Backpacking the global south, one country at a time

The craftsman of Pakpattan who wouldn’t sell

Our family home in Pakpattan is about 10min walking distance away from Baba Farid’s shrine which is situated at the top of a central hill called dhakki.

The walk upto the shrine is basically a tawaaf of half the road that encircles the dhakki. This tawaaf goes thorugh the bazaar that has naturally developed along this aptly called Circular Road. My grandfather had a shop in this bazaar when we were kids, but that’s a story for another time.

Right now, I am remembering another shop in this bazaar which had been there since long but I spotted it only a few years ago on my way to the shrine.

An old man, a metal engraving craftsman, was sitting there along with his work, which was mostly huqqas. More modest ones were displayed out in the open but a few masterworks —engraved with exquisite designs— were showcased inside glass cabinets along the walls.

I said my salam and told him my grandfather also used to have a shop nearby, many years ago. I then asked how much do they cost. He told me the price of the ones that were displayed out in the open.

When I pointed at those showcased on the shelves and asked about the price, he went silent for a while and then said, “they don’t have a fixed price and they are not for everyone; I only sell them when someone truly wants one.”

I now regret not truly wanting them at that time.