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Professional Journeys’ Narrative – 3

By | December 29, 2009 | 0 Comments

Camel travels his own way. A regular rider gets habitual with multi-directional movements during journey through expanse of vast desert. For me the case was different. I managed to set three cotton cushions under my sitting position on the camel back. This precaution did not help. Formation of sores started on third day by the evening of which these turned over to wounds. It was not possible to sleep comfortably at night. Journey had to be continued. Flat sand movements of the rider’s body differ from those experienced during climbing a sand hill. Then these movements were altogether changed during descending the sand hill. Then flat, up-hill and down-hill movements were altogether changed during ride through loose sand when the camel’s legs got into the sand up to knees. So the taste of pain of sores had quite a lot of variety. For following days it was not possible to get into satisfactory sleep at night. Walking on foot also did not help much. Since the night stay sites were predefined by the area expert camel-men, the journey had to be continued without break. There was no lunch break even. Lunch had to be taken during active traveling. Keep riding, keep eating. Keep walking, keep chewing. It was a miracle that all team members remained perfectly healthy during the journey. Verily we had no time to get sick.

loadedcamel There are two kinds of camels in this area. Load-carrier camels are called ‘Laddu’ and fast running camels are called ‘Mahra’. ‘Mahra’ camel can cover 20 miles an hour in desert consisting of high sand hills and stretches of loose sand. ‘Mahra’ camels are always slim and smart. One can easily judge that they are built for running. If ever you made a mistake of whipping a ‘Laddu’ camel for running,your whole skeleton will be shaken from joint to joint within a few hundred feet only. When you are riding a running ‘Mahra’ camel, you have comparatively least body movements. ‘Mahra’ camel naturally cares for his rider and with specific movements of his whole neck and head, dissolves most of the jerks. ‘Laddu’ camel does not care for the number of jerks to his rider.

camel

On seventh day, November 30, 1960, we reached our destination from where we had to start our professional assignment. It was the northernmost sector amongst all the teams. Name of the place is Sanahu Tar. Here I had to meet my Indian counterpart for deciding the start of work. My counterpart was Mr. Sidh Gopal having a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. He was a medium height handsome Youngman who later turned out to be a jolly nice fellow. He was a very good company.

There was a Rangers’ Post on top of a sand hill of Sanahu Tar. Post Incharge Mr. Ghulam Muhammad was a leaned person. He had adequate knowledge of defense, politics and history. He had trained a bitch for chasing and catching deer. They called her ‘Neelo’. Apparently the bitch looked very ordinary but she had amazing speed for chasing the deer. Her performance was unbelievable. Here highest record of catching deer was four during a single fore noon. Very early in the morning she will reach the bed of her master and pull him by his shirt repeatedly until he was on his feet to start for hunting. In case a deer escaped her chase, she will go on hunger strike for the rest of the day. In addition she will choose some remote corner of the post and with her head inside her legs, she will remain motionless to display her shame and remorse. Then at sunset a team of two or three attendants will approach her, pat her and softly press her legs for no less then half an hour, after which she will agree to eat something.

Sanahu Tar Post Incharge had maintained a library containing quite a variety of books on many subjects. I studied some books out of his library and gained a lot of extra knowledge. This helped me in facing the rigours of the desert. Our drinking water was carried from a distance of 20 to 40 miles and the camel-men were doing this duty with perfect responsibility. Rations were managed from 80 miles distance from the nearest possible market, only once every month. On arrival of the ration load we enjoyed vegetable only for 3 to 4 days. For rest of the whole month we lived on grams and potatoes. This was gradually causing considerable loss of body weight.

After solving all the technical and administrative difficulties by the headquarters in both the countries, actual work was started during second week of December 1960. Camp to work site was 5 to 7 miles distance that had to be covered daily on foot. As the work continued, the middle of the day started becoming hot with the passing of every date. It became hotter by the end of January. The weather became suitable for the desert snakes exactly matching the color of the sand. By chance you could step over a snake to prompt its attack. ———– To be continued…

Source: Part from a book in process.
Copyright: Reserved

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Category: Travel

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