Light Within

All this and you are not even worried! Will it help?

The village boy

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There are lessons in the first landscapes of every one's life. Mine was a vista of green paddy fields, smoking with Salt Range mist, against a setting of ribbon of River Jhelum which from distance looked like a shore of another land altogether. The rough, rugged hill range appeared uninviting against a sky withering with the morning, interrupted by the dawn's red and blue brush strokes. My first learning in life was also in the village.

In villages, people still live without roads or other civic amenities of this modern age. No telephone or the Internet (now smartphone works in my village), even the electricity is the recent phenomenon; some are still without it. You see one village and you have seen all. This was the setting where I spent first twenty year of my life savoring the freedom of adulthood. It is where I decided what (and how) I wanted to do with life. It is where my brothers and friends live. It is where I return whenever my active (and now urban) life allows me to. It is where I want to settle and spend my future.

My village is awe inspiring -- pollution free and quiet. Different shades and colors of waving crops and trees - solitary, in groves or avenues - beautify the landscape. The scene changes after the harvest. The air is always fresh and fragrant with the smell of earth. The only sound is singing of birds, ringing of cowbells and sighing of wind or some youth loudly singing Heer Waris Shah, Sassi Punun or Mirza Saheban at night. One sees butterflies fluttering, ladybirds creeping and squirrels jumping around. To me the place feels like a paradise.

My roots are in the village where no body seems to be in a hurry; no OMG! or ROFL. Every time I go there, from the different cities where I happen to be living, I take small things like candies and toys for the kids of neighbors and my family in the village and they are so happy that the words cannot explain their delight. From the village I bring everything (from desi chiken to saag and makai ki rootian), and more than every thing I bring a lot of love.

"I help my neighbors and my neighbors help me", is the philosophy of life in our village. Faith, sharing, contentment, grit, hard work and humor are few others. There are no marriage halls or other renting places. Daras (community centers where cultural diffusion takes place) are very useful 'institutions' for functions or for elders to sit and teach irreplaceable heritage of ideas to the younger generation. The learning that passed on to me in Dara turned out to be very precious: it was the legacy of the fable. Tandoor (Oven for backing bread) is still a meeting and talking place for women.

Dr. Senta Siller (left) and Dr. Norbert Pintsch (right) with my mother and the clan 

Guests of one family are shared by ever one at the time of marriage (or death). Hospitality is like one of the cultural benchmark, as villagers strongly believe that a guest comes with the blessings of Allah Almighty. Pull a hay cart into the shad, to rest, to dream. You shall be served with hookka (Hubbell-bubble), water and food. Cooing crows are still considered as a symbol for the arrival of guests in my village.

From our village, a group of seven students used to go to nearby town for attending school (and then college). Ghulam Muhammad (from Gura Hashim Shah) was my buddy in the group. After completing the education, my dreams became out of control and took me on the darker roads of the life whereas Ghulam Muhammad, equipped with degree from Faisalabd Agricultural University, started progressive farming in the same village. He was a hardworking gentleman, economically very sound and ambitious. Ghulam Mohammed's father soon started getting proposals for the marriage of his son from many wealthy landlord families of the area. But, my friend married his cousin: uneducated daughter of one of his poorest uncles and is living happily ever since. Village society is still simple, cohesive and based on similarities.

Only there is big difference for me now. This time when I am going to the village, I am still eager to meet a lot of people - family members, peers and neighbors. But my mother wouldn't be there to welcome me, to take pride in me and advise me what to do and how. She would not be there to transfer heritage of life of which she was a custodian. My mother (the spirit of my life) is no more there because she has shifted her residence to  heavens. Rest in peace mom. Rest in peace. 

A cluster of memories - some overlapping, some isolated - of 'the village boy' I once always stay with me. I am a result of my childhood experiences. After having knocked on all the doors of opportunity that come in my way in life, I want to settle and spend my future in the village? My village is a place where I still get king's treatment; where I get a break when I need it.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, April 10, 2018,


At 20:06, Anonymous sardar said...

very informative article. Sardar Ajab,

At 11:10, Blogger Sajini Chandrasekera said...

You made me fall in love with your village and though i also live in the city and have no experience in village life , i still think love and harmony is still in the village than the city and still the best place to life a peaceful and happy life.

At 14:07, Anonymous Kausar Bilal said...

A very touching article. Like Sajini ,I also couldn't experience the village life but heard about it in the same way.
Yeah, you are right about your mom. Actually, no matter how grown up we are, we always need our parents.

At 14:12, Blogger Jalal Hameed said...

A very sentimental ending - yes parents are road maps without whom we find ourselves at a loss. But then we become maps for our children and the life continues, though the void remains unfilled forever.

At 17:34, Anonymous Saima Ashraf said...

Well-writ article. I like the genuine life of a village. I myself belong to a village but there is a far cry from 'seeing' a village and 'being' in a billage. It is really a hard nut to crack to permanently live there where are no basic facilities of life. Solace of some days becomes troublesome when one has to live there for long.

At 23:31, Blogger nawal bhatti said...

i have no s not an artical summery of ur feelings no can summerize one's village beauty like u.very heart touching and beautiful even i don t know about these beautiful moments.its a story of ur great love for ur village and especialy ur love for ur mother.MAY ALLAH REST HER IN PEACE

At 16:23, Blogger HQ said...

Lets preserve this peaceful abode and not let it conquered by Urbanization.

At 08:45, Blogger HQ said...

Thank God there are still some places where one can live away from the din and chaos of artificial life, where the cell phones and other distractions do not work to distract you and where we can feel the affectionate lap of mother nature.


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