In the Search of Snow
It’s been said that a travel loving person do not bother the weather conditions, he only travels. Well I am neither a proper traveler nor a well defined travel account writer. But one thing is fact that the urge of visiting and knowing about places has always a special place in my heart. It was the time when last days of my college were passing and the announcement of a tour broke out that college is arranging a tour to SWAT valley (it was March 2007 months before all that Taliban fuss came out). I got permission from home along with the required amount to be submitted in college. On the announced date I was ready for the journey and collected all the required stuff e.g. money, eatables, bag and other stuff & somehow reached the college. The time for the arrival of the bus was announced to be 9:00 pm. But as usual (I don’t know why we really don’t care about the timing) the bus was late it came at about 1:00 am. That was not all with the bad luck of mine.
The bus was not as per standard. We changed the buss it was even worse. Now at about 2:50 am near 30 young men were looking for some good buss near the Lahore Fort (I can’t write the exact location). Finally we got one and it was much batter. So finally our journey got started and I have no idea when I fall asleep. I and my other 3 friends woke up at dawn, we’ve reached KALAR KAHAR than, we were feeling to be hungry at that time and climate was also turning to be colder now. So I pulled out my woolen shawl to cope the changing climate and Nimko to beat the hunger.
Buss was on her way and soon a board got my attention and it was having these words written over it; “Welcome to the Land of Hospitality”. It indicated that we were no more in Punjab and the territory province of N.W.F.P has begun. At about 2:00 Pm we reached a place which is very famous and have been in news for last 2 years or so but as usual I have forgotten the name. We had our lunch there but the best thing was the interesting and dangerous roads were about to start from there. Till 4:00 our “ASAAB GAVE THE ANSWER”. Everyone was frustrated due to this long journey regardless the fact that we were than in the district of Swat. We came across to the river of swat and it was nice to clap to see it, but it got worse when this exercise of clapping was forced on us again and again and in the mean while we came to know that we have lost the way. That brought the level of my frustration almost to the peak of it. We spent more than two hours in SWAT and our state can be better said as “RAJ K KHAJAL HUY”.
After completing the noble cause of knowing and measuring the length of roads we reached “BAHRAIN”. The arrangements of our stay were in “Hotel KB5”. At that time I did not bother to know about the meaning of this name bit one thing is sure it has nothing to do with THE KB5; Russian Secret Services. We (4 of us) got the room and thank GOD it was separate than the others. Beautiful sights could be seen from the window as the walls of this room were part of the boundary wall of the building. At that time I wanted to take bath but the news that the water is extremely cold was like that someone throw water on my plan.
After changing we went out of the hotel to search food. There was no arrangement in the hotel kb5 for food (as according to them we were visiting that place during out-season time). Finally we got some food at SANGAM Hotel. It’s called Sangam Hotel because of the Swat river meets other river exactly where that hotel is. We get at home in with the guy serving us food there to collect information to be seen places there in SWAT. That was the time I hear the word “SALAJEET” for the first time in life and during the travel I kept hearing this word again and again.
After the dinner we had a walk on the road, it was interesting place as the river was flowing by side and making a lot of voice, there were shops hotels on the both sides of the road and even at that time (about 10:00 Pm) many shops were open these shops were having things like some, decoration pieces and many other things. Well now something about the hotel KB5; it was a nice place and much more than what I expected. The hall was the best place in the hotel as per me. The furniture and wood made local articles and the wood work of the hall was a must to be seen object. The only source of entertainment in the room was our cell phones. TV was available but it was costly as its rent was much more than the utility (almost no use of it). So in such way our first day in SWAT Valley came to end and we fall asleep to see an exciting day ahead.
In the morning I had to force myself to wake up as I never wanted to lose the chance of taking bath. We decided about the turns; so according to the protocol BILAL was the one to go for it. AZEEM told me that he takes a lot of time so u can have another round of sleep. Anyways as we got ready we had our breakfast which we were carrying right from Lahore with us.
Now we all 4 were in the Bazaar of Bahrain. The same river which was irritating me last evening now it was looking much more charming to me.
Clean air and beautiful sceneries and a bazaar having TANWA-TANWA Banda was roaming in it, and if there was some hustle and bustle it was due to the boys from our college. We get snaps clicked and performed “Lahori Rang Bazi”. We were busy in measuring the length of road and bazaar of Bahrain and the cell phone of BILAL rung. It was SADAQAT and he informed us that he has arranged a jeep and they are going to KALAAM and there is space for 4-5 people.
I thanked Allah after looking at the people in the jeep. As they were very much reasonable. Well the journey begun and snow covered mountains were now can be seen. There were some people with the conductor and those guys were giving misleading answers to our questions. One guy HABIB KHAN was with us and he translated their Pashto conversation for us and they were saying “what ever we say they gona believe it”. As soon as they got to know this talent of HABIB they started talking in KOHISTANI.
We kept traveling on that road like dangerous track which was lying along with SWAT River. At many places there were proof of land sliding and the height was created when we reached a place and got a bad news that there is glacier on the road and we cannot travel any more on this jeep if we want to go to KALAAM.
It was decided that we should cross this glacier on foot and hire another jeep for KALAAM. As I was in the search of snow it was a fun for me to press that snow by my feet, but 2-3 times that snow make me fall but I never lost courage. In the mean while few people were coming from the other side and asked us that where were we going to? As they got to know that we were heading towards KALAAM; they sketched the Kalaam to us in a way that I seemed to me as old or I should say ancient town of Europe.
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