Sunday, June 16, 2024

Professional Journeys’ Narrative – 21

Pinching heat of summer season is well known to Baloch people living West of Dalbandin as well as west of Nukundi. We had to travel west of Ameer Chah, situated in north of Nukundi. As for the matter of drinking water, it was a journey of life risk for the entire team including the Baloch camel men. We chose to start journey after evening prayers, after which at least 2 to 5 percent heat of the weather subsided. Thus we started the journey in the evening covering our entire body and head with cloth sheets. Journey to destination and back over to Ameer Chah consisted of a span of 40 hours. Up to 3 to 4 miles, we travelled over the shifting sand dunes. The shapes and locations of these sand dunes depend upon the velocity of the wind. Some of our camels had been walking through knee deep loose sand. And these camels had been feeling very uneasy and gave mysterious sounds when pushing ahead in the loose sand. It is never all easy for the ship of the desert to move through the sandy areas. After the sandy areas, a vast area of stretched sand desert started. The camels felt relieved after coming out of the sand dunes. It was now the time of sunset. The night was moonless. After the sunset, we had been talking to each other on various problems, but after getting deep into the night only utter silence ruled. To keep the direction towards the destination was God given quality of the camel men of the area. During the entire journey, there had been no reference mark, no hut, no wild animal in the area. The weather of course became a bit cooler. Most of the team members belonged to areas outside Baluchistan and it was not easy for them to travel on camel back or to walk in the flat sand. After midnight or hours before sunrise, we reached our destination. It was an utterly desolate place where nothing existed except our own selves. The tents were pitched and everybody got into deep sleep due to tiredness. Our program consisted of completing the survey works up to noon, take some rest during the noon and start back journey after the sunset.

Baluchi Camel Man

Baluchi Camel Man

During the noon rest almost everybody was pretending to be sleeping for rest. Shortly after noon time, I was the first to get up and take notice of the drinking water that has been left for us. I came to understand that if the expected supply of water was delayed, we were caught up in life risk. If the camel man responsible for water supply was delayed due to any accident, all of us were sure to sleep forever. Early in the morning, I had told the camel man for fetching water by the sunset, after which we shall be left with no water at all for drinking. Only this strong gentleman knew how far he had to go for water and by what time he had to return. It is mentionable that this gentleman responsible for water was alone to manage 3 camels with all the water containers. He looked worried for supplying us water in this particular area and his worry could very well be read from his face. Over and above everything he was already extremely tired during the journey from Ameer Chah. In spite of his worry about supply of water, he spoke to me in perfect confidence that he will be successful to reach with water. For him, it was at least 6 hours journey to the pond of the water, plus the time for filling in the container on 3 camels. To forget the location of our camping could also not be ruled out. In whole of this serious situation, I told everybody to take utmost care in drinking water.

Out of our water containers, we had 4 metallic containers and 2 Baluchi containers made up of animal skin. Water in metallic containers gets over warm due to weather heat but water in animal skin always remains cool for drinking. So we made it a regular process to transfer hot water from metallic containers over to containers of animal skin. After the camel man departed to fetch water, we were left with only 2 containers of animal skin. We were total 8 members of the team and these 2 small containers were not sufficient in containing water for 8 people for very long time. As for the camels, we had only read in books that it can do without water for days, but during this journey, we actually witnessed that camels had been living without water since their start from Ameer Chah. ——— To be continued…

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Category: Travel

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