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How cool is this?

 

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The plaque just before Masoods grave!

Masoods final resting place. A hero, a defender, a fighter, a leader… a martyr. i couldn’t believe how such an inevitable being could lie so helplessly. i cried. he didn’t belong there. Before his death, he had dreamt he was going to die. he cried for his nation and his people. what will happen to them?

His memorial. Still undergoing construction…

This is how it will look like once completed.

One of Masoods men handed me this flower from his garden and told me that this flower will never grow old. It has a felt texture. i think he’s right.

When the bombings would get too extreme, Masood would seek cover underground.

This is where Masood would sit and ponder. Bombs would drop but he wouldn’t budge. That’s what you call determination and bravery!

Masoods newly built family home for his 5 daughters and one son. just before moving in, he was martyred. His family visits annually and stay here.

Masoods garden. So serene and lovely. haven’t seen any place like this in all of kabul!

Masoods guest house, long before he built the above house.

His house which he lived in. Had only 2 rooms and one bathroom. It was this that made me know that he was very dedicated to his people and didn’t pocket peoples money for his own cause.

Masood lives on. One of the few pics i see him laughing.

Panjsher Valley.

I will provide a detailed post about the trip as soon as i get the time.

Ba omideh deedaar….

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An Afghan Photo Gallery

With all credits to James Hill for his spectacular works.








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Kabul in pictures III





Photoes… thats self-explanatory. i’m not in the mood for writing much. Hope ur having a better day than i am.

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Kabul in pictures II

Mud houses

Can you see Hamid Karzai? The yellow sarachas (station wagons) are taxis.

The famous pakool. Guess who? Qahramaane millee Afghanistan (the National hero of Afghanistan) Ahmad Shah Masood.

Near Deh Afghanan or Foroushgah. Its dirty and smelly, but i enjoy it! It’s part of Kabul.

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Sayaafs gov’t cars- final preparations

Just before leaving for the funeral prayers


When an old man dies, a library burns down. – Chinese proverb

One of my most dearest family member passed away on Friday on the 2nd day of the holy month of Ramadan. My paternal grandfather with whom I lived my entire life to the true definition of the word had passed away gracefully.
These lines from a poem i once read came to my mind-
The beauteous yesterday fades away like blushed twilight,
I grieve not, but find splendour in the memories.
God granted his wish. he passed on during Ramadan on a Friday, five minutes prior to iftaar. he was in coma for a few days before taking his final breath. the doctors had given up on him saying that there is no possibility for him to awake from coma.

He proved them wrong!

The final breath.
Five minutes before iftaar, he opened his eyes and said nothing more but Allah Allah Allah… just before taking his final breath, he smiled. Perhaps he saw visions of angels or paradise.
He didn’t move, he didn’t die a painful death. God truly loved him.

Before dying, he had only two words of advice- Islam wa Itifaaq (unity). he also wanted to be buried in Afghanistan, near his orchard. A wish which was granted.

Kabul International Airport- 3 hour wait.
On Thursday my aunts and uncles arrived from Australia with grandads coffin. Ustaad Sayaaf had organised for a funeral car, his government cars and police cars to assist in the smooth transition of the situation. My relatives were to spend the night in Dubai but Ustaad Sayaaf had instructed Ariana Airlines to take up whatever means possible to ensure that my relatives didnt miss the flight. this resulted in delaying the flight for three hours. most passengers were annoyed at my relatives.
I was waiting for hours at the airport. i managed to enter into the terminal (something no one was allowed to do unless you have a flight).

Finally, they arrived! we hugged in turn as we cried softly. the cars were brought to the terminal (Again, no afghans were allowed but i guess it was all Ustaad Sayaafs magic).

i was dreading home, afghan women have the tendency to wail and scream. Some even pull their hair out. Something i am not accustomed with.

we got home, the house was filled with men and women. no room to walk. i went upstairs to see how my grandmother was doing, but thankfully my grandmother had taken the news easier than i expected.

Ustaad Sayaaf was downstairs, he loved my grandfather very much and holds deep respect for him. His presence meant a great deal. His life was at risk, yet he still attended. My grandfather had wanted Sayaaf to lead the funeral prayers, which Sayaaf gladly accepted. Someone came in and told us that Sayaaf wanted to see my grandfathers children alone, in private. i went along!

Ustaad Sayaaf- awkward encounter.
it was my first time seeing Sayaaf. he was tall, of large build and well dressed. i would say beneath all the facial hair and despite the old age, he was handsome and what afghans call noorani. my aunts greeted him, kissing his hand as a sign of respect. In most cases the elders would either pull back and won’t allow kissing of the hand (a gesture of humbleness) or they would kiss the face/head of the younger person. Sayaaf didn’t. when it was my turn, i maintained my dignity by greeting him from a distance (i wonder what crossed his mind since i didn’t kiss his hand AND i was the youngest in the room). i didn’t mean any disrespect, i just didn’t see any reason as to why i should. There was much to learn about this man. i respected him, but the only male person whose hand i kissed was my grandfather and my father. We sat in silence. Ustaad Sayaaf cried, i saw him wipe away his tears as he gave us advice which strengthened us. he said very little. we continued to sit in thunderous silence.

Eventually he stood up, asking to be excused. he left the room with his companions. we reunited with the ladies.

The day went on and the house was filling by the minute. It was iftaar time, the cook had set everything.

Cultural difference.
I was a little annoyed. My aunts and uncles had arrived from overseas, seeing my grandmother after 6 months AND there was a death in the family. i expected the visitors to be a little more considerate and allow for family time together so we could grieve alone. at least for the first day. but i guess not! They stayed for iftaar, some spent the night. This was Afghan culture, something i needed to learn and adapt to.

