We planned to shoot a documentary on climate change, which is the most rapidly emerging issue potentially leading to environmental catastrophe around the globe.
Sir Asif, who teaches us TV production, has always encouraged me to work on the topic of climate change because Pakistan is a country that is highly affected by it. Experts say that Pakistan will face severe water crisis in the near future due to climate change.
In the beginning, we were three in the group including Umair, one of my classmates. We chose to work on the water crisis issue. Sir Asif discussed our plan during class to identify and locate our sources for the purpose. Umer, one of our other classmates who hails from Lower Dir, Timergara, and a group member, informed us about some villages in his hometown that face water scarcity. We were so happy because 50% of our documentary was completed when Umer revealed such information.
After much preparation at the pre-production phase, which spanned over one month, we finalized the schedule to depart for the shoot on the weekend after our mid-term exam.
Initially, we decided to travel using our own conveyance, and Umair had a car. Sir Asif also had a car, but he was not confident enough to drive on mountainous roads.
I talked to Sir Asif on the phone at midday after Umair left us due to some issue at his home. I suggested to Sir Asif that now we should take the local transport, and he agreed. Later on, in the evening on the same day, he called and informed me that one of my classmates Mudassir would be joining our group. Fortunately, Mudassir was a trained and experienced car driver, and we decided to travel in our own car.
The next day at 9 am, Mudassir reached Mardan and waited for us in Malakand Chowk. At 10, I met him, and we had breakfast together in a local restaurant nearby while waiting for Sir Asif. He arrived at Malakand Chowk at 10:20 am, and we left for Timergara at 10:30.
A teacher teaches you the course/course content that is described for a semester, and since both students and teachers strive to complete the syllabus required for exams, it usually leaves no extra time to discuss other things in the BS System. But I feel I am the most fortunate student because I have got numerous opportunities to spend time with my teachers, separately after class, and without any formalities that curb a student’s inner thoughts during class as they do not ask for. At this time, Mudassir and I luckily got an opportunity to travel with our teacher under the same roof.
During our journey, we discussed different issues related to traffic rules, diseases, agriculture, and our project.
Initially, the route we were travelling through offered me nothing new: I used to travel every year to Swat through the same route, but when we reached Chakdara and turned left to another path—which goes straight to Timergara—I was left amazed. There were new roads, different infrastructures, high–low mountains, greenery and weather—an environment entirely different from what I usually travelled to.
I didn’t know much about Timergara, and because I haven’t properly visited it before, I just knew what other ordinary people think of it. On entering its boundaries, a soft, fresh and cool air blew through the eye-catching scenery. The green and populated mountains prevailed in our minds after the journey, and the beautiful roar of the Panjkora River compelled us to stop and consider it for long—but we couldn’t, because we had a purpose, one that did not permit us to stop.
I enjoyed the journey as I took in all the beauty as much as I could—I did not even want to blink and miss any moment of its splendid and absolute beauty. We entered Tmergara main Bazar which was very wide and crowded the tall buildings and hyper-markets describe it as the central place.
Infact, Timergara is the district headquarters of Lower Dir District. It was originally named as Taimur Garh, after the famous Mangol conqueror Taimur, who had once stopped here long ago.
Umer received us in Timergara central Bazar, after having lunch with him at local restaurant Umer accompanied us and we first meet with the area’s MPA Malak Shafiullah Khan who is withal a retired Police officer, after verbalizing little and taking tea we interviewed him, he pointed out some major causes and solution for the issue facing his people and also told regarding his and his government initiatives to tackle the worse and rising water issue in his area.
We visited to the spot where we wanted to shoot. We went Umar Coat the diminutive village of Timergara where people were suffering from scarcity of water I will not be misconstrue if I verbally express there was no source of water because the area was on very height and no chance of built tube wells/to pump ground water locally.
Residents of the village are compelled to migrate somewhere else where there is no water issue because they utilize to buy water tankers for their daily use and those tankers priced much extravagant.
A 60 year old man told us that there were many trees of oranges and fertile agriculture land for onion, potatoes and other vegetables in his village (Umar coat) when there were lacks, strings and canal 10 years ago. They had no water issue and their people were very blissful, prosperous and relaxed before.
We went forward to meet other peoples but the time was flying and we stayed not for long there because the day was over and the tenebrosity spread over the entire village. After offering the Maghrib prayer we turned back from the village.
After having dinner with Umer at his hermitage, me and Mudassir exercised in the hermitage’s cortile for 20 minutes then I transmuted my outfit and switch on my laptop and crosschecked those videos which we shoot. After some conversation/discussions with Umer and his cousins on different topics including journalism, journalist and documentary I went to bed for sleeping.
In the morning, we woke up at nine, and after having our breakfast, we left for another village, Wazir Abad. Its people were also facing the same problem, but the difference was that they were using government tube well water and paying for the connection.
A few other characters were required for the documentary, but we only found a single person; the rest of them were not available for some reason. We wanted to interview the Tehsil mayor, engineers and well-educated individuals/professors, as Umer was a part of our group. But, he was playing the role of a fixer, because he belonged to Timergara and knew the related people needed for the said purpose.
The previous night, while in our lodging, we planned that after taking a few shots, we would have to leave for Mardan as soon as possible, because we did not want to travel at night. This was because Sir Asif planned to stay in Timergara, as his friends from there were insisting him to spend one more night with them.
We meet a person who worked for the transportation service provided by the local cars and flying coach stand in Timergara. The man was well aware of the area’s water issue and possessed much knowledge about Timergara’s political, social and economic affairs and problems. He briefed us about the water crisis and provided a solution for it, as per his own knowledge and mentality.
After interviewing the native old and experienced man, I closed my camera slide and smiled at Sir Asif and Umer; they smiled at me as well. We finally breathed in cool air of happiness and released our weariness. Our smiles represented the sense of relaxation and satisfaction we felt at that moment, which described our happiness on completing our extremely difficult project. We rushed to our car, where Mudassir was waiting for us. As he looked up and saw our faces full of happiness, he smiled as well, expressing his deep sense of satisfaction.
Sir Asif friends were waiting him in a local hotel we first went there and meet his friends and instantly left for Mardan. I was very exhausted and I slumbered in car all way Mudassir was driving and Umer was verbalizing with him.
My ocular perceivers opened when we were proximate to mardan. We reached in evening at 7pm and ceased precisely where we left for Timergara. Sir Asif brother was already there to receive the car. Umer peregrinated to his hostel room and Mudassir left for Nowshera and I picked Rikshaw and went to home.
It was my first experience to peregrinate to Timergara. I found Timergara far better than my own prospects. Its enrich culture, people’s hospitality, and its locations genuinely impressed me. There people are well inculcated and studying in different Universities around the Country and additionally abroad. Its lush green mountains and Panjkora River are playing vital role in its comeliness.
Written by: Muhammad Waseem
Global Young Journalist – Pakistan Chapter