My transfer from Chakesar was conditional to the roof slab of the Tehsil Building. The contractor’s tragic death delayed it as his family was under great shock. At the end of November, the son of the contractor, who was still a college student, took over the charge of the remaining work and geared up his staff to accelerate the work.
At last the slab was completed and on that very evening the snow fall started. We had provided an inch thick sand cover on the slab so that the snow or frost could not damage the roof. Next morning, the snow was some twelve inches thick in the plan area. Hakim Sahib Muhammad Sherin called Wali Sahib on phone to allow him go home via Opal Kandao Pass. There was no road but a mule track between Karora and Chakesar. He asked me to accompany him. I was very pleased and we left Chakesar the next day early in the morning. Hakim sahib was riding a mule and we followed on foot. Some ten soldiers were on duty to guide us through the snow which grew deeper and deeper till it reached our knees.
At the very top of Opal Kandao, Hakim Sahib left the mule as it was dangerous to ride downward. The soldiers made foot holds ahead of us and we followed them. Two men were holding Hakim Sahib because he was very old. I followed his footsteps. Once, I slipped and carried him and his attendants, sliding many yards. He turned to me when got stable and asked me to let the soldiers hold me. But I thought it not proper, being twenty one years old and carried on by myself, cautiously. We reached Karora late in the evening. The Incharge of Police post had lighted heavy logs in the fire place and we slept by it after dinner, exhausted.
The next morning, we were on board a transport truck, with chained tyres and reached safely Mingora by late noon time via Shangla. I was given five days rest leave which I needed very much.
Now some words about the people of Chakesar. They are the most hospitable, loving and caring people I have ever met in my forty three years of service. There were a few houses of Hindus minorities who were treated like other Muslim Majority. They were, all of them businessmen. Two drug stores were also run by them. A water channel passing through Hindus and Muslim houses and Masjids but both the sects used and kept it crystal clean.
A Hindu compounder, Siej Ram by name, was my very deep friend. He even took me inside his home and introduced me to his sisters as young brother of Dr.Sultan. I had explored all the valleys around Chakesar in his errands for attending his patients. I have always praises only when I talk about the people of Chakesar.
Hakim Sahib tendered his resignation and I was also adjusted locally, after a few visits to Chakesar, for some final touches.
To Be Continued…