LISTEN TO SILENCE
There are times in life when you can literally listen to silence.......
Some of you may never have heard of this phrase before nor will you give emphasis on the literal meaning of this and some may just skip reading this thinking it to be some kind of an over statement of an eager mind but remember One who does not understand your silence will never appreciate the wisdom of your words.
I fell in love with this utopian paradise on a hunting trip about a year ago...... as it is like Shangri-La...........
Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance.
The phrase "Shangri-La" is derived from Tibetan ,"Shang" - a district, pronounced "ri", "Mountain" = "Shang Mountain" +la ལ, Mountain Pass, "Shang Mountain Pass".
Once you are on Murree road about 10 minutes drive from the convention centre after turning right from BARA KOW at satra meel (MILESTONE 17) you are on the Murree expressway and then a short distance before the toll plaza there is an arrow sign showing a right curve to Angoori. You take this right curve and find yourself on a single metalled road which is narrow and not well maintained as the sides and the road shoulders are in a dilapidated conditions but the aura and ambience is scenic and beautiful that you forget about the bad condition of the road and focus on the greenery and enjoy the drive.
The first hamlet that comes is MALLATA which has a very winding road and a small causeway that passes in front of the mosque & the speed becomes slow, crossing that you find yourself climbing a small gradient passing through green fields and a small row of thatched houses which are a reminder that we are still living in the medieval times. There are large poultry farms scattered at varying distances on the road side giving you a nostalgic aroma & constantly reminding you that the ecological balance is being slowly eroded those of you who have a sensitive olfactory nerve may have to hold their breath for a minute or two once you get past the foul stench of the poultry farms.
Short drive and you are now passing the hamlet of Bobri which is the last boundary of Islamabad & from there the boundary of Rawalpindi district starts .Then onwards is a small descent and you come to a big ravine which you cross by a bridge as water is flowing beneath it and at a distance on the left side you can see a beautiful cascade which can also serve as an ideal place for family picnic.
From this place onwards there is a steep ascent for about five miles and you have to put your vehicle in low gears in order to make this climb which might be taxing on the old vehicles and even the experienced drivers with new vehicles may experience difficulty in the drive. To compensate this is the beautiful scenery through the lush green hills and your first hand inter action with mother nature and not to forget the English poet William words worth whose poem the cherry tree is still fresh in ones memory even after a lapse of many years.
The next hamlet is Talhar with a small free dispensary and the drive for the next 20 minutes or so is a constant steady incline at an even gradient and finally you start seeing signs of houses and buildings in the foreground and then the board of union council Angoori can be seen with a small village bazaar this is called Behak Gali which the villagers pronounce as back gali.
You go past the village bazaar and after 200 yards you come to an inconspicuous turning on the right which is surreptitiously not visible as it is camouflaged and shaded from the eye by vegetation and over growth and you park your car there. Take your belongings in a back pack along with a bottle of water for it is a down ward trek of about 1.50 km on a dilapidated dirt track which is not there. This takes a good hiker about 25 minutes to complete as in the last section there is a steep climb of more than 200 feet and you may become breathless in the last stage.
Finally you are in DHOK DUMMA which is a mini shangrila la where time stands still for you, if you want as here you are secluded from civilisation and have no contact with the outside world as the mobile signals don’t come here. Here you can throw away your tranquilisers and your worries & enjoy mother-nature at the same time you can also do meditation and appreciate Gods creation.
A strong lover of nature like me somehow finds here solace, solitude, seclusion and peace of mind with a strong affinity to my creator and his creations.
The greenery & the weather is ideal as in May June you may need a blanket at night and a refuge from the scorching heat of the plains in summers. Appreciate the shrubs, herbs, hedges, trees, twines the wild growing green grass and the blooming flowers, the chirping of the birds the cawing of the ravens and the distant call of the jackals all built together as a nature’s orchestra which is very soothing to ears which have become so much accustomed to the noise and din of the traffic of the town life which is only one hour drive from this place.
Now coming to the caption of my article LISTEN TO SILENCE because here you can literally listen to silence as you can hear your heart beat and if you have a burpy stomach then you can also listen to the complaints of your stomach which usually groans in protest over your over eating. Dhoke Dumma is like Shangri la as narrated by James Milton in his novel as time literally stands still but about the longevity of the residents I cannot say with much certainty as modernisation is catching up with them but over all the people are strong and sturdy as they have to walk several kilometres to reach places and the women folk have to fetch water from long distances from springs and brooks which are located at a height from their abode.
So next time you feel tense apprehensive & depressed just take pack your haversack lunch a bottle of mineral water put on your walking shoes and head for the hills your escape from modernization into the pacifying serenity of Shangri la and take refuge in the arms of mother nature in Dhoke Dumma which awaits you only 30 minutes away from Islamabad..
Dr. Babur Zahiruddin