Written by: Zonish Khan
After few minutes of suffocating myself under the sheet, I pulled it down hoping there was no one standing next to me. Just then, I heard a heavy thumping sound becoming louder with every step. I looked over to my cousin’s bed and wondered how she could sleep so peacefully. Suddenly, I felt something fluffy and feathery brushing my feet… really softly. My eyes opened wide as I lifted my head to see what it was. “Aaaauntyyyy!” I shrieked. I couldn’t really see what it was but I knew for sure that this black figure with four legs was definitely not a friend. My aunt quickly hopped from her bed and shooed away the creature out of the door saying, “Tony I told you not to come here. You will not get food tomorrow if you repeat this.” I sat up staring at my aunt, my face completely pale. She came to me laughing and said, “No need to be scared. It is our pet dog. Tony is very loyal. I can tell from your face that you haven’t slept the whole night. Your mother won’t be happy if she knows about this. Come sleep with me.” I accepted the offer gladly and jumped into my aunt’s bed. Now that I had protection by my side, I closed my eyes and was lost in sleep after my first adventure in the village!
There was no alarm clock, no mom, no phone call to wake me up rather the sharp bright sun rays pierced through my eyes, giving me a wakeup call. It was amazing how everyone was wide awake at 7 a.m unlike the city where there is no waking up unless you have to go to work. I got out of my bed, took a quick shower and sat down with my cousins to a traditional village breakfast. I saw my aunt, sitting on the other end of this long backyard next to a circular stove made of mud with different sized twigs thrown in it. After burning the sticks, she placed a brown mud based pot over the stove and started cooking. After few minutes when she was done making the curry, she took dough and started making several balls of the same size. Next, she took a wooden roll and rolled it over them one by one as they flattened into more slacking shape. Last step was to place them carefully in the stove for few minutes and then pull them out with a long, thick iron rod. Finally she placed those Chapattis’ (flat bread) on steel plates and applied thick yellow butter cubes as they melted on its hot crunchy surface. Lastly she placed a spoon full of curry on it and brought it to me. I was electrified seeing as my mouth dripped water as I honestly enjoy traditional food more than anything else; I took every piece slowly enough to enjoy every bit of its buttery taste.
Now that we were full, my three cousins took me around the village. As we stepped out of the door, I noticed these endless fields of wheat stretching out as far as the eye could see. They seemed like sheets of velvet and gold shimmering under the sun as they waved with the soft wind. I have never seen such an exquisite and scenic place in my life as this. Then there were trees which seemed as if they were dancing along with the wind as the birds hovered over their branches twittering and chirping. Just then my moment of serenity was ruined by the loud barking of dogs heading towards me with their claws ready to get me once they reached. As I saw them dashing towards me, I felt my legs being locked and my feet being glued to the ground. I felt my blood drain out as I pressed my cold finger tips and started shivering. That’s when, one of my cousins, dragged me back in to the door and shut it close. “Zonish calm down. OMG! Haven’t you seen dogs before or what? All these people are going to think you are crazy. They are not going to eat you. They do this to every new person that comes to the village but we always control them.” A realization hit me for acting so silly and I felt so embarrassed of myself. Honestly, they were not going to eat me.
As I stepped out again, I noticed some people peeking out of their doors and looking at me curiously. I gazed down at the ground and we escaped from there. Walking along these beautiful fields, there was so much to notice about the lives of these people. I could see females bent down, hidden in tall thick fields, cutting grass and securing them neatly in to a thick bundle with a piece of cloth and then placing it either on their heads or their waist bump and heading to their destination. These women are so admirable as they not only tidy their houses, take care of kids, cook food and wash dirty laundry but even come to work in the fields in such blazing heat of the day. They, unlike people in the city, don’t have any maids or any baby sitters rather they are all in all. Moving ahead, on our way, we plucked some fruits from trees and ate them. The sharp lemony taste of raw mango made me shiver as my face wrinkled. We had a good laugh together and I captured some of these amazing scenes in my camera. After some time my cousin came to me and questioned. “Zonish are you feeling hot? Guess what? I will take you somewhere amazing now.” This made me so curious to what she was talking about and I jumped in excitement agreeing with her. At a little distance we reached in front of a square, cemented tube well with bursting crystal-clear water gushing out and spraying in the air. It is said that this water flow is natural from underground and is very clean and pure. I stood there, my mouth open in amazement, when my cousin pulled me in. Unexpectedly the water was freezing ice and I lost myself in it as the water beads spurted in the air and we splashed water on each other. It was near sunset and we had to head back or else aunty would be angry. We forced ourselves to step out and finally head back to home with soaked clothes as we left wet trails, making the sand damp.
As we came back home, my aunt dropped a bomb by announcing that my mom had called and someone was coming to pick me up.
“But mom allowed me to stay here for two days. This is not fair,” I protested.
“Dear, I insisted that she allow you to stay here for at least one more day but she said you guys have to go somewhere,” she explained.
I frowned and swallowed the bitter pill. Quickly, dried myself and changed. On our way towards the road, I thanked them, as they came to see off. My car was here and I had to leave. I hugged them tightly and begged them to visit the city again before we left for Dubai. Though it was just one night and one day, I had collected memories equal to hundred years. They still play through my mind like an album as I flip through every page and drown in the memories. There is no doubt that I would love to re-live those days however nothing is like the first experience.