One day, when I was entering my house lobby, back from my office, I saw her standing in a corner, a with a bundle in her hands. I stammered what she was doing here and how she knew my house. She replied she had left her house for ever and would not go back. She had come to stay with me, if not as a lawful wife, then as a servant. I persuaded her with great difficulty and assurance I would bring her in proper, honourable way. She agreed to return, with my promise to approach her father for her hand.
The main problem for me then was how to approach my father. No doubt he loved me but it did not empower me to violate family traditions or make so vital decision of my life without his consent. So, I decided to send some friends to tell my father about my resolve of marrying Roshi.
Mr. Abdul Qayum, my colleague in office and Mr.Khalifa, a joint friend agreed to see my father next evening after Esha prayers. I told my father about the impending visit of my friends. He asked me the purpose of their coming, I replied in the negative.
That evening it was raining very heavily and I doubted they would come in that stormy dark night. But they did come as promised. As they sat near the fire place and got relaxed, I left the room and stood outside in the veranda, my ears to the conversation between them.
After they told my father about the family background of Roshi, my father’s voice rose to a pitch he never used before and bluntly refused. He said, “We may be poor but we have never gone out of our traditions. Tell my son if he still persists to marry that girl, he should live elsewhere. I will try to bear my pain of losing a son, I love most in the world.”
I did not stop to hear more and went out in the dark rainy night. I kept on walking on the road. Not a soul was visible and I had my grief only to company me. At dawn I returned home, drenched and tired. I had a high fever that day. Lying half conscious, I felt my father’s hand on my forehead. He spoke with pain in his voice.
“My son, please help me going through this problem. I cannot afford to lose you, nor I can agree to your wish. Choose any one in the family or outside but not this one.” So I lost Roshi forever. But later events proved my father’s refusal was correct.
During the early 50s, poverty was the main issue of this part of the world. The State utilized all its resources to provide jobs to its people but the meager resources restricted the State jobs to education & health services. Hundreds of educational institutions could accommodate, at the most, four thousands, more or less. Keeping in view these hard facts, Wali Sahib did not dissolve the State Army, when peace settled in the area, but utilized them in construction projects, related to communications. So if we calculate on the safe side, the State could provide overall job opportunities to thirty thousand people in various departments of the State.
Agricultural sector yielded as much as half of the population could live on it. Hybrid Revolution was yet far away and the lands produced less than its capacity. So most of the people were compelled to leave their homes and go to other parts of the main land, specially Karachi, which in local dialect, we pronounced Kalachai. I do not know what was the situation in other parts of the State, but in our village Aboha, most of the grown up males were living in Karachi. Only old and kids were visible and some well-to-do landowners and the Gujars.
Some areas like Banaras, Agra Taj, Shershah, Patel Parha were almost Pathan populated clusters. My elder cousin was the first in our family to leave for Karachi, when he was yet in 7th class. Then his other brothers also left the village. Luckily my cousin got job in the Brook Bond Co., and soon became Supervisor. He recruited all his brothers and a large number of his mother’s kith & kin.
Another family of Mullahs of our village also living in Karachi. This family had enough lands but as I said early, could not enough to live on it. My cousin also recruited them in Brook Bond as they were his mother’s relatives. In 1958, he married a girl of that family, so in a way they became our relatives also.
Time went on and in 1965, I decided to get married, but with whom? That was a million dollar question. And how, where the money would come from? That was a two million dollar question. State P.W.D was not like the Pak P.W.D. You have to live on your salary. I was supervising construction of two Middle Schools at Manyar & Aboha.
One day I went on a bicycle to Aboha, left it in the house of my cousin’s in laws house which was on the main road and went up the village to my own “Cham” at the foot of a mount. As I returned to that house where my cycle was parked, my cousin’s mother in law asked me to have a cup of tea. The tea was made by one of her daughter. It tasted very delicious and soothing .I left them, thanking for the tea.
Reaching Saidu Sharif, I suddenly decided to marry that girl, at any cost. That’s how I met my would be wife, with whom I spent forty five years of my life.
To Be Continued…