For the new generation journey by a bullocks is a wonderful and unique experience. Those who are habitual of being hurled by buses and cars, think such a journey out of date, slow and waste of time. Many have not even seen a bullock cart. They may laugh at the idea of undertaking a journey by cart. It will take you half a century back.
In Karachi, people enjoy joy-rides on donkey carts and camel carts. In the villages of Sindh and Punjab, people still use bullock carts. The difference is only of animals that pull the carts. Tangas are commonly used in the cities and towns of the four provinces. Victoria is considered a Royal ride like, horse riding. Bullock carts and horses are still used in places where there are no roads or are served only by kutcha roads. Bullock carts are used on the beaten tracks for transporting goods and commodities. Marriage parties travel on carts at the beat of and blow of musical instruments.
Change is always welcome in the affairs of life. During last winter I visited my maternal uncle in the village of Punjab. I stayed there for a fortnight and enjoyed the rustic modes of life and amusements. It was a pleasant experience to plow the field and draw water from the wells. I also enjoyed bathing in the Canal water and basking in the sun. I was full of new expectations when I was told that a marriage was going to solemnize on a Friday fore-noon. My uncle was the chief-guest of the bridegroom. The girls (brides) parents resided in another village at a distance of about twenty miles. Necessity is the best virtue. The only available means for the journey was a bullock cart. I was full of curiosity as it was my first ride.
[the_ad id=”17141″]We started by bullock cart early in the morning after a light breakfast. The cart was pulled by two sturdy bulls ‘Laloo’ and ‘Bhura’ (red and white in colours). The cart driver was a jolly fellow. He yoked the bulls; we a group of eight, sat on the cart and started for the function. As we set out, the sun was up and cold winds were blowing. I was in my warm clothes but my cousins defied the cold. The rattling of wheels, the rustling of the dry leaves and tinkling of bells tied to the necks of the bullocks, filled the air. The route was rough and uneven. We were badly shaken. The ladies sang marriage songs in chorus and diverted the party.
The Sun was sufficiently up and the mist had disappeared. The cart headed through a groove of forest trees and emerged on pucca road. The surface was hard and we treked smoothly over a mile. The driver burst into Song-Dhole Sypae. We listened spell bound. Suddenly the cart again descended on the beaten path. While passing damp ground it got stuck. The driver Ramzan spurred the bullock calling- ‘Shabash Batey’ but no avail. So we got down; the cart was empty. I and Ramzan put the shoulders to the wheels and the animals heaved and got feet on the hard ground.
In the meanwhile two or three carts over took us. We were nearing the bride’s ‘chuk’. Suddenly the cart raced down a ‘U’ shaped sloped. We were ratted down for some distance. The bullocks stopped over rivulet intersecting our path. They drank water without lifting their heads. The water was knee deep. The driver got down, waded through the water; dragged the cart across the stream. As the journey was up the slope, we again descended to make it easy for the animals to pull the cart. Others resumed their seats; but I trotted by the side of the cart till we had reached our distinction. The cart was parked under a spreading Bunyan tree alongwith some other carts. The animals were unyoked to graze in the fields. What a new experience!