A Morning With Farmers
It’s a great morning today, clouds have surprised us all. Dark skies and the temperature in the twenties on 6th of June in Lahore is a blessing. Super hot Jeth is covered by the roof of darkening shadows. The cool weather seems persistent this week denying the usual summer heat.
Without a roar, clouds begin to seep little rain drops in my front lawn. Trees dance in the rainfall and grass absorbs all of the fallen aqua under it’s dry skin. Air conditioning further chills the TV lounge. Tea tastes better and the aroma of Paratha and omelet adds more to the savour of a cloudy morning. Rain embellishes a special fragrance to the delta soil that soothes souls. Together the shallow breeze and sprinkle on the window glass orchestrate a gratifying melody of precipitation. Mist descends into the veranda on the left. Black skies cover Lahore like a burka hides Afghan beauty. Candidly, my heart is receiving it all. I also want this temperature to last longer. Along with the greenery, I wish we could preserve this weather.
Usually I spend summer in North America, this year COVID-19 makes this out of the question. Instead Northern weather follows me here. Everything and everyone is wondering where is this rain coming from in June? Herbs and bushes celebrate downpour, further straightening their leaves in order to welcome more drops. The entire life is revitalizing and promising to multiply at a greater magnitude.
I decided to go on a drive towards the river Ravi outside of the city on the Sialkot-Lahore motorway. Both sides of the freeway consist of rich agricultural lands. From the car, I saw both male and female farmers working strenuously in the field. I appreciated them from afar. Soon after, I felt compelled to get out of my car to take pictures. As I moved closer, I asked for permission to snap them. They did not allow me to photograph the females, I’m guessing because of their soaked attire. I conceded to their reasonable objection and proceeded to capture the males. In my exchange of words during the shoots, they conveyed their dismay towards the society for its complete disregard for them.
It is the paddy plantation season in Punjab. Under the scorching sun in an inundated muddy field, farmers sow the rice crop.The process of planting rice herbs is a very laborious task. The hot weather makes it even more demanding. On a morning like this, the farmers must be thankful to the clouds that shield the burning sun. It’s nothing less than a practice of surviving in hell. Rain for this plantation is Godsent. The cooler weather makes it easier for rice growers that plant by hand. Imagine dipping each herb into the soil in standing water, under the sun in temperatures above 100*F.
Most of the world is either fighting against the pandemic or protesting to seek justice and equality. Farmers indifferent to such affairs are determined to grow their crops in time. Just so we have food. These growers are doing the most important work, ensuring our food safety. The world does not pay any attention to the essential food warriors. Their work is hard but their payment is meagre. Worldwide, farmers are highly underpaid and at the verge of collapse. When the whole world is crying for change for equality and justice, I would like to present the case of agricultural labor before they come to the streets and shout for their rights. Governments across the globe should pay attention to their silent struggles. In the case that the agriculture workforce decides to go on strike, all of us would go hungry.
The famous Basmati rice is the major product of central Punjab. This land is so fertile that nothing refuses to grow here. Punjab is the food basket of the subcontinent. Multiple grains, rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, vegetables and fruits are among major crops here. At the moment, it is a season of mango harvest. Punjabi mangoes are world renowned and they are absolutely delicious.
Punjab is a major milk producing region in the world. Unique buffalo milk has a taste of its own. Since most of us are locked in our homes, I would like to present some photographs that I took on my long drive on the Sialkot-Lahore motorway. You can witness the fertility of Punjab on your screen. The story of the Sialkot-Lahore motorway is incomplete without the mention of river Ravi. Ravi divides eastern and western Punjab between Pakistan and India. The land of Punjabis may be divided between two countries but their culture, norms, taboos, dialect, and agricultural practices are the same. So is the industrious work and plight
of the farmers on both sides of the border.
Rainy weather is one of the most famous references in subcontinental literature and “swings of monsoon” is in the center of it.
A poem from a contemporary poet.
First drop of monsoon rain fell,
In the front yard of my clay house.
The aroma of the soil
Dominates across it.
Like your fragrance used to.
Golfer, poet, blogger, author, entrepreneur, wanderer