It’s been ages since I’ve written on this blog. Why? my non-existential readers may ask? well, because university takes a lot out of a person! From internships to classes, the summers were one huge blur that passed.
Well, I (guess) I am back to this blog for now!
So it’s the end of September, which means mid-terms are near and the journey to THESIS is closing in. This semester has been a potpourri of drama and concentration but one must move on, right? Well so let me tell you a little about this recent ‘adventure’ trip that I had…
So a group of around 22 people (Film students from SZABIST) left Karachi for this little town ‘Mithi’ in the heart of Sindh, Pakistan to make a documentary. The town itself though beautiful, is one of the most dull places I have ever visited! (The whole FRIGGIN town sleep at 9pm!) I, along with some of my closest friends thought this trip is going to be a great way to bond with everyone, which turned somewhat true. The road trip started quite nice as we sped to our destination, which was around 9 hours away from Karachi. From songs to gossips to endless snacking, we finally reached Mithi around evening.
Bags were unpacked, beds were chosen, the air conditioner was switched on (didn’t help) and then discussions about what to do next started. Little did I know, people (Who shall be called KarmasGonnaKickYourAsses from now on) didn’t even want me in that room, or hanging out with them! I being myself, (as always) tried to ignore all the short-comings, and we all left fake- happily for a Hindu prayer at a temple nearby!
The temple bells were truly amazing and it gave a peaceful atmosphere to all of us, as we shot video of the locals chanting their prayers and chants. The experience was so overpowering that I had lost myself into a trance, slowly moving my head left to right as they sang to the Hindu god, Shiv (A.K.A Mahadev). This was truly one experience each person must have, if they ever wondered why Hinduism has a mystique to it. As the prayer ended, we all received temple offerings (Prashad) and most of us happily ate it
Photo Courtesy: Zahra Salahuddin
It was around 9 that we left for our guest house, but some of us wanted to stop over at the city centre (there wasn’t any). So after 15 minutes of finding nothing, we got to our guest house. A surprise was waiting for me though, the KarmasGonnaKickYourAsses made sure I’d want to move AWAY from them and hence, started being asses (as always), so long story short and a shower later, I packed my bags (again) and off to another room I go. I was glad I found out real faces though, even though it took me three years!
After a LOOOOOOOONG night, we all woke up early in the morning and started getting ready for our trip further into eastern Sindh, to a even smaller town called ‘Nagarparkar’.
Early morning in Mithi:
This specific town holds more importance than Mithi, as it’s quite close to the Indian border. So after waking up at 6:30, by 8:30 we left for Nagar. The road between these two towns usually doesn’t take more than two hours but since I have such awesome luck, the roads were under construction and it took us JUST 4 hours! Long story short and a forced stopover at a army check-post later (remember film students? hence, many cameras, hence, confiscation!) we got into Nagarparkar district. Before getting into the town ‘Nagarparkar’ itself,
we had several other historic sites to visit. These sites I must say, were some of the most beautiful places one can find and are definitely the highlight of the whole trip. Our first stop was a 14th century Jain temple called Ghori. Not known to many, but this specific temple has a very important significance to the Jain religion, as it has been a temple built, destroyed and reboot a many times. The temple itself does not serve as a working temple, even though the locals assured us that it is.
Photo Courtesy: Zahra Salahuddin
The temple was quite a unusual experience for me, as it felt like I had been here before. It made me feel almost nostalgic, yet I was sure I hadn’t even been near this site, but I guess that’s what old sites do to you? So after visiting Ghori we bid farewell to the temple and its beautiful structure and its even more wonderful Bhajan singers. Off to our next destination, Bhodisar Mosque. The Mosque itself had a very Hindu architecture, almost making one wonder if it was one of the many places that were converted into mosques post Islamic conquest. I was honestly too hot and tired to get out of the bus into the sweltering heat of the desert so I just took a little sneak-peak and I was back into the bus before some one can count 1..2…3 (seriously!)
So after some site visiting we finally headed to our destination, Nagarparkar.
Nagarparkar, had not much to offer but it seemed quite serene, with almost pre-historic mountains in the milieu. After a lethargic three hours rest, we all got into 4×4 safari jeeps for our next destination called Qasbo. We were all told Qasbo, is a small village just 10 minutes away, so we all jammed into three vehicles, each carrying 6-7 people. Here’s the best part, we never got to Qasbo. We were rather taken to a village called Chooriyo by our wonderful drivers. The village was right at the Indian-Pakistan Border near the Runn of Kutch, oh, and just ONE AND HALF HOUR AWAY! After a back-breaking (literally!) trip we got off our jeeps into Chooriyo. We had honestly thought, we were getting smuggled into India due to the crazy heat, vehicle fumes and crammed cattle like situation we were in!
The view, no doubt was incredible! With India on three sides of the border, one feels amazed looking at the neighbor to the east who were a part of until a few decades ago. The view from Chooriyo was only possible if one climbs up a temple, dedicated to Laxmi and Santoshi Mata (Hindu Goddesses) which had at-least a hundred steps up to the temple!
India in the distance
Photo courtesy: Zahra Salahuddin
Sunset near the Indian border:
Closing in on a sunset, and the town being a hour away at the least, we left Chooriyo. The whole trip to and fro Chooryio, had taken out the life from me! I was feeling sick, depressed, claustrophobic and crazy all at the same time! The desert really got to me. Thankfully, a hour later, we were back into Nagarparkar, and around 7:30 pm, we left back for Mithi.
Mithi didn’t seem like a dull old town to me anymore. The trip that I had just had, made me realize what blessings really are, and I must say, Mithi was truly a blessing in front of all the other places we had visited (which had no electricity, running water, or signs of technology). Almost everyone slept on our way back, as it had been around 12 hours or more since we had been awake!
Finally as we closed into our guest house, everyone woke up. Beds were quickly made and within a hour or so, most of us slept knowing this was the last night in Mithi, and tomorrow held even more travelling for us which would take us back to Karachi. Alarms rang early morning once again, and breakfast was served. A sunny side up and a glass of grape juice later, I got into the bus and the group bid their final goodbye’s to Mithi.
With stopovers in Umarkot (The local cultural shoppers paradise), we all filled our bags and emptied our pockets. The girls bought bangles, earrings and ethnic clothings, some guys bought ice creams while others got Naaras! (Indian style trouser trying mechanisms). So after this, we sped our way towards Karachi, with another stopover for a late lunch near Tando Allahyar at a gas station!
If I ever ask myself, If I’d even want to do this again? I’d probably have to say YES & NO! Yes, to all those wonderful people that supported me and made me realize what friends really are and how they can make any trip a wonderful experience. While a BIG NO, to the KarmasGonnaKickYourAsses, the crazy long travel and the melting heat! (Seriously only go if it’s raining!)