We wanted to see my grandfather but they said to wait til the next morning. They didn’t want to leave him in the open for too long. so the coffin stayed closed. I couldn’t believe it. the last time my grandfather was at our house, he was alive and breathing. now he’s lifeless in a box, in a coffin.

Our final good byes…

The very next morning, 600am the house was awake. my eyes shot open. my sister was asleep beside me, sharing my double bed. she woke up as well. people were downstairs, they had uncovered the coffin. i jumped out of bed. ‘are you going?’ my sister asked. ‘yeah for sure,’ i replied as i quickly undressed from my pajamas and into something more appropriate. So did she, we didn’t say a word.

Both of us managed to finish at the same time. i grabbed my white scarf as i rushed out the door pulling it over my head, covering my hair. i dont know why we were running. with unwashed faces we bolted down three flights of stairs. we reached the third flight- the final flight. that’s when i stopped. i peeked and saw my grandfather lying peacefully in his coffin. my grandmother had her head resting to his right on the coffin, weeping silently. other women surrounded her but none felt her loss. Some were reading quraan. some were crying loudly.

i slowly walked down the stairs in a bit of a shock, my sister behind me. i went closer to my grandad, people moved as my sister and i made our way through. my eldest aunt was there, she held me tight as tears came down my cheeks uncontrollably. My grandad resented screaming and wailing near the dead. he always told us not to scream.

Despite being a week since his death and the impact of travelling, he looked so peaceful, his face was glowing. His white beard, his skin, his tall height dressed in white kafan. he looked holy and heavenly. he really was smiling.

i stood by his coffin as women sobbed. i held my grandmother. i thought of the good times we shared. My grandfather was the one person i held deep respect for. i never spoke back to him or displeased him. he was like a friend to me. i lifted my head to look at him, he looked like he was asleep, i expected him to awake any second. but he didn’t. thats when it hit me. he’s gone forever!

my aunts consoled other women, asking them not to raise their voice as it will cause him discomfort.

Ladies read the quraan loudly. They recited Surah Yasin.

My aunt finished reading, i sat by my grandads coffin opposite my grandma and opened the quraan. i started reciting softly next to him, unsure whether he could hear with all the sobbing. but i recited anyways. I felt very lucky to be able to read the Quran for him.

i finished reading Yasin and passed the Quran to my sister.

My maternal grandma sat next to me and recited Surah Yasin in a beautiful voice which made many cry. I was sitting beside her and joined her in the recitation. She then raised her hands and other women did too and made dua for him and asked God to grant him Jannah and to strengthen his family. Ameen.

We continued with Surah Alrahman together, sharing the Quraan.

Leaving for his resting place.
Soon it was time for him to go to his final resting place. We kindly asked the rest to leave for my family to spend some time alone. My uncles and my dad accompanied us. We said our final good byes. it was hard for my grandmother. but she was strong. They had a very loving relationship. my grandfather wooed her and was very romantic. My grandfather used to tell me stories of how he fell in love with her.

my aunts took my grandmother away. i was left with my uncles and my dads cousins daughter. My dads cousins came and prepared my grandfathers coffin to be taken to the funeral car. My dad and my eldest uncle looked on, crying. i hugged my dad and cried, this time much more than before. My dad whispered in my ear, ‘sabr… sabr jameel’ (we speak in Arabic) i kissed him on the cheek and my uncle held me close to him as i continued crying.

I didn’t want to say good bye to my grandfather, it was all too soon.

I walked away from the coffin without seeing my grandfather, i didnt want to weaken. i needed to be strong. i didnt need to say good bye, he was still with us. i could feel him around.

my dads cousin pulled me close to her as we made our way to join the rest.

Funeral prayers
the house was full of ladies.

i went to my bedroom, locked my door and looked out my balcony. i had never seen that many people in my entire life. It was only half of the men who will be at the funeral prayers. Sayaafs cars and police cars were lined up in an orderly fashion. i watched on. The cars moved further. The funeral car was making it’s way towards the convoy of cars. the police car was first followed by the funeral car and then Sayaafs 4Wds followed by more police cars and then the guests.

The roads were blocked. it was very well organised. i know my grandfather liked it very much. Later i learned that 1500-2000 men had attended the funeral prayers which was led by Ustaad Sayaaf.

Death- a lesson for all.
I have learned many things since his death. I saw with my own eyes that it is only your good deeds and your faith that accompanies you to your grave. It is only Islam which will defend you from the punishments and torments of the after life. as my grandfather said, Islam and unity! In todays world, it’s a real challenge. But it’s the challenge that makes it rewarding!
Life is a test, and death is the final exam.

My grandfather was a good man. Never spoke ill of anybody, attended to people during their time of need and practised Islam to his maximum capability. As most people said, he was a father to everyone.

May Allah grant him Jannatal Firdaws. ameen.

Ba omideh deedaar, Khuda negahdaar.

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Invited- 40, Attended- 70

my half prepared dining table…. i’m so proud!

Yeah, imagine trying to find your shoes in this mess!

Last night we had invited my aunts husband and his family (men only). i got home from work and straight to domestic duties. We had hired cooks, so only the catering was left for us.

I prepared the dining table for enough people- fourty! slowly i recieved news that the numbers had increased to 48 and then to 52 and soon enough to 70!

we had to resort to the afghan ways, and lay out a table cloth on the floor to accomodate for all.

all went well… when i saw the sight of the shoes which was taken off prior to entry, i couldn’t help but laugh (i even took a photo).

The guests left, the night ended with playing pool.

Then i hit the sack… had work today!

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