return + a few other things on my mind

i returned from the provinces leaving behind my good health, some seven pounds or more of body fat (that part i don’t feel sorry about at all), and a favorite piece of reading material that i was not yet finished with – a november issue of harper’s magazine that i had picked up in philly and is now resting on the side of the sink in one of the roof of bamyan guesthouse’s bathrooms, a bit crumpled on account of evaporation and condensation of water, the way good reading material are in bathrooms all over the world.
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silly part of it is, i was in the middle of reading this really good piece on design fetishism – seductively titled ‘ways of not seeing’ by someone kingwell. a very thought provoking essay that i highly recommend if you can locate it on the net. the better kept secret around these parts is that i love harper’s magazine. i have loved it ever since i picked up my first issue years ago as an angst-filled and news-weary young man unable to take any more of time and newsweek, and actively seeking refuge in art reviews, literary magazines, and yes, daedalus – that rare quarterly subscription of contemporary poetry that made me count down weeks.
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no complaints, however. the trip itself was a success by all accounts, and were it not for the risqué behavior of staying up the last night around a bonfire while my legs felt like roasting at the same time as the wind bore into my back, i would have even come back in full health. my colleague accused me of going to these lengths because i had not had the opportunity to do all this as a teenager – i.e. campfire and the works. i wondered if he was right, and whether my feelings should be hurt. but i forgot this soon because it was very cold.
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i saw the sky starrier in bamyan than i had seen it in a full decade or more. i stared into it for hours one night until the realization of the insignificance of ‘all this’ became so perfectly apparent that i felt manifold lighter, more open, more free, and also a tiny bit depressed. i saw the milky way again after so many years –long and deep and magnificent and luminous against a pitch black sky with absolutely no light pollution. i located the big dipper and the other formations –which took me back years to when as a child i used to count these off to my dad using an astronomy book he had brought me from abroad as the two of us stood on the roof of our home in watan.
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i could use this one paragraph to tell you about bamyan and its people and the progress of the work and attitudes towards development and government and peppermint and assorted other ments. but i won’t. i made a promise long ago to myself to not machine-wash colors and whites (trust me on this one, otherwise your whites, usually your undies, come out colored pink and purple and other bizarre colors), and to reserve this space for ‘all other stuff’ – and though there are slips from time to time, i generally have come to see the utility of this place as a graffiti space, and nothing self-serious. plus, you may have heard that جهان دیده بسیار گوید دروغ so why should you believe my essentializing statements about bamyan or anywhere. you, like everyone else, are entitled to your right to go out there and form your own generalizing statements about people and places that you can then impose on other unsuspecting listeners/readers.
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bbc’s hardtalk with stephen zucker (or at least usually with stephen zucker) comes on at a very strange hour here, but the few times i have been struggling with sleep i have turned on the tv and been glad for it. this one time zucker was speaking to slavoj zizek who as a man of ideas is leaps and bounds ahead of our time and in that sense is as scary and endearing and prophetic as he is eccentric and interesting. another time the show was hosting the israeli academic shlomo sand who discussed this most debated conflict of all time from an altogether novel angle that left me a bit breathless and far too excited for 3 o’clock in the morning. afterwards, i scribbled this down somewhere: ’25 minutes of compact, stimulating, intelligent debate that makes you forget even the most fundamental human urge to channel-surf.’
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dave barry is alleged to have said once upon a time that “the world is full of strange phenomena that cannot be explained by the laws of logic or science. dennis rodman is only one example.” in the past couple of days since i have returned to kabul, i have repeated this sentence to myself many times over, variously replacing dennis rodman’s name with different names i am sure you have in your own mind too.
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archeologists are not in agreement over whether it is a lament or a boast, but almost every one of them find it intriguing. it is a one line graffiti on a wall in pompeii, most certainly written before the ashes of mount vesuvius covered it all up: “atimetus got me pregnant.”
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then there are the two up and coming actors amy adams and emily blunt. there is something about this duo. as far as i know, they have acted together in only one film –sunshine cleaning. but i have always seen them as somewhat kindred, and always a pleasure to watch. they are not scarlett johanssen drop dead gorgeous, or penelope cruz seductive. they are even a little bland, and altogether ordinary and next-door. but there is something about them. the forthrightness and honesty of their roles, i guess, and its unpretentiousness.

*
the man in the know (the one who scavenges through the garbage on odd days of the week) was overheard murmuring something to himself about monday being the day the new cabinet is formed. the weatherman also predicted it to be cloudy with a chance of sleazeballs.

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~ by safrang on December 10, 2009.

6 Responses to “return + a few other things on my mind”

  1. dear safrang,
    i too like zizek’s eccentricity.

  2. I have checked some pots through your archive. And now i have no idea if you are Afghan or not? the phrases you use, type of your sentences make me feel reading the book “Great Essays of US 2006” . by exposing your nationality you would help me to be less puzzled.

  3. “cloudy with a chance of sleazeballs” –and with that I dribbled tea into my keyboard.

  4. Greetings from Italy

  5. […] * the 9th para of this post might explain […]

  6. I am in a point in a life, where, selfishly, I can only think of you as someone who could understand/help… and you are missed more than ever everyday..

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