PESHAWAR: Life turns miserable when the sunlight is at its peak in the afternoon amid the sizzling heat of May.
To add insult to injury, the vehicles are bumper-to-bumper on a road in Peshawar Saddar, rendering the citizens powerless.
Salim, a taxicab driver, repents his life as a cabdriver the moment he pulls up and knows that main arteries are blocked for security protocol of the Frontier Constabulary inspector general near Nauthia, one of the busiest areas of the provincial capital. And the blockade of the arteries definitely results in brief demise of the main Saddar area, which is the heart of Peshawar.
But as soon as Salim stops, his attention shifts to a phone call that he receives.
“I am in Saddar, stuck on a road. I was in University Town when you called me a few hours earlier….” he continues as the roads remain choked.
On the roadside, there is another cabdriver, who fans himself with loose end of his kameez and rests his head on the seat backwards. Drops of perspiration from his red cheeks continuously fall while his passengers in the backseat are also cursing the government due to the road blockade.
“The roads should be blocked, if necessary, for five minutes, but this is injustice that the FC personnel suspend traffic for half an hour just to provide security protocol to their chief,” the driver grumbles while speaking to his passengers, two of whom were suffering the most wearing burqas and carrying minors in backseat of the small yellow cab.
Another young man wearing a western suit was perspiring due to the summer heat. The driver accompanying him said: “I went overseas for my treatment once and there I was asked to wear pants and suit but I refused because how I can pray and attend bathroom or do other chores while wearing such tight pants and coat and that too in this hot weather in the middle of blocked road.”
The blunt words of the driver prompt the young man, who appeared to be a white-collar worker, to take off his coat while radiating a smile. He surely was embarrassed by the uncalled-for remarks of the driver.
In the meanwhile, the road reopens and the powerless and all those stranded heave a sigh of relief. Salim tells his acquaintance on the phone: “I will call you later. Our suffering has ended because the senior official has been driven past us safe and sound.”
“Why don’t they shift the FC headquarters outside our city to somewhere else and help end our daily ordeal!” he wonders.