Me, Grandpa, and the Empires


It was the morning of a harsh winter; everywhere was white, foggy and beautiful – like the so called paradise. The empire of snow was growing all around the village; a village located inside one of the world’s most dangerous country – Afghanistan – but for sure, was one of the most secure villages on the earth. Even the people were secure of today’s intangible war – technological war – because there was no network coverage area at all in the village.

The harsh winter always brought harsh circumstances for a loving grandpa and his modest grandson who loved sweeping snow with his plastic shovel more than anything in the world. The family awaited for the grandpa and the grandson to start their journey of sweeping the roof’s snow and if humble enough – sweeping the snow of the road that led to the village fountain. The journey began with burning fire to heat the fat of the sheep/goat our family sacrificed to commemorate Abraham’s honesty and willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac; and then lubrication of my grandpa’s old wooden shovel, and my plastic shovel. Lubrication of the shovel prevents the snow from sticking to the shovel and makes the snow-sweeping process steady.

With snow falling gently, we would have walked towards the roof slowly, sweeping all the way that led to the roof. I would have been assigned with the easiest task while sweeping, and would have swept the parts of the roof where I did not have to throw the snow all the way – out of the residential area. The true taste of the journey started when we got tired; sat and shared the differences of my era (era of technology – globally, and cruelty – nationally) and my grandpa’s era (era of simplicity, kindness and poverty). Our tales would have passed the borders of continents, including Hitler’s rise in WWI and WWII in Germany and the use of atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With the empire of snow and fog growing all around, I enjoyed listening to my grandpa, explaining how simple the world was without cars, internet, telephone and the modern deadly weapons; and my grandpa enjoyed listening to me explaining how Skype/social media works – where he would have then asked me to connect him with his sons and grandsons overseas when we are in internet coverage area in the center of our district.

With fatigue gone, the sweeping started again – an old grandpa trying to protect his house and family from an empire of fog and snow with his teenage grandson. Our second/third break for taking rest and sharing tales was special as I would have visited the kitchen to bring black tea and some fancy candy. The grandson and grandpa sitting on the swept part of the roof, sipping black tea, continued to talk on the Grass Era (the name – Grass Era is given by the local people to an era of abject poverty in Afghanistan during the 1950s and 60s where people ate grass), and more personal matters – counting the 30+ grandsons of the grandpa who struggled to learn their names.

And the story of grandpa and the grandson continued for years, with love and delight…

Rest in Peace Babai Jan.


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