Visit My Village

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We lived in a small village Gadi at the foothills of the hot, dry Black Mountains, of Suleiman Range in Taunsa Tehsil Pakistan. Only one ancient well provided water for the village; all of the houses crowded around it. Everybody knew how precious it was. I always loved those mountains. The silence and somber hills were ready to pull me into their warm embrace.

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Agriculture and livestock were the source of living. The hill torrents, in the rainy season, locally known as ‘Rod Kohis’ were source of irrigation. These torrents flew down from the mountains in high speed and stopping that flood for irrigation was really something amazing but dangerous because the floods in hill torrent areas were unpredictable and erratic nature. Millets, Wheat and oil seeds were the main crops.

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My favorite person was our shepherded. His name was Hussaini Powely. He worked hard for us. Each morning he drew water from the village well. His strong arms brought up bucketful after bucketful without ever seeming to tire.

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Hussaini would take the animals out to graze, patiently leading the slow, scattered herd to the pastureland beyond the houses. He would remain with them all day long, ever-watchful for predators and danger, caring for them as his own children. After returning them to their pens at the end of the day, he would reappear in the village, riding on the slow, old donkey, his weathered face and wind-whipped clothes hanging on his thin frame. He began to bring me gifts — wild fruits, beautiful flowers, and tasty mushrooms. The gifts were nice, but it was the stories for which I waited. He had a quiet, gentle way of making ideas come alive, and story-time quickly became a favorite part of my day.

He possessed a wit and sense of humor that could make anyone laugh. Thursdays and Fridays were Ditha’s favorite days. The more superstitious in our village made deliciously sweet dishes and left them among the grove of olive trees to appease the “ghosts.” Hussaini would sneak into the grove and eat the food, causing the villagers to marvel that their offering had been accepted. Each week they’d attack the practice with renewed faith and vigor. Hussaini ’s eyes would twinkle, and I could hardly contain gales of laughter.

I forgot to tell you that in winter hungry wolves would come out of the mountains to eat the sheep. Hussaini had lot of stories of hungry wolves.

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Muhammad Nasrullah Khan is a Pakistani-Canadian writer. His short stories are well-recognized internationally for his unique prose style, and really naive innocence of rural life of Asia. His short stories Donkey-Man and Only Nada Lives were nominated for the Story South Million Writers Award. Enlivened by the stories of great English and Russian writers, he has taken a pinch of fact and a cup of fiction to weave an embroidered creative work of adoration, trust, and agony in his stories. His work has appeared in Adbusters, Evergreen review, Indiana Voice Journal, Newtopia Magazine, Gowanus Books,Offcourse literary Journal University at Albany, The Raven Chronicles, and many others.

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