Not a musical mounted by the Taliban.
Day 63, Parwan, Afghanistan.
The season of spring is something that’s a rarity for someone like me, coming from a coastal city bathing in humidity at every opportunity that it gets. Then to find oneself, after a bitter winter, standing atop a hilltop that overlooks the entire city, is spellbinding to say the least.
The vista before your eyes is something straight out of a watercolor painting. The clouds line up, less to provide shade and more to pose. The sun shines upon you, more to provide light than warmth. At 6000 feet above sea level the sun is a merciless beast. The air is dry and the wind blows with a purpose, the sun’s heat is nonexistent, only the glare blinds you.
Then the clouds move and a crack through those water vapor monstrosities throws just enough light upon the valley and you behold the beauty of Kabul in all its glory. I guess this is what it must have felt like to be the master of all creation; pure, content and vain.
On the outskirts of Kabul, lies Parwan, a hillock near a dam that turns into a popular springtime destination of much of Kabul’s residents. Every hillside turns into a lavender tainted frame that puts to shame anything that the Swiss countryside can throw up. You’d be surprised how cheesy this natural beauty can make you feel.
Families scatter among the hillsides occupying spaces with picnic baskets. Grills are set up, vendors hustle and kids run amok. Yet nothing can distract you from the ever-pervading bliss that permeates every pore of your senses as you stroll through this Babylonian garden of wonder that stretches before your eyes.
Hawkers sell the Afghan ice cream, Sheer Yakh, people click countless photographs of the lavender hillocks and between this men walk around with semi-automatic weapons slung over their shoulders. Yes, with the beauty comes the brawn, such is the dichotomy of Afghanistan. The more you see of it, the more you grow accustomed to it.
To find a spot of such tranquil beauty is rare and to expect it in such a place even rarer, but what do I know, I’m just a guy from Bombay.