By Nasira Jabeen
It is almost laughable. We are too reluctant to part with our extravagance and mindlessness, especially of things we have generously been conferred upon, then we ourselves are the very one to repent our folly and realize the value of the devalued.
The people of upper Chitral ran into the same situation a couple of weeks before. The heavy flood in the valley of Reshun, along with carrying with it the dwellers’ homes and possessions; leaving roads and bridges in an extremely dilapidated condition, deprived us of the well-reputed, powerful and long-availed energy supply for a considerable period of time.
The powerhouse of Reshun with its rare load shedding (except for few hours in winter) is a blessing indeed for the occupants of the area when only the other part (lower Chitral) witnesses the discomfort of its people resulting from the frequent load shedding. Though it too has not yet occasioned to any angry protest. But unfortunately, the energy is taken for granted by us all in the real sense of the words.
While it is still in the flow we become forgetful of its ever going away. It is used in the fullest possible way while it stays. This is justified if used as per the need but as if this is not enough it is overused, either consciously, or most probably reacting out of the spirit of devaluing things we grow accustomed to, only to long for a glimpse of brightness from the drooping bulb and the still tube light; to regret our lavish use and to enter a solemn pledge of a careful use, upon dawning of the similar dark situation on us.
Only then we begin to realize ourselves and assert our privileges of being older and wiser to have the value of the energy realized by the youngsters. In fact when it becomes difficult to attain or when it seems never to come again, remembering that once we had it and how liberally and carelessly we used it, set every one thinking and repenting; longing and recalling; recalling that how it had not suited their convenience sometimes to have the lights put out even and to have the fans switched off; how their TV was left on for long stretches of time when no one was watching it; how they used to press over and over when the creases of the clothes were already smoothed and how they used its other appliances when they could safely do without them.
Exactly the same situation every upper chitrali experienced and as hope springs eternal, passed each day hoping for the lights’ arrival and consoling themselves by the assertions like, ‘ its coming today, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…’ , this time when the nights could have been more darker had there not been the gas lights and lanterns and candles.
Interestingly, whilst the thought for lending energy its due value was getting determined, certain devalued things even started to be valued during the while. Each faithful lantern was instantly cherry-picked from amongst other such dust-layered heap of good old articles and revitalized to have its former glory attained and was saved from idle burning. Each gas light got even more superior station. Radios got active at homes which couldn’t bear to dispense with keeping up with the latest events and affairs.
This patience and the titanic struggle between hope and fear went on till late evening before Eid (all good be attributed to this festival) that we saw our homes brighten up with glowing bulbs and tubes. It appeared as if hearts with pent up feelings burst open and felt light and such cheerfulness that might have touched the hearts of the winter’s cold stones. The joy of it was seen by the heightened brightness and excitement in faces at the moment and in the happy cries calling the good news to one another.
Same conditions were encountered regarding water in some places of the area where the flood had done away with the water pipelines. Notwithstanding the trouble of fetching it cost the people; this difficulty was shaken off with comparative ease by degrees owing to the presence of natural resources of water luckily. And though far significant than energy, the water’s systematic reappearance did not excite that much enthusiasm and cheers, albeit people felt delighted and thankful.
That we take for granted all the blessings of God is as true as our own existence on earth. And God is ever vigilant too is even greater truth. The more little value we give to the objects of His benevolence on us, the more severely we are made aware of their importance and the more likely we are to suffer- at the utmost height of it- and repent like never we have repented, and the more we are made humble at the expense of His blessing.