Sohail Abid

A writer exploring tradition, art, and music of the ordinary

Why do you travel in Punjab?

When people ask why do I travel in Punjab, I don’t always have a clear answer because it’s difficult to explain and I fear that people won’t get it.

Dunyadari da khayal

‘Too bad, I can only be poetic in this state,’ I smiled and then read this verse of Baba Farid’s: Main bhulawa pagg da matt maili ho jaaye/ Gehla rooh na jaan-ee sirr bhi mitti khaaye.

A surreal affair

“Wait, what am I asking, you don’t plan your trips, you just leave, just like that,” she said.

My Indian connection

My father and I were talking about his recent trip to Indian Punjab when I asked him if he spoke to the people there in Punjabi.

Introduce yourself

“Since when have you been running this tandoor?” I ask the woman who owns and operates this tandoor that provides me with rotian for lunch and dinner here in Pakpattan.

The tree that used to cry

“Was there a tree in the house?” she asked. “Yes, there in fact was one. And it used to cry.”

She looked at me as if I was indulging in poetry.

Flowers in Full Bloom

I had seen this book when I was a kid. In my father’s library perhaps. But when I actually got interested in the folklore about 8 years ago, there was no sign of this book anywhere. I asked around but everyone said that the book, printed more about 3 decades ago, was not going to be found but at old book shops. They were occasionally visited. But in vain. So where was this picture taken, then? It’s a long story.

The marvelous view of the Rawalpindi city, as seen from the rooftop of Haveli Sujan Singh, right in the heart of old city.

Here I thought I was having the time of my life.

Big day

I resign from my job, someone breaks into my apartment, and I get a break on a freelance project I had been trying to complete. All in one day. You know what that means?

A house in the Chittian Hattian neighborhood in Rawalpindi.

Ravi de parlay kanday

My first for Dawn. Stories from Punjab in the north of Ravi.

A festival of festivals

If you guys were not so urban, I would tell you of a festival like no other. I would tell you that people from different parts of Punjab, Sindh, and KP begin their pilgrimage 45 days before the festival.

Punjabi women and religion

I keep hearing — from men, of course — that ‘Punjabi women are more religious and more superstitious.’

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© 2015 Sohail Abid

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