During a late-summer road trip last September, Stanzin Saldon and Murtaza Agha unexpectedly showed up at their friend’s house, overlooking Manasbal Lake near Srinagar. They could not contact him beforehand because they had abandoned their phones to conceal their exact whereabouts.
While Saldon and Agha breakfasted with his parents in the morning, the friend bolted out and ran around the neighbourhood, retrieving the daily paper from the neighbours’ doorsteps. He did not want people to see the front page, which featured his guests’ faces. That month, Saldon and Agha were breaking news.
He kept the couple’s secret for a week. Only on their way out the door did they finally reveal to his family that they were not just on a summer holiday. They were on the run from the Ladakh Buddhist Association, an organisation whose members were trying furiously to separate them. Two weeks later, they would be married for a second time.