The Northern parts of my country Pakistan are called Northern Areas and include Gilgit Hunza and Naltar Valley.
Naltar is 40 km from Gilgit, a main place which can be reached by air and road from the nearest airport of the capital cities Rawalpindi and Islamabad. A scenic picnic spot, with fresh water streams and a fishing area where 'trouts' are plenty.
Father, Col Abdur Rashid a doctor in the Pakistan Army was posted to Gilgit as the Agency Surgeon in 1960 and that is how I got the life time opportunity to see these beautiful heaven like places on Planet Earth.
Year 1960: Gilgit : Roads were narrow and were called 'jeepable only'. A donkey wandering in the center would not allow the vehicle to cross.The driver had to go slow wait and blow the 'jeep peep peep' horn 'to shoo away the animal off the road to a nearby field or keep following for at least a mile.
First visit to Gilgit was in the Summer of 1962. My elder sister and I travelled by air which was again the first flight by a twin engined Fokker Plane. The plane went high up above the Himalayan snow clad mountain ranges ,out of the clouds opening an amazing unforgettable view of the grandeur of the highest mountain ranges in the world K2 being one second to Mt Everest.
Gilgit is situated along the River, on the mountain side in a Valley, having the same name. One can see the river as the plane crosses over to land on the mile long landing runway.The official residence of the Agency Doctor was built on the terraced mountain side.The approach was slightly steep , the rough road running upto the steps of the house had atrraced lawns on both sides.It was like a house from the Fairy Tales. The wooden floors and oil lamps completed the mysterious environment. A perfect setting for writing stories, if one had the creative imagination and the love of expression.
Later I learnt that human beings have a natural impulse and curiosity to share the excitement of events happening near and far. So story telling is an ancient art all over the world.
My story writing life began here.
Mother said, 'why don't you write a diary ' as I looked around , finding the dark sturdy rocky mountains so close. Mother was a great source of inspiration and a pillar of courage strength and motivation. She was lucky to go to a school but no chance of a college in Gupis, another place in the Northern region. She knew the importance of our visit (just for the summer holidays as still the schools were not quite suitable for our studies)
My first writing book was a small dark blue covered diary with BAYER written on it. 'Here use this to begin with'. I was not sure what I was really going to write in it, but I smiled, felt happy and excitedly picked up a double cherry from a tray full served soon after we reached home and sat in the lush green lawn.
Fruit is found abundantly in the Northern areas including dry fruit as well.
Today when I saw the post of 'Cowbird Social Media workshop in the Facebook Group of Cowbirders' I could visualize the 'Journey of my Story Telling'Life, spanning the National to the International level. From a small black 7/9 " diary to the unlimited pages of the Online digital world, from the classroom of Presentation Convent High School Rawalpindi to the University of Nottingham and across the Atlantic Ocean to Historic Washington City in August 2000, at Omni Shoreham Hotel Room No 4, where I read out a Poem' Dedicated to my Teacher.
I was among the selected 200 invited for the semi final Poet of Merit Bronze medal award, but I felt that I still had so much to write and that was just a beginning...
2012 - Twelve years later Cowbird opened the world of Writing. here I express my gratitude to friend Fiona Robyn now Satiya Robyn who introduced Cowbird to me and to Friend Annie Correal for accepting me in the cowbird family.
2013- This special Day the 14th of February a Day of Sincerity Affection and Bondage I wish to Dedicate 'The Gift of Expressions' to the Founders of Cowbird.com , to All Members and Friends.
Thank You All. I have found and received profound support encouragement and writing opportunity here in this lovely world.
(This photograph was taken at Chinaar Bagh ( Chinaar Garden) Gilgit in front of the 'Markhor Statue' of the Unit Gilgit Scouts when we revisited Gilgit by the All Weather Road in 1988)