Punjab on the Pakistani side is big, almost 3 times the size of Indian states of Punjab and Haryana combined. The southern part of it shares a desert with Rajasthan. They call it Rohi in the local vocabulary. It’s a different Punjab down there, with its own dialect and grievances, with its own sorrows and joys.

Every year at the end of February, a mela is held there out in the open for five consecutive Thursdays. Nobody knows when did this tradition start but it’s probably been centuries. People from all around the region arrive on their carts, camels, trolleys, and however else they can make it. Their faces tell the stories you don’t understand when labeling them “rural, uneducated and backward.”

Last year, I was working at a software firm on this big shot project and my job didn’t let me go. Then I quit. One can only take enough. I have been dreaming and planning for this for a year now. The wait is almost over. It is time.

(Photo Credit: Yasir Nisar)