The bullet injury: real life story
(By Sajjad Amin Bangash)
It all started off with an extreme anger among all of my relatives in my “Millath” a term we what we call it for a family of relatives. Men, women, children, all were too unhappy about the loss of flock of cattle missing somewhere in the mountains, usually the villagers do hurl their cattle for grazing in the mountains. The rumors were that these cattle must be stolen by some of pirates and still there was no sign of those missing cattle of return to their homes, for the last three days, people were waiting for, as cattle is among the major contributor of village livelihood.
The elders, young and children were all gathered in “Hujjra” a place in our Pakhtoon culture where men do sit and talk. They were all gathered to send the young men in the search of those missing animals in the mountains. Finally, the decision of nominating few youngsters came up and they were Shaukat, Shakeel, Zahoor, Naeem, Hameed to be sent for the search. I was eagerly waiting for my name to be called, but I was taken by the frustration that I won’t be accompanying along them.
“Alright! Guys, pack-up and get ready for the journey into mountains.” My cousin Shaukat Ali Khan, who was a group leader, instructed the boys to set off.
Every one of them went to their homes to bring along all the necessary stuff and tools including guns as usually carrying guns in our part of the world are culturally allowed. Soon after a lapse of short time everyone was ready for the search operation. I was again watching all this, my craze and excitement to go along, intensified; I was 12 years old that time around. Obviously being a kid, I often had this lust for such kind of activities and events to happen over and over again, for fun at least.
“I must go with you.” I murmured with my friend Shakeel. “I don’t think so” shakeel instantly replied. “Why not! Look you’re of my age, if you can go along, then what harm causes you not taking me” While I kept on insisting, “Then let me ask from elders , if they allow you, I have no problems then.” Shakeel replied with a scowling face.
He went on telling the elders about my willing to go, they initially hesitated but upon my repetitive request, they allowed me to go. I went so happy, enthralled after hearing this.
Anyways, we set out for a journey, marching towards the mountains paths, as we had to take a path towards the edge of “Sheen talab” the green pond. The streams of waters fall into this pond from the top of Pithao, the big mountain to the north of my village. Till we reach their, we had to march through the rugged paths of full pebbles, zigzagging in the way, steep up as moved ahead. The moment, we reached to Khairath Talab, a small pond just nearby our millath. I was took by surprise that Shaukat stopped me go along, as he was the nephew of my mother, with a daunting fear that anything could happen, since the journey had to be lasted for the whole day long and it of the mountains not plains.
“No…No…I have to go with you.” I started wetting my eyes with pretending face trying to round him up. “Look! You’re too young, you must understand that there is a long way ahead and anything can happen; see I can’t let you allow my friend!” He scorched his face at me. “Well! Take him along Yaar!” Zahoor consoled Shaukat. Anyways, again, he Okayed me.
This was a long way full of rugged streams of unpaved tracks, steep upward mountains all across like a plane taking a lean upward as it takes off in the sky, and we had to reach to the top of Pithao and then, we have to lean downwards to the other edge of another mountain. This is something hard to describe, how terrible it takes when walking for too long. After a hike of approximately half an hour, I including my mates, started tiredness and lethargic they seemed carrying the huge burden of luggage at their back.
Soon after reaching a spot seemingly darkly shadowed fallen over of the trees on the hillside.
“Let’s take some rest over there” shaukat pointed to sitting on a red colored muddy area the very edge of a pond usually we found it in the mountains.
We put off all the saddle and took some rest for short time, took some water and shed ourselves, tried to tame down the little heat off our bodies, as the sun was climbing up sky slowly and sprinting and piercing rays of sunlight since we took off the very early morning.
As we walked I could barely be seen such horrific, splendid scenes all around the mountains, hanging trees, chirping and twittering birds all over, the voices would come back as echoed after 3 to 4 times of whirled, smacking the very solid plates of rocks, at moment I tended to stop and try run back to the village. But the naughty characters of my innocence childhood would never let me turn off the show, I would roared a voice in the air “OOOO” would electrifyingly touch the top of the mountains and return back with a gradual fall in the frequency, at least 3 slaps hitting the rocks and alpines all around.
“Could you stop your stupidity for a while?” Shaukat scolded me. I tied up back of myself and went silent like a dog slams back. Anyway, we moved along and there was no sign of those missing cattle we were falling the footsteps of the cows. We tried hard as we followed those footprints in the way during any wet area they walked on. Since the day before yesterday, it was a little rained over and the soil was still wet, as we took the walk along, the stacks of wet mud would stick and glued to our shoes making it heavier and difficult to walk in, and scent of mud could enthrall our brain.
It was 1:00 PM in the day, when we reached to deep hollow area full of shadows and horrifying silence everywhere. It was something that we landed to a place of no man land; there was nothing but the fear, scare all around, the sunny day fall upon us as the dark of the winter. Since a burrow, hideaway, or tunnel surrounded by mountains curved downward and thick trees would covered the murky sun rays over. A tiny hiss sound would sound like a sound of dolby bass roaring, piercing the ear.
