a way that for a moment one wouldn’t feel to be in Kashmir. “The place gives you a different feel as if you are out of Kashmir, far from stress, anxiety and depression. And when people start playing here, they forget everything, I think that is the best way to get relieved from stress,” Adnan said.

Nasir Ahmed, a first-time visitor, said that when he played Ten Pin Bowling VR, he forgot he was in Srinagar. “When I came here, my mind was preoccupied with something and when I started playing VR, I forgot everything. After finishing the game, I felt relaxed and all the anxiety that was in my mind was gone. Thanks to Adnan Bhai for starting this wonderful venture for youth who are full of stress,” Nisar told KNO.

Tariq Khan, who along with his three kids had come to The Pavilion, said that it was wonderful to play different games along with kids. “Now we don’t need to spend a huge amount of money to go to Delhi to play games and get de-stressed. Everybody knows that every single citizen of Kashmir is stressed because of the prevailing conflict of decades and the challenges thereof,” said Khan, a government teacher. “After spending an hour here, I felt my kids are feeling relaxed. I am myself feeling relaxed as there are games for all age groups. We desperately needed this gaming hub. This indeed is a stress buster.”

A study by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the Kashmir University’s Department of Psychology and the State’s Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in 2015 stated that nearly 1.8 million or 45% of the total adult population in  Kashmir, battered by 26 years of violence, showed symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The study covered 5,428 households in 399 villages across all the 10 districts of the valley between October and December 2015.

Shaista Gul, a house-wife, who along with her two children visited The Pavilion, said that she had not seen her kids enjoying the way she had seen them at the gaming hub.

“There are different games available for children and adults as well. I also enjoyed playing ball shooting. The gaming hub is the best way to do away with the stress. Earlier we had no such option in Kashmir and now The Pavilion is a good choice,” she said. “My children were literally home-locked after abrogation of Article 370 and the outbreak of Covid. They were totally confined to carom and mobile phones. But this gaming hub is the best choice for parents and I urge all to come here and beat their own  stress of that of their children .”

Also Read: Gadkari promises 8-hour travel between Delhi and Srinagar by 2023