(Day 19 in Kabul)
It was 11 in the morning when the call came in.
Breakfast was the last thing in mind on my day off from work and yet the call was something I could not ignore – it was from a friend at our workplace in Kabul inviting us for dinner at his home. He is from India, a very senior person at the office and staying alone. Dinner was still far away when I put down the receivers. I looked at the weak alarm clock at my bedside – I could have gone back to sleep but the fact was I was hungry. I gave a quick call to buddy who staying couple rooms away. They have decided to go out for lunch sharp at 1. Hmmm, one o’clock was still 2 hours away – just in time for me to take a quick shower and catch that comedy serial on TV.
Sharp at one, I was down at the hotel lobby – wearing my usual jeans, T-shirt and of course, pouch bag containing my ID and a fully charged camera. I was thinking that there will a driver to take us to lunch but I was wrong. My buddies had decided to walk out from the hotel on foot for lunch. Did I hear them right? Walking out – in Kabul? Thanks but no thanks – I decided against that idea and so did another buddy of mine. We rather have the same hotel food instead trying some adventurous. And thankfully lunch at the hotel we stayed did not disappoint us – they had chicken briyani and stirred mixed vegetables – Chinese style.
After a heartful lunch, it was back to the room to watch movies and of course to catch on more sleep.
Time for dinner and once again, there was no driver waiting to take us but fortunately the friend who invited us, came to the hotel to take us to his house, couple blocks away. We walked. I had to literally look over my shoulder for any suspicious characters but there was none. After walking through several unlit lanes, we reached his house. The housekeeper stayed with his family stayed within the same compound, taking care of the housekeeping and cooking for my friend who is staying alone. So, having some Malaysians over for dinner is a welcome change. We sat down in the living room, with a can of beer each, chit-chatting with my friend whilst the housekeeper’s daughter was busy in the kitchen cooking Indian dishes. It felt good to be having some alcohol on a cold Afghan night.
Dinner was served and thankfully, it was not the usual oily Afghan dishes but rather a good Indian dishes. The disappointment was that it was not as spicy we has wished it to be but it was OK. There was small chapatis and an almost sweet chicken curry. After dinner, we headed back to the living room for dessert and more chit chatting. But of course, we had to go back and it was something we dreaded to do because it sounded dangerous to be walking in Kabul but my friend assured us that it is very safe to walk. Nonetheless, he asked his housekeeper to join us on our journey, just to keep us happy. The lane was dark and there was less traffic on the road but we got to the hotel safe and sound.
But will I go for another walk in Kabul? Not likely any more.
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