Rescue on the sea – Ep. 2/2
By Zeenat Iqbal HakimjeeTuesday – July 10, 2018
A rule of the sea states, that half the purchase price of the vessel of the sea is given to the rescue party. This prize money was quite a temptation, but since it was always dangerous the case required to be argued, all hands knew that the proposed journey was perilous.
The village women all having gathered on the beach, saw their men disappear, reappear, disappear, reappear and finally disappear into the darkness.
They were now a tiny speck in the vast vista of the sea – the ocean that is open to all and merciful to none, that which threatens even when it seems to yield, pitiless always to weakness.
Many of the Makrani women now worked as domestic servants in Karachi; they were also experts in the art of massaging any mother and child after birth. Their traditional long dresses with hand-woven embroidery gave them a distinct ‘folk’ touch, separating them from the typical Karachiites.
The skirt-like look, with its wide circumference, and the loose shalwar could be compared to the costumes of the pathan and Kabuli women.
The men in the rescue boat changed sides, so as not to tip the balance of the boat as the surf sprayed them from head to toe. The taste of salt lingered in their mouths during the voyage.
They were not bothered by their appearance. On the contrary, they felt no different from when they started out dry.
Suddenly, a dark object was thrown at them on the crest of a wave. It was a man. They held on to the poor fellow and eventually succeeded in dragging him aboard. Nobody felt sorry that this time, there was no prize. They rowed back to their village.
Couples fought with each other to offer hospitality to this half dead man; and they almost came to blows in their struggle for this visa to heaven.
They fetched a doctor from a nearby village, while the women sat all around him wearing their beads. The doctor was a Karachiite who had been sent to the village to serve them. The doctor prompted the man to speak.
The man said, “Mahganj” very faintly. Repeated attempts, received the same response. The diagnosis stated that he was a victim of a traumatic shock and was suffering from amnesia, which meant a loss of memory, if only temporarily.
The priest, who was also a member of the village council, was also summoned, as was the case in other similar incidents. “What’s going on here?” he asked one of the ladies. “A miracle” said all the ladies together. The Makrani women are predominantly Muslim.
The priest was briefed about the rescue and what followed. Being an elderly fellow, he recalled that a girl by the name of ‘Mahganj’ had been registered in the mosque some eighteen years ago.
Now, it was easy to put two and two together. The man they found was associated with Mahganj and was discovered as belonging to the same village as her’s. He was also supposed to marry her.
Mahganj was the granddaughter of the village tailor. Thus it was decided that the man be taken back to the same village that he originated from. Similar surroundings would help to revive his memory, it was hoped.
A therapist was hired from the city and surely, slowly though, his memory came back in bits and pieces.
Mahganj’s presence always evoked a response in the man, so strong was the bond of love. His memory did eventually return, which in turn led to their marriage. They led a happy married life.
Very little has been written about the ancient coastal people of Lyari – the irrepressible Makranis – who take their name from the Makran coast of Sindh and, Balochistan, which also indicates a common history of the two provinces; the Makran coast constitutes the South-East of Iran and the South-West of Pakistan; a 1,000 km stretch along the Gulf of Oman from RA’s (cape) Al-Kuh, Iran (West of Jask), to the Lasbela District of Pakistan (near Karachi). The Makran coast is on the Arabian Sea, to the North-West of Quetta in Balochistan.
The above is a story of one such coastal village...
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