Friday, June 2, 2017

Kabul, I love you

Written by Chintan Girish Modi on June 1, 2017 (published a day later.) 

I woke up yesterday* to the news of a bomb blast in Kabul, and it took me a while to allow it to sink in. I began emailing some friends, checking if others had marked themselves safe on Facebook, and contacting others via WhatsApp. When you have visited a place and made friends there, you think of it as more than a conflict zone or a casualty of geopolitical calculations. A blast is not merely a blast. It signals a finality in terms of certain relationships. It means faces frozen in time, montages of laughter and hugs.

The act of checking if a loved one is alive is that strange moment when even writers run out of words. Fortunately, everyone I reached out to survived the attack but news reports will tell you that many others did not. 

Tonight, I write not to mourn the dead, for they will never wake up again. I write to honour the ones who paint murals to brighten up their war-ravaged city, who dance like this moment is all there is, who report on kite-runners and cricket players, who send me photographs of the freshest fruit this season, who sing love songs on karaoke nights, who fill me in on their beloved pets, who tell me about the broken window panes in their office building, who ask me how I am before their own tears have dried up.

Chintan Girish Modi was a speaker at the South Asian Youth Conference 2017 that was held in Kabul. He lives in India, and has worked as a consultant to the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development.

*May 31, 2017