I didn’t have my tablet for the day in Bam Abala, Finn and Andre have some photos that we can try and get uploaded.
Amar served an amazing breakfast in the morning: fresh yogurt, eggs, daal, and a spicy spinach dish. After breakfast we went to look around the village and see the dancing horse. Shahid took us first to the mosques, a simple but attractive building. The Pakistan mosques, for the most part, are a lot simpler than those in Sunni Turkey or Shia Iran. The minarets aren’t as tall, the domes not as wide, but the decoration very detailed in its own way, much closer to what I’d expect in India, which I suppose makes sense.
After the mosque we went to see the dancing horse, an event that took up most of the day. We went to the horse pen, but the musicians and master who could make the horse dance took a long time to arrive. While waiting we got to see a competition that a lot of the men in the village like to get involved in: homing pigeon endurance. They release their pigeons into the air and see whose can last the longest without coming down.
After a long time the dancing horse show was ready to begin. Shahid explained that it in the summer there was a big competition between all the villages to see who had the best dancing horse. The horse was trained to ‘dance’ when it heard the music played in a drum and horn that sounded like a kazoo. I can’t really say that the show was all the amazing in the end, but everybody there (a crowd had gathered once the music started) seemed very proud of their dancing horse.
We went to visit a friend of Shahids, another cousin. He had been paralysed from the neck down after a motorcycle accident eight years ago. He was bedridden now but Shahid explained that two or three Lasharis and friends sat with him at all times to talk and keep him company. The way the village had pulled together to support one their own in difficulty was inspiring. The man himself was curious and friendly and very happy to hear about our experience in Pakistan.
After an hour we left to visit another friend of Shahid’s. This man owned an orchard, and though it was dark by the time we got to him he had a small fire going in the little hut at the edge of the orchard. They had just finished picking the oranges and had saved the best ones in a box for us all to eat. They were the most delicious oranges I’ve ever had. Shahids friend was very interested to talk to us, specifically about Islam and Pakistan and his dissatisfaction with the current situation. It was an extremely enlightening conversation from someone who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.
Finally we returned to Amar’s house for one final meal, another barbecue cooked up by the man himself. Amar had worked for a while up in Karakorum we found, back when tourism was still a growing industry in Pakistan before 9/11. Now he was back in warm Punjab and didn’t want to go back up to the cold North again.
More visitors again, of course we were more than happy to speak to everyone. They all seemed so intrigued by us. The headmaster if the local school, the same school that Amar’s Young sin Mehrooz attended, asked us to come visit the school tomorrow before we left for Lahore. Then another cousin, a guy who had spent seven years in England studying came by. He was the most surprised to see us of all.
Amar had us up late and when we finally went to bed we were tired, full and happy.
One thought on “Bama Bala”
Brilliant post. ‘Tears in me eyes…’