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Across the Desert and Over the Mountains

The Wink of A Desert

PAKISTAN | Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | Views [286] | Scholarship Entry

"We are in the heart of the Thal Desert."

The tires of our car had finally lost their battle with the sand and the road we had been travelling on had mysteriously disappeared when someone spoke those words.

I suddenly became aware of a distant, dull throbbing. For a minute I just stood there, trying to ignore the familiar yet alien sound. I focused instead, on the stark landscape comprising thousands of bleached brown sand dunes, stretching for miles in every direction, ablaze under the fierce intensity of the 3 p.m. sun. The color of the sand seemed to mimic the skin complexion that female inhabitants of this area succeed in achieving only after years of passionate and regular application of fairness creams.

Unable to ignore it any longer, I turned towards where the throbbing seemed to originate and slowly traced a path along the ridges of the sand dunes, standing out like the sharp creases in a pair of freshly ironed trousers. A few hundred meters ahead, the throbbing grew louder and the sand beneath my feet began to vibrate slightly. Quite unaware of what I was doing, I lay down on the top of fairly large and bulky dune and pressed my ear to the ground. I heard and felt what seemed to be the beat of a massive heart and in an instant the desert came to life.

It's pulse racing madly, the desert was roaring with laughter. My initial confusion turned into understanding and I began to laugh with it. Imbibing the character of rural Punjab, the desert had retained its sense of humor in the face of unimaginable hardships and extreme conditions, and couldn't resist playing a prank on the naive travelers. With a final chuckle, it released its death grip on the tires of the rusty little red car and shifted some of its dunes to reveal a lost road.

As the rusty little red car made its way down the lost road, I turned around for a final look. There was a quick shift in the shadows, the desert winked mischievously . I smiled, knowing that Punjabi men can never resist a lewd farewell gesture.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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