The winds eventually lost strength. Silence shadowed the trees like scares on sunburnt faces, which too would grow out soon. The air around was surrounded with thickness of cold. It reeled under the weight of clouds that had gathered for long in weeks of winter’s short daybreaks and endless nights.
The snow was the respite that everyone’s been praying for.
It snowed when the road seemed insurmountable. First on the sides, on the trees and on the mountains. The gray was slowly being washed away by snowflakes. Everything living or dead was covered with a patina of white much like paint of morality which some believed had crept into hearts of a few.
But on that day, road lost its path for travelers. Somewhere in those sharp turns over the mountainous terrain it turned itself into the mountain, tired of lost travelers. And on that day, a man brave enough to act lost walked on the road. Some said he had lost his soul and was searching for it. He walked tall covered in black.
But his heart cried and eyes choked. He couldn’t see white, all he ever saw was red, blood red. On that day he saw red everywhere even in the glowing snowflakes. He was trying to run away. On that day snow on road showed him the path away from chaos of screaming walls, away from flickering nightmares, away from vortex of spieled confessions. He walked on, as if this was the end he prayed for all his life.
Snow slid off his umbrella with as equal an ease as it fell from sky. His boots crushed fluffy fresh snow squeezing all color out of it. He waited for none.
In the landscape of white, darkness couldn’t turn him away. He walked on.
“Awwal Hamd sanaa elaahi, jo maalik har harr da
Us da naam chataaran aala, kise vi maidan na harda”
First, all praise is for almighty who is lord of all
Who so ever recites his name, never loses in any life
I don’t remember reading this Kalam, but it has been ingrained within my subconscious. I even don’t remember the first time I heard it. And I am not alone, a community has been bonded together with this age old Kalam. The mountains of Pir Panjal, the Dhoks and the Margs right from across the Jhelum to Badharwa and even beyond resonate with words of wisdom.Awal Hamd is the first couplet of Saif-Malook( also called Saif ul Malook, Safar ul Ishq) and is an introduction, a prayer and praise of almighty. Saif Malook is the magnum opus of Mian Muhammad Baksh. It uses a lovestory as an allegory to describe Sufi’s journey. The magic of Saif Malook lies in its simplicity. It has been intricately woven into the local parlance and yet it is able captures magnanimity of Sufi thoughts and ideas. Text is concise and mostly deals with trails and tribulations of day today lives. Themes of friendship, ego, kinship and adoration are dotted throughout. The text opens up as the tale of Price Saif-ul-Mulk who falls in love with fairy princess Badi-ul-Jamal. It describes prince’s journey towards his goal faced with existential questions and the white Giant- Deuo Safaid. The genius of Muhammad Mian Bakhsh is in creating couplets which are complete in themselves and yet when projected together, they form small parts of a much bigger plan. Text contains over nine thousand such couplets which share a metrical form.
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This post should have been in Urdu or hindi, but for that I will need to learn one new script or learn typing of other. Or I can pass the burden onto you “read Urdu in Roman”.
Rehmatabad tehsil se bas 40 kilometer ki doori par waky tha. Vaise to abhi tak yahaan koi sadaak nahi thi aur qareebi bus adda dariya ke us par 1 km ki doori par tha. Pichle chand saloon se yeh baat to sunne ko mil hi jaati thi ki agle chand saloon mein yahaan bhi sadaak pahunch jaaye gi aur daily service bhi chalu ho jaye gi. Isi taak mein Rehmatabad ke Pahari aur Gujjar logoon ni qaayi nayi umeeden saja rakhi thi. Yeh dariya ke junuub par basa tha aur isi liya saal bhar suraj daer tak is par chamkta rahta tha. Yahaan ki zameen bhi bahut zerkhek thi aur saal mein khoob makki, gehon aur chawal ki paydawar hoti thi.
Lal Din Gujjar aur Rizwan Khan ke ghar bhi isi gaon mein the. In ke ghar kareeban 200 meter ki fasla par waqye the. Ghaaron ke beech ka rasta bilkul seedha tha maan kisi ne foote se ek sidhi lakeer keech do ho. Raste ki ek taraf Rizwan ke khet the, doosri aur Lal Din ki dogiyan thi.
Garmi ki ek subh, Chowkidar ka beta shehar se khabar lekar aa aya ki hakumat ne unke transformer ki maag manzoor kar di hai. Kareeban pichle do saal se logon ki yeh qwahish thi ki unke goan mein bhi ek transform ho aur un ke gharon mein bhi tez bijli chamke. Vaise bhi bagal ke gaon wale addat-tan inki taar gira deta the aur inke yahaan andhera kar dete the. Issi ki wajah se baachon ko chimney ki jhumti roshni mein kitabaen kholni padthi thi varna masterji ki moti chadi ke nishaan waftan hat-te nahi the.
Engineer Aftab Ahmed bijli ki rakhwali karta tha aur mahine mein ek baar daura lagane aa jata tha. Uske saath ek lineman bhi aata tha jo “ji jnaab” kehte na thakta tha. Yeh baat mashoor thi ki Aftab Ahmed ek neak aur din daar admi hai aur riyasat ke kisi bade college se diploma kar ke aaya hai. Sirf “Aftab Ahmed” kehne par woh yuk dum raang badal deta aur kayi baar to chilla padhta “Engineer Aftab Ahmed! ENGINEER.”
We had never met.
The crowd was patient, glaringly staring at the arrival gates. The confusion was contained. I moved swiftly with the trolley of belongings as my eyes wandered seeking familiar face. The end was near to my despair.
I had uttered “Walaikum” by the time I faced him. His gleaming brown eyes reflected a sense of accomplishment. His hairs were short, jet black and unwavering just like his demeanor. His walk was strident not deceptive, clamoring his ethnicity. Here he was to pick me up from airport, suited up in faded jeans and a blue pullover. He was not a Kashmiri after all.
“How was the flight?”
We discussed the flight and climate as we walked towards the other end of the parking.