strangers to each other

•June 26, 2010 • 26 Comments

azizi shekiba
(by afghan artist shekaiba azizi)

Roger Cohen, NY Times Op-Ed, ‘Feeling Bleu’, 24th June 2020:

When self-image and reality part company, when the differing worlds of a nation are strangers to each other, an explosion is always possible.

for the second time in a day, an op-ed columnist of the ny-times has read my mind and said something that is frighteningly reminscent of the sichyashun here (the sichyashun that we as a nation seem to be hurtling along with abandon into the abyss).
no wonder the gray lady is the consummate newspaper of record and repute.



•June 26, 2010 • 3 Comments

since everyone was using it to chat and ‘screen-suck’ office hours anyways, in an attempt at avant garde management that peter drucker would probably approve of, i have turned skype on its head and made its use mandatory in office. it is fast proving an excellent productivity tool. i can talk from the #2 down to the receptionist in a jiffy. meetings turn out to be more to the point. contact with provincial offices hundreds of kilometers and hours of drive away happen in real time. attendance is suddenly virtual. and the taglines serve the additional purpose of a barometer of the staff’s psychology today (too many grumbling taglines would call for a staff meeting with an inspirational talk as to why we are still at this, someone announcing they are waiting for good news could potentially mean s/he has just been interviewed for another job and a replacement should be in the works, romantic heartbreak taglines are outlawed.)

anyhow, here is an exchange on skype this morning with my executive assistant today (background: i was working very late last night from home and so woke up late this morning. and as usual in such occasions, first thing out of bed i checked the attendance and blasted a few tasks in between showering and getting dressed. a good part of my planning for work happens in those bouts of insomnia between 3-5 am and i have a handy notepad to jot these down as they come.)

– assistant: ok i will pass that on… by the way where are you now?
– me (because i am paranoid about such things): mercury. why?
– assistant: just wanted to know so that i could send you a vehicle?
– me: ok, tell ustaad atiq (my driver) to pack plenty of fuel. he will need it getting here.
– assistant (writes and scratches. pauses in concern and confusion. eventually writes:) ok. i will tell him that. is that the net cafe close to your home?
– me: no. it’s the closest planet to the sun. and i am on the exposed side of it.
– assistant: ok, in that case i will tell atiq to try a gravity assist slingshot maneuver in the vicinity of mars. should get him right down to your area.
– me (suddenly jumping up, no more amused by my own cleverness, the joke is on me): ok thanks. i’ll be waiting then.
– assistant (it’s her turn now to beat the metaphor to a mushy pulp beyond the layman’s recognition): ok. btw, re the 10.30 meeting today… the venue has been changed now to sigma the constellation orion.
(darn. probably means i am up for a ride to the farthest point in the city now.)

moral of the story: be careful who you try your jokes on. turns out she did her undergrad minor in astronomy.

tell me about it

•June 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Most people in government, I find, are there because they sincerely want to do good. But they’re also exhausted and frustrated much of the time. And at these moments they can’t help letting you know that things would be much better if only there weren’t so many morons all around.

op-ed columnist david brooks in the new york times, ‘the culture of exposure‘, 24th june, 2010

vespa scooter

•June 20, 2010 • 1 Comment


hello. help. my memory is failing me. who was it that i was talking to recently who admitted to possessing a vintage vespa scooter? it must have been no more than three or four days ago, but i have completely blocked the person out. all i can remember now are artistic and bohemian associations, and a vague sense that this person would be a fun companion for a journey across tibet. strange and frustrating. have i really become that forgetful? or, as is not too unusual, the lines between reality and dreamworld are getting all blurred up again?


also who stole my selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors?


‘i am not here to write. i am here to be mad.’ – robert walser


•June 17, 2010 • 3 Comments

a- where is a good discotek? (sic)

i- go find somewhere where they have lady gaga’s bad romance playing… i love it.. in all its glorious meaninglessness.. its so catchy


roma, roma-ma
gaga, ooh la la

دُرِ سُفته: پنجاه و یک

•June 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

ای گل تو دوش داغِ صبوحی کشیده ی
ما آن شقایقیم که با داغ زاده ایم



•June 16, 2010 • 1 Comment

i want to break something.

i want to throw a ripe watermelon off a 3 story building and watch the impact.

i want to throw ripe, blood-red pomogranates at a white wall with all the force in me arms.

i want to punch a punching bag and shoot at a goose feather pillow so that feathers fly all over the place.

i am so mad i am beyond myself.


and the thing of it is, no matter what i do, no matter how i distract myself -even if i go for a swim, or go around the world- the moment i return and sit here again, the whole nightmare will play itself out again.

and i am too much of a coward to pick up and leave it all. leave it all. just leave. wander into the heart of darkness and walk into wakhan with a rucksack and 750 afs in my pocket and good walking shoes. that is the only thing i will take in fact.