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What it's like to live among clouds

October 5, 2014, 12:17 am | This story has an Influence Score of 1466

By riazhussain

A Dutch proverb says, ‘He that pryeth into the clouds, may be struck with a thunderbolt. Certainly, this adage was made in the past when people would think of touching the sky and the clouds by climbing some gigantic and magical ladders. Modern airplanes really pry into clouds by flying through them but no thunderbolt strikes them. So this proverb should be taken in the figurative sense. In addition, there are places where things are, in fact, the other way around in the sense that clouds seem to pry into human affairs by hovering too low at places of high altitudes. At such locations, where they appear around the slopes of mountains, enveloping roads and houses, living among clouds is a daily matter for people of such hilly places. Actually, clouds have their own families: high, middle and low. Clouds of high family form at altitudes of 3000 to 7000 meters. Clouds of middle family and low family form at an altitude of 2000 meters. So we can surmise that it is clouds of middle and low families that meddle in human lives. In today’s story we take you to a place of majestic mountains which remains clouded for four months a year.

Our interviewee is Nizam Khan, a youthful 27 years old, who lives among snow-capped peaks and beautiful valleys in the mountainous town of Dir in Khyber Paktunkhwa of Pakistan. The landscape at his native place is breathtakingly beautiful. 

His mountainous village enjoys nearly 2000 meters elevation above the sea level. This place has become an important spot for tourist because of its mesmerizing grandeur . 

I began the interview by asking him to introduce his native place. He said, ‘Dir is important for its cultural and historical significance. It is watered by the Panjkora River. The region is divided into Upper Dir and Lower Dir. There is a museum near the town. The museum is built in an indigenous arched style of construction with the help of Malakandi stone, displaying towers and battlements.'

He says his mountainous village remains covered with clouds in the months of November, December, January and February.The valley wears a stunning look when white clouds try to veil its astounding beauty. The latter, in addition to the green slopes of the mountains and the red houses built on them make the landscape unique and awe-inspiring. 

A times the valley is fully clouded. We cannot see on the other side. The peaks of the mountains are hidden, as if a white foamy blanket had been spread over them. 

Then, there are times when the whole valley seems to sink in a sea of mighty clouds . The trees on the slopes of the mountains look so tiny with mighty clouds in the background. 

I asked Nizam what it is like when you are inside a cloud. He said, 'When you are inside a cloud, things appear foggy. Everything is hidden from your eyes or visibility is limited. You feel as if you are alone in the world'. He told me that clouds touched the roads of the town and that he had been driving his car through them.

'Clouds appear to be solid, cotton-like bodies but actually they are not solid. Things can move through clouds'.

He said, 'When you touch them, you actually feel nothing but dampness and moisture because they are made of tiny water vapor or water droplets suspended in the atmosphere. These suspended liquid particles or water droplets are too small to be touched. When you pass through a cloud, your clothes and hair get moisture. Clouds are like fog on the ground.  Fog is often stationary while clouds make movements. Touching the clouds is like touching the fog'. 

Then I asked him if the clouds had left any influence on the human behaviour of the people of the town. He said, 'Yes, people of the town have learnt kindness from clouds. People of Dir are like clouds, they receive only to give away'. I can testify to this observation of Nizam about the people of Dir on the basis of the hospitality I received from him during the interview. 

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