Few hear of and fewer still travel through a land named Baluchistan. Home to the Baloch people, it makes near half of Pakistan's territory and extends far into the lands of Iran and Afghanistan, it was however not drawn on the map as a country of its own.
Others have long tried subjugating the Baloch, hitherto unsuccessfully and adversarial headlines are quick to paint Baluchistan as a place that's best avoided. One can easily get the impression that the Baloch are not politically favored anywhere, and that they're left on their own to fend for themselves.
And true, there were few I met who'd not make an association with Baluchistan as dangerous. In return it would be putting it mildly to say that many Baloch have an uneasy relationship with the State. Recent is, and long have now become, the memory of painful conflicts with outsiders.
But, as a friend once memorably related, we don't introduce our home by first showing them our toilet. That is to say, politics always gets dirty dividing people into this group or another. There is after all a lot more going on in a place than political fights over control and resources.
That's however not a way to discount the nature of politics which in this region is very real.
I spent some days traveling the Iranian side of Baluchistan, exploring and wandering around. One day, as I was going by taxi to reach a village on the Pakistani border, I met a young boy.
Hossein was the one who made me understand there is love and drama even in the blind spots of this world.
His sad story was summed up by the girl he had loved since childhood, but the girl had married his brother. Perhaps he speculated, because he had been too late to ask for her hand.
He mourned, but harder than the mourning was the way he had forward after the end of his military service which was coming to a close.
He had no compunction about stating that life is something that happens to you, not something you have much choice in.
And then you die.
At the age of twenty, he had a face that in other places could pass as forty.
A face whose age inspires surprise.
And a somber outlook.
I think we have nothing to lose in life except our sufferings, pains and chains. So Hossein's pain would end, and be replaced by another pain.
Wherever we go in this world, it doesn't matter if it's up or down; we meet people who make us feel love, fear, etc.
People here take precautions above all else. They were not compatible with unknown and unfamiliar people, but they were compatible with any difficult condition.
Maybe this was derived from the past events in the history of these people, maybe if I went back to the roots of these people, I could understand them better.
But, they responded to kindness with kindness.
Sometimes a person is stuck between going or staying. In a village on the border of Pakistan in Sistan Baluchistan, many families were nomads in the past and now they have settled in one place.
Are they happier for it? Modern times care not whether changes are for our betterment.
I read somewhere that the most beautiful people I have ever known were the ones who suffered, lost, and yet made their way out of the depths of pain and suffering. Sistan and Baluchistan lacked many things, but it was full of zealous men and women.
Maybe there were fundamental differences between my view of the world and theirs.
But I found friends there who chose friendship regardless of any opinion.