Desert has always been my picnic spot since childhood. I remember those days in summer when stormy and sandy winds would pick up sand into our corridors and despite closed doors, we would find everything at home full of dust. Dusting many times a day was a routine. ”Some 40 to 50 years before, sand dunes shifted their places overnight when travelers would forget their ways to home. Travel was either on camels or on foot and there was no milestone except reeds and bush grown on the sand mounds. So shifting of dunes meant for the travelers to beat about the bush. Travel at nights was another beauty. Camel caravans with the bells in camels’ webbed feet would create a symphony in the moon-lit nights. A lute player or ballad singer usually accompanied the caravan to entertain them on the way”, my father quotes.
Advancement of the modern age have reached even far off villages and the natural beauty of desert is diminishing. Camels are seen even today but not for night travels. Ballads and lutes, flying on the wings of direction of the air, do not access us because the ballad singers are listening music in their headphones or are watching TV at homes. Bus service has downsized the value of camels and they are seen only in herds driven by the herdsmen. Even today we can see them in hundreds.
My family members have fostered a deep association for desert and we used to wander the desert in the evening, taking snapshots, and absorbing ‘raw material’ for our poems, prose and painting. So visiting desert meant a lot for all of us and we returned home with our baskets full of our respective ‘product’. Desert is a metaphor of creativity in my life. It has given me the lesson of ‘delimiting’, vast dimensions to grow in all sides. My desert goes with me wherever I go.