We were getting scared and fear could stub our breath, Zahoor said “We gotta leave this place, let get out of here as soon as possible, it’s very scary, the boys are already tired but the scare can’t let them stay here. We better take along leap upward and figure out, if there is any sing of existence of cattle grazing somewhere at the top of the hill, since this area is very green for grazing.” I fumed for moment, “Fine” it really scares all of us, what if we die here, nobody will come to take our corpses out of here for decades to come, I suspect.” I pleadingly said. “ Oh! Common boys, don’t be scared, be brave! Everything will be fine, Okay! Let’s get out of here.” Shaukat encouragingly infused a sense of confidence in our souls. Then, Soon we decided to get out of this place as soon as possible, as we didn’t anything out of it. We turned our heels and took a brisk march towards the western side upward to the Pithao. Shaukat advised Zahoor to take another side of the path while I , shakeel , naeem would accompany shaukat. And then we separated our ways, till we reached to a high place of Munawar Naika Talao, Munawar grandfather pond. Where we took a long cross of tracks steeping upward from the left side of the long passage of pithao. The shadow of the trees were too cold to be hosted for a while to sit under, shaukat directed all of us to sit and relax while we were ready to go back as soon as zahoor returns back from the other side of the mountain.
We the being the kids always ready for little fun, dive in that pond, putting off our shirts and had a lot of fun inside the water. After getting entertained ourselves, shakeel and naeem went outside the water and took a telescope to have a fair glance over the entire surroundings of beautiful Mountain View full of steeping valleys all across the encapsulated series. They were standing at the edge of a big stone, turned their telescope towards a far sight of bungalow up above the mountain, the Meer Khewalay. This touring spot, a residence house standing tall at the top of mountain, too far few series of mountains ahead of us. I soon after seeing this went excited to have my share of view of it went towards them and when my turn came, I had watched over the whole pictorial overview of the entire valley landscape. Shakeel then came forward with fully prepared mood, shoe on and dressed. I then rushed back to my clothes and as I put on my shirt and other stuff. In the meantime Zahoor was already returned talking to shaukat for a minor fault in his 7mm old rifle borrowed from my maternal uncle Saeed. I heard him saying to shaukat that during the way, I saw a jackal where I opened few shots at him but he escaped and after 2 shots, the third round was stucked in the barrel and it does not move ahead, the bullet is stucked deep inside the barrel of the gun. Shaukat took the gun and started trying to fix the problem.
As I searched my pocket, I soon found out that a watch, a ring and Rs.30 were missing out of it. I immediately turned my attention to Zahoor said to him “you must have taken it, please return it back to me.” While he was laughing, after a few jerks of little wrestling with him, I luckily traced my ring and Rs.30 while he was still hiding my watch. We both were in the middle of this juggle, the whole scene jostled, like an earthquake occurred. A gun fire, ripped my chest, tore it apart and went off.
At times I felt that some firepower spear ripped through my body with exacerbated heat and the moment I gazed down to my body, it was a small hole at my shirt. I heard Shakeel shouted with a fearing cry, “Hala Shaukat La” Oh Brother Shaukat what that has happened. It was shock a trembling all around like, every one faces turned paled, worried surprised that has happened. Being Kids Shakeel and Naeem started weeping and throwing all the guns away, they all gathered around me. Shaukat folded over his hand at the back upon my shoulders, trying to know whether the bullet has passed through the body or not. His words full of extreme nervousness are still reminds me his falling paled face, “Sajjad! Don’t worry my brother, InshAllah nothing will happen to you, if you die, I will die.” What I saw was my chest tore apart, flesh slashed , ripped in the middle, it was wide open tear speared upward like an arrow within my chest one was just at the top of the heart area, the second one was near the breast while the 3rd one just at the edge of armpit area.
But it was the moment, I couldn’t speak a single word, I still remember that bad time, I can’t explain the reasons that God had given me that firmness that I did hold myself too solid that I said to them, “Nothing will happen to me InshAllah” believe me, my heart was like a stone, I don’t know whether it was message from God that I said to myself that I won’t die today. The pain was growing as the time passed by as I was constantly feeling the hurdle in my breath, I couldn’t take the breath that freely.
Shaukat soon took me on over his shoulder and instructed other guys to take the luggage along; it was a time of severe stress and race against time. It was a long way back to the village of approximately 3 hours over extreme rugged, craggy zigzags and pebbles all around as it made the way too uneven. But brother Shaukat never let his heart loose, my pain would again rise as my injured flesh would touch his body. Luckily the blood didn’t spell as the bullet has burnt most part of the flesh blocked the veins. Miles to cross and the heat was burning my head and chest. The boys were so frightened, praying to Allah for my safety and life. After a long stride we had stretched along, I was feeling sever thirst, but Shaukat didn’t allow me to drink a single drop of water, as it is too dangerous for an injured body to take a water. I still don’t know any scientific reason behind this.
Soon after we arrived at Sheekay Talab, where a boy named Hajji was wearing wet chadar, a small piece of cloth. They soon talk to him to hand over and my body was covered then, luckily then found a donkey for my ride. Shaukat was too tired, exhausted, he was carrying me over his shoulder for too long for about 3 hours or so. It was again Garhi a deep slop downward steep, where the stream of water flows down from mountain Pithao. After crossing this, we were at the brink of house, what I saw a flock of boys going to take a bath in Bazi Naika Talao, Bazi Grand father pond. They were too, soon shaukat called Venay La for his help, where he borrowed Rs.500 from him but strictly advised him not to tell the other boys about the incident.
Within short period of time, I soon reached my house. Where my mother was sitting inside veranada, after seeing me, she cried and said “You have torn him apart.” Shaukat pacified her not to worry about. Everything will be fine InshAllah. Where I was took to the bed and after a short time, a flood of people rocked to my house, men and women hovered around me. After consulting with local Dr. Muhammad Ameen, I was soon taken to hospital nearby Lachi a small town.
A Suzuki cabin was then called and I was rushed to the hospital, but on the way to hospital I had to take to police station for registration and clearance of their record. After finishing with the police, I was taken to hospital.
I had been successfully operated and stitched by Dr. Shaad Ali Khan, the moment I was stitched, I took a sigh of relief, it was something that I was freed from imprisonment.