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Time passes, but rain does not fall. The family decides to leave early for Mehrabpur and sweet water after all. Shabanu looks forward to her first Ramadan fast, though she can hardly imagine passing a dry desert day without a single drink of water.

As they draw water at the well on the day of their departure, Xhush Dil pulls off Phulan's chadr and waves it around like a flag. The girls dissolve into laughter, and Shabanu feels relieved that she can still feel happiness.

The family travels for two days and reach Mehrabpur. As they near the town, Dadi breaks away from the group to greet Hamir and Murad. The rest of Hamir's family approaches to greet Mama and the two sisters. Bibi Lal, Hamir's mother, greets them warmly.

Bibi Lal's husband bought a patch of dry desert land from a local landowner. He poured his life into the land, irrigating it and turning it into rich, productive land. The work, however, brought him an early death. He has been dead for two years. Bibi Lal wears white, the color of mourning.

Her daughter-in-law, Kulsum, also wears white. Kulsum's husband, Lal Khan (Bibi Lal's oldest son), was mysteriously murdered a year ago. Kulsum has four children and will be a widow for the rest of her life, although she is only a bit older than Phulan.

Sakina, Bibi Lal's youngest daughter, brings them water, and the travelers thirstily drink their fill. They set about making camp. They build mud platforms and create tents from reed mats and tree branches.