I had just talked to the embassy of Kenya in Islamabad and had the flight reservation page open when the the phone rang.
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.
‘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.
“Wait, what am I asking, you don’t plan your trips, you just leave, just like that,” she said.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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?
My first for Dawn. Stories from Punjab in the north of Ravi.