River View Fish
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?
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! 🙂