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River View Fish

October 19, 2008

I rarely indulge in eating seafood. My cousin thought we should go to a place that’s quite similar to Sar Daryaab and serves really nice fish too.

The place was really nice and quiet. Quiet because there was no one else besides us. The small, makeshift hut owner was so excited to see us that he jumped out of his (makeshift) kitchen to welcome us. He was a thin, tall man with long, thick and black beard. Such people are very common all across NWFP and resemble a lot like Taliban, though ideologically they may not have any sympathies with them.

This reminded me that once a visitor had commented, “Why every other man here looks like Talibaan – these brute looking men ogle and scare others. Where have all the jeans clad boys gone – that were commonly known as Tommies?

“Where?!”

I had no answer. Really I don’t know whether, they left the city or country or they have grown beards and now wear only shalwar qameez and have been transformed into something else.

So my cousin asked the hotel owner about fish… freshness etc. Yes, he is a self-proclaimed expert at buying fish. You know poi saray de (He’s sharp!). While I thought to stroll a bit. The place was located on the banks of river – you can check out the extreme low water levels in the photo. There seemed to be some village close by where some wedding was going on. I figured because I spotted too many people moving in small groups wearing clean clothes. The women and young girls wearing colorful dresses – their lips were painted with deep red lipstick and feet with henna. One of the women lifted her burqa and greeted us. My cousin’s wife asked her where they were going. She replied, “To a wedding.”

“Is there some village close by?”

“Yes”, she said, greeted again and covered herself.

I wonder how life could be in those far off villages? Deprived of basic facilities. Why do we always forget that is the real Pakistan and those are the real Pakistanis – braving all sorts of problems and calamities their entire lives. When the hell break lose – or there is likelihood of it – they don’t flee the country. They can’t. Unlike the politicians, the rich, the elite like Asfandyar Wali Khan who fled to UK eversince his hujra was ripped by a suicide bomber this past Eid. Ironies!

The hotel owner cooked the fish in about an hour, the young boy of about seven served it – such boys are usually called chote. He was chota (young/small), obedient, energetic and had this innocence on his face.

The fish was delicious and by the time we were done the owner had become quite frank, offering us green tea that we refused politely.

Dad called for his son, who was about 3-4 years of age. “This is the only piece I have!” The owner  introduced his son in quite an interesting way. Then continued, “He was born after 10 daughters. I performed Umrah twice and prayed my heart out to have son.”

I was astonished. Faith, prayers and the will to get something is amazing. Allah grants! I have experienced that in life but He tests people, their perseverance, their faith before granting. I think that was sort of a sign for me to (further) strengthen my faith in God.

There were two boats out there. When we got close, one of them started playing out loud this really old Indian song. I thought no matter how loud you play I am not going to sit in your fancy boat. Really I have recently developed this phobia about water.

The low water level and the dry weather was worrying otherwise it was a nice afternoon out! 🙂

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2008 4:43 pm

    your writings shows and proves to me that you had a great potential to have a solid faith and solid connection with Allah 🙂

  2. October 19, 2008 6:36 pm

    wonderful… what an excursion and with seafood in the menu, mouth-watering 😛

    you’re absolutely right, this is the true image of Pakistan. True in the sense that majority of Pakistanis are deprived of the most basic of necessities where worldwide such necessities are considered to be birth rights.

    i do find the remark of “brute” somewhat unpleasant but then again, it has been the courtesy of media of portraying every man with beard and every woman with hijab to be associated with extremism … very saddening and heart-breaking

    Coming back to the bright side of this expedition, you should have ride on the boat !

  3. Ayesha permalink
    October 19, 2008 8:44 pm

    Naveed: I can only try 🙂

    Yes, Exquisite the fish was really well cooked 😛

    Brute is a strong word but you have to visit this place. I am sure you’d get scared. They are my own people but honestly, sometimes I get scared the way they ogle. It’s like they kill you with their eyes 😀

    And you aren’t the only one, my brother also said that I should have taken a boat ride. Er! I don’t regret missing it… nothing can beat phobia 😛

  4. Ordinary Girl permalink
    October 19, 2008 10:51 pm

    First of all — I like the Shahid Afridi board! 😀 Khan sahib used to be my favorite in good old days! 🙂

    And that kid who was born after 10 daughters — *a deeep breath* all, I can say is that good thing that kid was born after at least 10 daughters, because judging from the parents’ ‘determination’ they would have to gone to any number of daughters! 😛

  5. Asma permalink
    October 20, 2008 5:38 am

    Very good pictures – I love sea food too – I like crabs and prawns most if they are cooked well. 🙂

  6. October 20, 2008 5:55 am

    What’s the place? .. It looks like sar daryaab where I with a few cousins went some two months back and savoured fish served with venigar. The place is almost the same showed in your pictures ..the shallow waters ..the colorful boats with loud music but where usually are a lot more people.

    A very nice descriptive post! 🙂

  7. October 20, 2008 5:57 am

    *sirka=vinegar … a pathetic misspeller I am! 😦

  8. bmk permalink
    October 20, 2008 7:14 am

    Water level is pretty low…

    I didn’t find this place so good. Perhaps having listened alot about it, expectations were high…& thus the disappointment.
    I visited it last Eid-ul-Fitr when I and even took a bath as well in the darya. It was cool laiken then I saw the wastes of fish & chickens at the bank… The postis near the bridge throw the wastes directly into the daryaab.

  9. Ayesha permalink
    October 20, 2008 3:58 pm

    OG: As they say Umeed pe duniya qaim hai 😛

    Asma: I don’t think I’ll ever try crabs 😕

    Aadil: It was somewhere close to Naguman. My cousin said this is Shabqadar. Yeah they served vinegar too 😀

    BMK: It’s pretty popular with people here. Actualy they say if you want to have the best cooked fish, visit sar daryaab… I avoided going there due to rush. The place we visited was really quiet!

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