Friday, February 23, 2024

Professional Journeys’ Narrative – 11

(An account of journeys exclusively based on true picture of areas and the people there. No poetic or romantic false expressions are included, Excerpt from a book in process)

Account of journey to Manzil remains postponed. I would like to explain conditions in summer in areas of South Baluchistan.

Desert Cyclone During scorching heat of the month of May, hundreds of feet high cylindrical cyclones of dust and debris are in routine. The way the whole of the cyclone moves in a selected direction, it is estimated that it is going to destroy everything posing obstruction in its way. In local Baluchi term, it is called ‘Loorh’. During journey we always avoided its direction of movement. Travelers generally break journey during noon to avoid extreme heat. We always used to be in search of some deserted hut for taking some rest at noon.

Apart from the problems of the hot weather, smugglers were also a big problem for us. Smugglers always took us to be some anti smuggling party. In many cases we had to convince them that we had nothing to do with any anti smuggling department of the government. Many times we used to change our route whereas on many occasions the smugglers used to do the same to avoid us. Such hide and seek created so many funny events during our normal operations of survey works. For example, one of our helpers was holding a target for observation at a distance of about four hundred meters away from the working team. He sensed some people approaching him. He threw away the costly target and started running towards us. He forgot that he was on duty and the machine operations were continuing. On the other hand the miscreants thought that he had gone to bring the security party to confront them. So they also took refuge and ran away in the opposite direction. So much misunderstanding caused nothing dangerous to happen.

Baloch Tribeman On another occasion, I had a scheduled program to visit the survey parties. Since the vehicle could not move in loose sand area, I arranged journey with one of our local camel men, whose name was Bahadar. He was always in traditional Baluch dress with very huge turban on his head. He had long hair flying out of his turban. His beard was thick and very black. He wore a shirt of enormous size and his ‘shalwar’ (Pajamas) was made up of eighteen yards of cloth (according to Baluchi custom). It was about two hours of journey by camel into the loose sand desert. We started journey very early in the morning and I occupied the back seat, while Bahadar was commanding running of the camel. After about two hours time we saw a party working on a sand dune. As usual they were about seven members in all. We started moving in the direction of sand dune occupied by the party. After a few minutes we were surprised to know that the party was no more there. After searching the particular dune we followed the foot prints of the party. The foot prints of the party told a very different story. Bahadar immediately understood the whole problem and smiled. I also smiled grasping the idea and then both of us indulged into loud laughter. We reached the camping place of the party. All of them greeted us as usual, but it was evident that they had been reserving something to themselves. After a few moments of enquiring about their welfare, I started the story they were reluctant to express. They explained that they were guilty of suspending the day’s work. The reason was that they could not see me due to huge volume of Bahadar, and thought that some miscreant had been moving towards them with some ill motives. Then there were shy grins on all faces.

Early next morning we started for the next party. We decided to reach their camping site which could not be traced out inspite of traversing a large area and wasting quite a lot of time. Fortunately, Bahadar traced out the foot prints of the water carrier camels. Following the foot prints, we reached the camping place which was situated at a location inside the sand dunes very secure and secret. We were only at a few yards from the tents that we heard a loud harsh caution, “Stop there and don’t move”. Party’s gunman was pointing the gun toward us. Moments later, he saw me behind Bahadar. His tense face turned over to smiles of courtesy and welcome and he greeted us cordially. ——— To be continued…


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