ISLAMABAD - After the joyous and festive spell of mela at the Lok Virsa, clutter of departing participants will terminate the mega event of the capital. Piling up pavilions. Compressing their possessions and the leftovers. But back at home things might not have changed.

Muhammad Siddique, 60, a master player of Narr (traditional wind instrument), from Naseerabad district of Balochistan, is one amongst many who regularly come to take part in the annual festival. The only breadwinner in family, Siddique has five children, who are yet to become old enough to apportion his burden.

Any festival, mela or a television show, if there is any, are the only means of earning his livelihood. "None of my children goes to school. When an ailment renders me unable to work, my family is left empty-handed, I have applied for Watan Card but not yet provided", said Siddique.

A beaming smile and sparkling eyes replaced his dismayed facial expressions when he said, "If I'm given the card, our problems can be solved to sufficient extent".

"It enables my family to make a day merely. Setting aside something for a rainy day is a far cry. Despite this my art is with me, until I cease to live", said Jago Khan, a fellow musician with Siddique from Naseerabad.

Muhammad Qasim, from Badin with two craftswomen, is also here at the festival. They weave farasi (a traditional rug made of yarn). Sometimes farasi, whose weaving takes a lot of time, are left at home for even a year awaiting a single customer.

Any foreign traveler who passes by exploring the area buys it or any other person who knows about it. There is still a middleman who delivers the product to a customer, putting aside his own commission, for sure.

"We don't have a place of our own or access to any market where we can showcase our product. Having such a place our items will not crumble and we will get the price of our labour timely", says Qasim.

"We are happy; we will bring bangles and some other nominal items for our daughters who are awaiting back at home," say Manzoor Malang and his spouse Fatima from Khanewal, whose ancestral profession since centuries, learnt through tacit knowledge, is making of 'kuggu koray' (a kind of traditional artifacts).

"We expend as much as we earn, it's around rupees eight thousand for all ten days of the festival. We make kuggu (clay horn), koray (horse), dablu (small dribbling drum with two strings), chhankana (stringed hollow upper carrying small bits of striking beads), and chirya (sparrow). Five colours are used for the horse making comprising pink, red, yellow, green and purple.

The manufacturing process includes strong cloth purchased from Lunda Bazaar, waste paper and small wooden sticks, which are colored according to traditions. Cloth is filled with the chaff and structure of skeleton is made of wooden sticks. Neck of the horse is always kept high.

Quite profitable and lucrative business, as it was once, is swiftly losing its feasibility. Now it's the only endurance for them. It may extinct if left unattended. The family responsible to pull the cart of this heritage is suffering from fatigue and exhaustion, apparently living below the poverty line but self-surviving.

Though inexpensive Chinese toys have replaced the artifacts mostly meant for kids, yet there is a need to provide sustenance to this heritage, which has ancient form, figure flavour and colours carrying a bit of mythology amidst.

Until there is a passionate effort to protect the heritage, the region will face another cultural loss, which had its own glamour and excellence.