What wouldn’t you give away to get a job purposeful and well paying at the same time? What wouldn’t you give away to get a bit more meaning out of your work? A little promise? A little hope? Faiz’s words fit Chacha Allah Bukhsh fittingly. He is one satisfied professional going strong in his 60s. There is no need to bring work life balance debate here. He believes in his work. He lives his work.
Allah Buksh owns a farm house in Gadap. He has been growing vegetables and fruits in rocky barren Gadap soil for years now. The water is scarce and irrigation system non existent. The only method of getting water is through underground water channels which rise only after the rainy season. Life is not easy. Gadap technically is a Karachi Town but getting there even from center of Karachi requires an hour and half journey. Luckily the road has been paved recently and the only nuisance is mountainous breakers. There are quite a few farms enroute to Gadap which offer ‘height of adventure’ for Karachites over weekends.
The small bhaitak at the beginning is full of branding by various agencies. There are promises of welfare and prosperity. Chacha Allah Buksh has embraced them all with patience and commitment. He has invested ample time with innovative farming techniques like drip irrigation and tunnel farming. The first paying dividends and the other failing terribly due to wind and moist. Failure does not stop Allah Bukhsh from experimenting and this is what distinguishes him from others. There is no long winding philosophy behind it. He is just like that. For the very reason his farm is a favorite destination for corporate crowd who make investors believe that technology could work in Pakistan. There is huge variety of crops and orchards at his farm; red chillies, papaya, cheeko, pomegranates and more. All of them have been cultivated with some improvisation. Chacha Allah Bukhsh has been suffering from recurring virus of Hepatitis C Type. He has treated it with remedies medical and spiritual. He has more faith in the later. “You need to believe it first”, he explained. A leap many fail to take. He has not been progressive with farming only. He along with others have reduced weddings from a lavish three days event to the one lasting few hours only. “In majority of the cases, there is only one reception and that too with a bottle of drink and few sweets only”, he said with a hint of pride.
He has not invested in full time crops like Wheat and others. There is no point in it due to limited water availability and climatic conditions. There were workers plucking papayas from the trees and loading them into the vans for transporting them to Karachi. There was a chameleon basking sunlight. “Kids are after them”, he said. “They quote some religious logic for killing it”, he said. They say that bible in some one’s hand is worse than the bottle of whiskey in other’s.
Constant supply of electricity is one big problem here. Farmers are dependent on tube-wells for steady supply of water. He did not have many complaints otherwise.