Though my visit was not a planned one neither I wanted to visit Punjab like this. The reason was the sad demise of my beloved uncle who passed away on Monday (11 July 2011) and this sad news was delivered soon to our doorstep. He was living with his wife and children in Uch Shareef, a remote village few kilometers before from Bhawalpur. I was not scheduled to go but my mother and my uncles but insisted me to come as my mother could not travel without me.
That day at office went in a haste. It was Monday evening when I went directly to the bus station which is in sorab goth. I was told to reach there by 16:30 as the bus was likely to leave by 17:00. I rushed to reach the venue. To my ease, when I saw the bus and my relatives standing by the bus. The male members were standing outside while the females were already boarded. I greeted everybody and looked for my mother and sat beside her after spotting her in the fifth row. I could see the smug on her face the moment she saw me. I was not carrying anything as she had already taken my clothes in her bag. It was 17:00 and the bus was about to move. All my relatives and other passengers were in the bus except our driver. One of the passengers called that lousy guy and argued to start the bus as the time given had already passed. After a few minutes he obliged to started moving.
After traveling a short distance he stopped the bus at the bus adda where all the other buses were standing. For once, we all thought that this might be a checkup before leaving but surprisingly the driver sat besides with a table with his conductor and a few men accompanied him. At first we could not understand what was going on but then a passenger shouted from behind and appealed the bus driver to start the bus and leave. The bus driver was least bothered to reply. One of my relative stepped down and asked him what was going on?
When he came back he told us that the bus will not move unless all the seats are booked. I told to myself in my heart and wonder what shit we were into now. Traveling from a local bus was not a good idea at all. And the worst was that we had to stand there for 1 hour unless the bus got filled up and ready to move. While standing there, local vendors kept coming in and would smitten the passengers to buy their stupid products. Well finally the bus got filled and was ready to move and I thank God for giving me patience and making the bus to move.
The driver drove the bus roughly all the way and we all kept wondering whether we will reach alive or not. A few stops in between at the designated stops while other stops were made unnecessarily in between wherever our driver's own wish whether it would be in a jungle or a city. I kept controlling my cool and not to burst out on the driver as my family was traveling with me and I did not wanted to take any risk. The journey went in awake and sleep for intervals as I could not sleep properly. We reached the place next morning around 06:00 and loaded off our stuff and bags from the bus.
Our cousin was there to receive us and we went on a motor bike rikshaw to his place. On the way I could see women in the fields plucking something and I thought how remote this village could be. Soon after we reached the place we could hear the crying of our relatives (my late uncle's family). After the last didar (final view of face) we decided to take him to the grave yard. After offering his namaz janaza (funeral prayers) in a field nearby we took him to the grave yard. There is only one grave yard in that village for our community and that is situated in the shrine of Peer Hassan Kabeerdin. After burying him we went to his house where his family had arranged everything. After eating the lunch we all decided to leave for Karachi in the evening.
While sitting at their home I got a chance to talk to my cousin. She told me that she is now studying in Bhawalpur University. She said there was no good school, college or university around where they could get intellectual education and so she decided to study in Bhawalpur University. And so did her sister who wants to become a nurse in the future.
I could understand their agony as the education system was worse in that village. I told them they had made a right decision and was happy to see them taking good education. I appreciated their efforts and wished them good luck. After taking a brief nap we all decided to leave.
So that’s how my visit to Punjab came to an end when we returned to Karachi. I have not written much about my visit. There were more things to write about. However the time does not allow me to write much as I get very little time for my blog. I hope someday when I am fluent in writing I would rather write much interesting things and visits until then keep enjoying reading.