Saturday, February 24, 2024

Professional Journeys’ Narrative – 4

baby-snake Venomous snakes are of varied sizes in the area, but I have not seen any snake of dia. more than 1.75 inch or 4.3 cm. Desert where human beings spend more energy in walking, there is no problem for the snakes running fast here and there. There is another type of snakes in the area about which I have never heard in any other area that I have visited. The species called PEEVAN, does not bite and is rarely seen during sun light. If at all you come across a Peevan during the day, you can pick it up and carry it any where, if you like. This creature harmless during the day is very deadly at night for the sleeping men, women and children. Its attacking and killing function is strange for the people of non-desert areas. For his prey in deep sleep over bed, it supports itself on its tail and adjusts its mouth millimeters close to the victim. When the man inhales air down to his lungs, Peevan releases its poisonous fumes into his nose or mouth. In minutes the victim surrenders life and only in the morning it gets known that the person is dead. The attacking creature withdraws immediately after the person’s inhaling process stops. Locals told us that the government of Sindh pays cash reward for every living or dead Peevan handed over to special centers. The only way of security against the Peevan attack at night is some type of light at the sleeping place. In our tents we used to sleep in the light of Lantern throughout the night. So prickly was the danger that there used to be spontaneous breaks in sleep during which we used to check the interior of the tent and see that lantern oil was enough till dawn. Over and above all precautions, there used to be persons on night duty who had instructions to check the inside of very tent to assure that the lantern was burning and that there was no Peevan inside. This was to save lives as well as to maintain the continuity of the international working, strictly according to the schedule. Locals advice to keep onions inside the tent was also observed. Locals had experience that the Peevan avoids the smell of onions.

The desert embowers profuse number of large size black scorpions. They look horrible. If you are quite comfortable seated on a piece of carpet, you can not imagine what is happening beneath the carpet. Following accident explains a little. One of my team members was extremely punctual in offering Muslim prayers at prescribed times. He was washing his face and hands to get prepared for pre-sunset prayer on a day. He usually prayed inside the tent where two carpets cover the sand. On the particular day, he managed to spread a piece of carpet outside his tent. Everybody saw that this piece of carpet was over used and had so many small holes in it. He started praying with deep concentration as was his usual way. As we saw him putting his knees on the carpet, he forgot his prayer, abruptly ran away from the carpet and started running to and fro on the sand. He was emitting pitiable sounds in pain with a hand on his left knee. The loudness of his painful voices became louder with passing of every moment. Immediately nobody understood what happened. Some thought his knee must have been pricked by some bush-thorn. Some thought his knee got dislocated. Everybody however, immediately approached him for help and asked him the reason of his pain. Between sobs of pain he simply said “Scorpion, scorpion”. Everybody understood the problem. Two team members ran toward the rangers’ port for medicine. Others started soothing him by cleaning the attacked spot on the knee. After a while we thought of inspecting the piece of carpet. When a member pulled up a corner of the carpet his face showed signs of horror. Underneath the piece dozens of scorpions had gathered. All of us joined to kill them. The affected person told us that the pain and burning was extreme. He kept crying for hours. A ranger 6.5 feet tall and exceptionally heavy weight, moved to a corner tent to laugh comfortably. After some tine he gave a reason for his uncontrollable laugh. He said “So many times our rangers and local men have been attacked by the scorpions, but I have never seen them crying like that. It is simply very very funny for me. The name of this ranger man was Ibraheem and he was from Balochistan province. Ibraheem was the source of courage and fun for us during our entire stay in desert. When he used to laugh, his whole body seemed to be dancing which made everybody laugh without reason. On the other hand the scorpion affected member was known for his experience in creating rifts between two persons or groups. Outwardly he seemed to be the most through gentleman. Inwardly he was always very very busy in managing various kinds of disasters, still nobody could ever point a finger toward his nobility. The scorpion, perhaps, got angry with his plots. On the other hand, with positive use of his intelligence he could gain mines.

There is another item of quaint information about this area. During December and January, night temperature in deserts falls considerably as compared to the other areas. I did know this phenomenon already. So for camping I selected foot of high sand hill, considering that this low place will keep us warm. The ranger, on duty with us, opposed this idea. He said top of sand hill is much warmer at night as compared to its foot. We laughed at him. It was very foolish of us all. We did camp at the foot of sand hill and the following morning everybody complained that the cold was unbearable. Nobody still believed the ranger. Next night when we were feeling very cold in tents, the ranger man entered my tent at about 9 PM and informed me that he wanted to show me something if I agreed t follow him. I agreed and followed him towards the top of the sand hill. It was unbelievable. The top of the hill was very very warm and cozy. ———– To be continued…..

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


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