Kabul had always had a place in my heart. The old Hindi films, which inevitably carried an Afghan character in its story might be responsible for this.
My visit to Kabul firmly cemented this place in my heart. I fell in love with Kabul, as no other place. Why did Kabul touch me so? The city, the atmosphere had the same fierce spirit that one associates with the Afghans. Bombed out of its mind and heart, the empty shells of many a building in ruins stand in testimony to Afghanistan’s gory history of three decades of war and turmoil.
The narrow by-lanes, the mud/ adobe houses, ingrained with old timber, its bustling and jostling market, the all-pervasive smell of burning meat (the kababs !), and the pictures of Hindi film heroes and heroines along with blaring hindi songs at every corner, made a unique mix of charm. Combined with the warmth of smiles of the people, which in itself was so unexpected, the city could win anyone’s heart.
The contradictions in the human psyche manifest externally and violently in Kabul. Children playing among the ruins and pock-marked walls was an anomaly one could not adjust to.
One wonders what it must mean to the socio-psychological fabric, to have endured and lived through over 30 years of war, a decade of severe oppression, living in constant fear of death and torture, of losing one’s humanity … what I was left with, however, was the endurance of the human spirit, the ability to adapt and adjust and find happiness in whatever one can, fly kites and hear songs, and dress oneself to the teeth (the women under the burqas sometimes were a revelation !) fiercely grasping at the little that comes their way ….
Kabul is a testimony to the human spirit !