Sep 1, 2005


the national sport
of afghans...

Blame it on a quest for adventure or perhaps a quest for dollars or even blame it on your testosterone. It’s still a mystery unsolved by science - why men sometime enjoy taking the crazy decisions that they take - like bungee jumping, like marriage or like coming to Afghanistan? Why I landed up in this God forsaken country- Afghanistan? God forsaken... Maybe. But certainly not ‘dollar forsaken’ as it seems right now .

After spending about 9 months in Afghanistan, I guess I am in a better position to discuss it than most of u guys. There are so many mysteries about this country that I fail to fathom. How can a country that gave India the Mughals (and of course the Taj) get stuck in Stone Age for the past 300 years? How can a country that was once a cornerstone of culture get itself reduced to tribal warfare and Taliban? How can a country that once had more Buddhists than China at one time become the battlefield of the world?

Afghanistan to its credit has never been ruled by a foreign power for long for just two reasons- the tough Afghan terrain and the tougher Afghan people. The British failed here. The Soviets had their worst embarrassment here. (The only other countries in history to have an embarrassment anywhere as close are the US in Vietnam and India in the Olympics) But forget the foreign rule. Afghans have never been ruled by themselves for a long time. Afghanistan was prospering well under the rule of king Nadir shah(?). I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that 30 years ago Kabul was more modern than Delhi and girls roamed the city in mini skirts & sleeveless tops.(I hope Kabul catches up with those good old days soon) But all were short lived as more than 2 decades of war has brought it to its present sorry state.

Most Afghans now feel “enough is enough and its time for us to move ahead ourselves “and of course with US dollars!

IF you travel and live in a country like Afghanistan or Somalia, you may even get a crazy idea that India is a super developed country. When I was in vacation in India last May, I almost got this happy delusion. Hey, forget the pot holes; we at least have roads I thought. Forget the power cuts, we at least have electricity. Forget Lallu Prasad Yadav, we at least have railways. Forget mosquitoes, we at least have medicines.

If Indian women think that they are curbed in a conservative Indian society, they should have seen afghan women under Talibs. I very much doubt they were allowed to remove their Burkas (Pardhas) during bath. I can understand someone punished for skipping school but here they publicly canned girls who tried to read secretly.
I was happy that I could commit the crime of talking to my wife in public without being stoned by Taliban. I was happy that I can sing and dance without being shot on the ass by Taliban.

By the way, I was actually happy that I was earning in Dollars, spending in Afghani and saving in Rupees.

Democratic India suddenly stood before me with a new meaning. And I must thank Afghanistan for making me realize that Demo-crazy is Bliss!
Jai Hind!

by the pool,
Kabul Inter

July 2005


  1. I remember President Najibullah being shot and hung by a tree or some thing of that sort. It sent a shiver down my spine. But then, worse things were set to come for the Afghans. People are people everywhere. Wonder why some of us are in chains. Of the worst kind.

  2. Hi

    Interesting analysis. I am reminded of some saying about 'No shoes and No legs' and we should be happy about it.

    One possible reason Afghanistan was not under foreign rule is they dont have oil (or anything much worthwile). Russians failed more because of US involvement and IMHO, today they are practically under US occupation.

    Are you back in Kabul or no going back?


  3. hey u gone back home?? fanatism never brought any good

  4. **Why I landed up in this God forsaken country- Afghanistan?

    :) yeah ur in a very interesting place hehehe...

    Nice pics...


  5. yes ur absolutely right, india feeels like heaven compared to where u are,
    we just crib a lot bout india i guess

  6. Anonymous3:15 PM

    Machan,where are you,your blogging frequency has gone down!! keep blogging man..


  7. "By the way, I was actually happy that I was earning in dollars, spending in Afghani and saving in rupees." - Sounds interesting!!

    Audacious country to live! Brave Man!!

  8. >>>> It’s still a mystery unsolved by science - why men sometime enjoy taking the crazy decisions that they take - like bungee jumping, like marriage or like coming to Afghanistan?

    Well for sure the first 2 are not crazy. Bunjee jumping, or taking a roller coaster ride is just for the sheer fun of it..and people do it only after making sure its safe... the reason is speed and the inquisitiveness to experience free fall, weightlessness..

    About marriage.. no comments... that needs a whole post for discussion.

  9. Hi
    Am bk after a very long time indeed .. was not comin online at all for a long time .. hmm anyways u r God Forsaken country .. ya it is indeed .As u compare India with Afghan india turns out to be the best .. ans even otherwise India is the best but we do need some changes here only then we can see a lot of change here

  10. *SLN...who said afghan doesnt have anything worthwhile? Its one of the most resourceful countries in the world in terms of mineral wealth...Its yet to be exploited. The US are not here for humanitarian reasons man!

  11. Ashok,

    I think US is there more for Bin Laden and strategic reasons of getting a foot hold in the central / south Asian region than for direct economic reasons (apart from the reconstruction stuff). Of course, my knowledge is second-hand.