it’s one of those places. korengal valley of kunar. beautiful, with an exotic and haunting name. a river, steep slopes, a narrow valley, and pines all around. no, i have not been there, but a colleague who has been there was describing it to a wide-eyed and gape-jawed and fascinated me today. he was saying that what often saves you in korengal is timing. you don’t want to pass through before a certain hour in the morning and after 3pm. that’s when the darkness prevails in the valley and with it militant elements who have attained a near-mythical aura among soldiers based there. and all i can think of is, why it should be this way? why can’t i just pick up and take a leave for a few days in this beautiful spring season drive over eastwards into korengal? this time of the year, the valley must be beautiful.

speaking of which, i finally found what this verse of farhad darya actually means, when he sings (in pashto):

sheen raaket me lour da
saba ba biya paktiya ta zooma
saba ba biya paktiya ta zooma

i like the quick rhyme and the cadence and the beat of this piece. it is an earlier piece by farhad darya -maybe late 90s. and i was mystified as to why he would sing about a “green rocket”? until i asked it from a friend who hails from paktiya and he explained to me that those elaborately painted jingle trucks are often referred to as rockets or ‘raakets’ among some pashto-speakers, and especially the truck owners and drivers; and so it must be from a merry truck driver that farhad darya has borrowed the verse:

my green truck is ready and running
and tomorrow i am going to paktiya

just as the song ‘biya ki borim ba mazaar’ has often filled me with an urge to travel up north (a dream that was gladly realized recently), whenever i listen to this quick and happy tune, i want to, yes, go to paktiya aboard a green ‘raaket’

speaking of korengal, by the way, this haunting picture from korengal won the ‘world press photo of the year’ in 2007:



~ by safrang on June 8, 2008.

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