Our Daily Routine In Hostel During Mehran University
Mehran University Jamshoro was at a distance of about 15 km from Hyderabad and to commute between the two places, Sindh university management had arranged bus shuttle service all day long and free of cost. And when we had all the time in the world available to us, and we were young and we had the energy, how could we have stayed back in our barren and colorless hostels. Every day we would go to Hyderabad in the evening, watch movies, have food and come back late at night. We called this an adventure, the level of which was so high that I had not seen sunset time in Jamshoro during my first year in Mehran University.
Our Group of Friends of Mehran University
Our circle of friends was expanding but for the purpose of entertainment and eating out, we were four friends in the group and similar pattern was followed by other students as well. I have already mentioned about one of our group members, Salahuddin Abbasi who was my roommate (he retired from irrigation department of Sindh government as chief engineer). Ghulam Nabi Morai was part of our group and in fact he was the captain of our team in Mehran University (he opted for early retirement from the post of general manager, National Highway Authority, and is presently an agriculturalist. His room partner Dost Muhammad Chandio (retired from Pakistan army as Colonel) and Muhammad Suleman Chandio (former managing director, Karachi water and sewerage board).
Fish at Al Manzar Jamshoro Was in Our Daily Routine
One of our favourite places and most sought-after food was palla fish at al-manzar. This fish is considered as a delicacy and specialty of Sindh in general and Hyderabad in particular. Unlike other types of fish, palla swims against the flow of water. This fish originates from indus delta, a point where mighty river indus culminates and joins arabian peninsula, known as ketty, a shanty town of fishermen. It travels upwards against the current and reaches to its full bloom at Ghulam Muhammad barrage, Jamshoro. This fish caught at Thatta and Kotri is also tasty but the one caught at Jamshoro, is the best in taste.
Fresh fish from river near Mehran University
Al-manzar hotel is situated on right bank of river indus and at the foot of G.M. barrage and near to Mehran University. We were frequent visitors of this place and so the fishermen also knew us well and they would bring for us a fresh catch of palla fish from the hold of their boat. And while it would take some time for the fishermen to fry the fish, we would enjoy the serene atmosphere and fresh air and engage ourselves in endless gossips.
Dost Mohammad Chandio
Normally the center of attraction in our discussions would be Dost Muhammad Chandio, a soft-spoken person who had the art of entertaining us and at the same time bullying us and taking us for a ride. He had married at a very young age and at the time of joining the college when some of us were waiting for their beard to appear on their faces so as to buy a razor and shave it off;
Dost (and indeed a dost which means a friend) had acquired the status of being a father. He would tell us that it was an arranged marriage in the family and while he was still too young, his parents had chosen his bride. But Dost Muhammad was a romantic lad by nature and he too had his own choice and was in love with another lass. He was so lucky that while we were still struggling to find a first match for us, he married his second wife in third year of engineering. We would often ask him to share his experience with us as we knew nothing about the joy and hazards of marriage life by then. He would blush like a girl but would keep his secret recipe to himself.
Palla Fish Hyderabad
Morai was a good singer and had a melodious voice. We would ask him to sing for us and he would readily oblige us. Sometimes he would insist that I along with Dost Muhammad and Muhammad Suleman Chandio should also join in singing with him. Occasionally we would stretch our vocal cords too. I don’t know whether we were good at singing, but we would make sure that our outing to eat palla fish was filled with joy. Morai had a natural melodious voice and he had earned accolades at various forums in Mehran University.
Students from Liaqat University of Medical Health & Science LUMHS University also use to visit Al Manzar.
He was declared the best singer in a singing competition in the annual graduation function of our college. Incidentally I was also given a consolation prize, but I think it was more of a consolation than anything else. Morai had the honour of singing in the company of top Sindhi singers in the annual mela (fair) of Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. Such were those beautiful days that when I recall that golden period, I cherish every moment of it filled with love, sincerity and happiness, and I wish the time had stopped there. He is now the owner of Mehran TV