Never Ever Dream Again (Autobiography of Fazal Raziq Shahab) Part 48

My last three years of service were a continuation of my struggle to survive against all odds. The Contractors Mafia led by a local man, belonging to an old feudal house from Mingora, opposed me in every way possible. As they failed to achieve undue favours from me, they went in a body to the XEN Highway Swat, who issued verbal orders to the Divisional Accountant not to entertain any bill submitted by me. But I had already recorded the measurements along with cost and submitted to the Account Branch. The issue between us was technical and I was sure of myself I was on the right. But one of my colleague was asked to change the bill. He just added one line of calculation and a fudge payment was apparently regularized. I thought it better to leave the project.

But just imagine the irony of fate when I was retired, the same contractor approached me time and again to work for him. I was getting Rs.2900 as pension per month. He offered me Rs.30000 (Thirty thousand) per month. I refused bluntly and told his man that I could not address him as Khan. Much later, one of my ex Officers contacted me to see  him. He was running a Private Girls College. He asked me to help him as PRO in the College as he was now far away on service. He also said he could pay me only Rs.2500 per month. I accepted the offer. I used to sit in my office and dealt with the parents of the girls and some other matters.

One day I wrote a statement elaborating the achievements of the institution and sent it through the administrator of the college to a local Daily.They adjusted it on the front and back pages.The Editor offered me through that man to write for them and they would pay me for my articles. I refused as I thought myself not fit for that type of writing.

It was 2005 and just for a change, restarted writing Pushto poetry after many years. I have drowned my thousands of verses in River Swat. Those Diaries later appeared in the shape of a booklet, ” YAO THARAZ  DWA KHIALONA”   with parodies by Dr.Amir Fayaz Pirkhel in July 2007, published by Shoaib Sons Publishers, Mingora, Swat.

During my 42 years plus long service, I faced many odd situations but of one thing I am dead sure, I felt mentally satisfied during my 8 years of State service. My inner heart and soul were satisfied. I had no regrets whatsoever .That was a period of integrity and a proud feeling of complete satisfaction. After merger, not only the values changed but also the bases of keeping yourself in the good books of officers were also altogether against my experiences in the State era. Now those field staff were acceptable who could earn more than the “halal” commission of 18 %, valid sense the origin of these organisation. But my inflexibility often resulted in denial of that routine even at least so far I was concerned.

This was not my own developed quality. But it was in our blood. My brother Sultan Mahmood was a junior clerk in DC office, Swat. The Superintendent asked him to work as licence clerk. So he did the job according to rules. After a month his immediate boss asked him to give his share. Sultan was astonished what he meant. He told him that licence is the right of every citizen so why he should take bribe for it. The Supdtt: changed his seat to record branch and wrote in his ACR that Sultan was a negative minded official.  When he got a chance in NADRA as Assistant, he left DC office. He retired from NADRA as Regional Registrar but he was as penniless as the day he joined. Now he is living from hand to mouth on his pension.

  I do not claim I was Mr.Clean.I had some very undesirable habits and I confess I could not give up these as I never tried to do so. Actually I thought myself irresistible to the opposite gender and this deceitful self assumption often placed me in warm water. When Hiace flying coaches were not yet introduced, Ford wagons used to ply between Mingora and Daggar, Pirbaba and Sawarhai. The regular Stand was near the Rainbow Hotel, New Road Mingora.

I was going back to Daggar after attending a Court, representing my Department in a Civil Suit.The Wagon was almost full except 2 seats in the back. I was carrying a bundle of files related to the case. There were two burqa posh ladies in the last seat of  four. I sat in a corner leaving a seat space between me and the women.A very old man was asked by the conductor to set between me and the women. One of them strongly objected to this.The conductor asked them either to let the baba sit with them or pay for the vacant seat. One of them asked to sit near her saying, “Rorai,tha zama khwa tha kena”. I felt shy and my cheeks were almost burning but she insisted and the cleaner also pleaded, so I moved near her and let the old man have my seat.

We were out of the city, I had the bundle of files in my lap. Without any asking, the girls sitting by my side took the files away, placing them on her bag. She removed her veil. She was a fresh Girl, may be 18 or more, stunningly beautiful. I was almost jolted to see her.I put my hands on the back of the front seat to rest a little. Those days, my hands were not so bony or burnt as now. They were soft, fluffy and the blood almost oozed out of them. She looked at them with longing eyes. I could read every word in her eyes.I quickly put my hands in my lap.Feigning a jolt in a curve of the road, she clutched my hand. She was making moves very cautiously. The older woman, I later learnt was her mother.They were going to Pirbaba for begging to solve her domestic problem.

When we reached Pirbababa stop, near a hotel where from these Tourist Wagons plyed to many destinations, we got down. I took back my bundle of files from the girl and wanted to get away from them. I could not afford a scandal as I was known to the locals especially the drivers who gathered in the hotel waiting for their turn. But the girl gripped my arm as if we were some close relations. She said in a husky voice.”I am hungry, won’t you buy me lunch.” Unwantedly, I took them into a room and asked the waiter to feed us the best they had. We were sitting on the cots. She was so close to me that I felt the heat rising every minute in her body and emotions. Suddenly she said, “I want to give you a beautiful child. Let us go for it.” I moved away from her and remained on alert to avoid her approaches.

After lunch, I left them at the gate of the grand masjid and went to Daggar in a Mardan bound bus. I can not claim that I was a saint but sometimes I failed to resist the temptations of some aggressive creatures. l would like to quote a score of adventures but ,”fasad-e-khalq” make me to keep quiet.

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