Out of the comfort zone
“You have to visit the Khyber Agency”, and it starts the slide show of all the war-zones and war affected people. Disabled, traumatized, the conservative elders who would do, anything (I cannot even start to imagine) if they see only women in a car and realize they are with a driver, and not even a man from the family. And then comes the taboo of girls working outside the boundary of their homes, who cares about the character, she works, she definitely has a question mark on her character.
Then comes the realization of the infrastructure. For some one who would not watch news because of the fear of watching something bad and being disturbed by it for as long as one lives. The damaged buildings that are now haunted by the souls of those who once lived and worked there happily.
So I had a week ahead of me in which I would assess the risk of me going, of me wearing my everyday clothes, thinking of the world if I never got to come back. But at the same time assuring my family that all would be good, because the other girl accompanying me goes out there everyday.
and then came the day when I had to go. Even though I was going only for a few hours, I had to write down all the contact numbers of my co-workers for my mother to track me down if I went missing. The night before, I had to learn the names of the places and was asked by each of my family member so everyone knows where I will be, at what hour of the day.
Did I mention I had to ask about the dress code, being a Pukhtoon, I had to ask about the dress code, never thought of that. But the global village phenomena has brought the farthest parts of the world close and the closest part has moved farther away. So not exactly my fault, is it?
Overcoming all these fears, came the day when I finally went to the Khyber Agency. And seriously, is this what I was so scared of coming to? Its just like my own village. Being a woman is actually what saves you a lot of trouble in the Pukhtoon culture. I and the girls went around doing our own business while the “conservative” (in apostrophes because that is how they are known to the world), went around minding their own business.
We reached back after a happy day spent with the women of the Khyber agency. Much more grateful for the life that we have which till now we had overlooked. Listening to their tales of the war and the hardships they have over come, made us realize how small our worries are.