Friday, February 23, 2024

Professional Journeys’ Narrative – 10

(An account of journeys exclusively based on true picture of areas and the people there. No poetic or romantic false expressions are included)

Dust storms and whirl winds command south-western Areas of Baluchistan during summer. Abrupt and spontaneous strong whirl winds are regular surprise. Our tents’ accommodations were worst affected during summer. In some of such cases we used to get stunned, then mildly smiled and later indulged into boisterous laughter at our own ridiculous misery.

1848-191480 We had a scheduled program of visiting Manzil, a place south-west of Jilli Jheal and Patkook, north of Zahidan Highway, between Dal Bandeen and Nokkundi. We knew the direction all right, but not the track leading to destination. People of Dal Bandeen knew little about the place. We had to rely on compass and map. As a result of wishful thinking, we estimated that by noon we shall reach the place. At noon it turned out that the map and compass help was not proving successful and that we were somewhere but nowhere. The underground minerals were most probably affecting the compass. In whole of the area there was nobody to guide us. No village, no person, no camel man or shepherd was there for consultation. All the team members were gazing at each other with closed lips. Nobody had any idea to offer. It was the hottest part of the day. Taking note of the various vehicle tracks’ marks, I ultimately chose a passage and our vehicle was running on the unknown track. After covering considerable number of kilometers, we searched a marble mine, where two men were working. To gain some information we tried to talk to them, but they appeared to be understanding nothing. We came to know that one of them was a Baloch and the other one was Pashto speaking. There was a Pashto knowing member amongst our team, who readily got into conversation with other fellow. Our Pashto knowing member, Teemar Khan informed us that both of the persons did not know the location of Manzil, but they had suggested a direction where we could get the needed information from anybody belonging to the area. The mining persons had pointed to a black looking hillock, where somebody of the area was sure to guide us. We started moving towards the black hillock. It was only an hour before the sunset. All of us were tense and silent. As a matter of bad luck, our vehicle got stuck into sand. It is not possible to express the volume of worry that enclaved us. It was already dark and everybody of us did the best to bring the vehicle into movement again. I think it was a miracle that the vehicle was on track again. We reached the black hillock and moved around it to find somebody to help us, but there was none to be seen.

tentsIn dark, I gazed at the ground and was over joyed to see closely knit foot prints of the flock. This was the sign of some temporary of permanent camp of some Baloch tribe. Two of the team members started in the direction where from the ground marks were coming. In the meantime, we started pitching our tents. It was dark and there was not moon as well. After a short while our team companions returned and informed that one of the herdsmen, who knew about the place called Manzil, will meet us next morning. They handed over to me two eggs which they had been presented as a token of respect for guests. It was after so many days that I could have eggs at breakfast. I carefully put these into safe pocket of the tent and got into deep sleep.

With a sudden thrust of the wind, I was awakened. Immediately I could not understand what had happened. Then resuming my senses I saw stars in the sky and there was no tent occupied by me a short while before. I felt something wet on my chest. Both of the eggs had been crushed on the chest. The table and the chair were missing. Then I understood that it was the outcome of abrupt whirl wind, which disrupted everything and was over within two seconds only.

Before gong ahead with the account of journey to Manzil, it will be worthwhile to record the account of a similar whirl wind operation faced by us in village Ameer Chah, situated north of Nokkundi. One of our team leaders Mr. Muhammad Serwar had arrived at Ameer Chah after months of working in completely uninhabited desert areas, all the time living on grams and potatoes and the drinking water out of containers regularly carried from tens of miles distance. When we reached Ameer Chah, Mr. Serwar was overjoyed to meet us. Ameer Chah is a small settlemet at the edge of desert, with its own well of sweet water. Feelings of Mr. Serwar expressed as if he had come over to a big city from desert area. Having our company he wanted to manage a feast consisting of meat that he had not tasted during so many previous months. He asked a member of his team to visit the Baloch settlement for purchasing chicken, if available. The man retuned with the news that chicken was available with the people but they were demanding very high cost of that. This man became a shuttle between us and the villagers for settling the price. A short while before sunset the bargain was settled, and cooking process started. In the meantime, all of us got into discussions about various topics. The enthusiasm of the conversation was deeply saturated with the upcoming meat dish, the flavour of which was coming out of the kitchen tent.

Without even the slightest alarm, the devastation of an abrupt whirl wind, disrupted everything everywhere. Tents were dismantled and the articles were thrown away in various directions. Least worried about himself and his articles, Mr. Serwar, at the top of his voice asked the cook to take care of the chicken. The cook’s voice returned with the information that he was busy in searching. Mr. Serwar asked him, “What do to mean by searching?”. The cook replied, “I am searching the pot in which I had been cooking the chicken”. ——— To be continued…


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Category: Travel

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