Six things a 25 year old expat woman should never do in Afghanistan

*Disclaimer: This piece stereotypes Afghan men. The purpose is not to make sweeping generalisations (though it might seem that way). I have met some very progressive and amazing Afghan men during my time in Afghansitan. But the fact remains that Afghanistan still has a long way to go and the status of women drastically needs to improve. I wrote this when I was in Kabul – partly out of frustration and partly out of the need for some humour in my isolated life within the compound. I wanted to highlight some of my experiences in Afghanistan as a young Indian woman and at the same time share with my friends (exaggerated) snatches of conversation that might transpire amongst the locals. Re-reading it now, it seems so politically incorrect. However, I think it also speaks volumes of my state of mind at that point in time. And for these reasons, I think this note deserves a dekho. Obviously, I have no intention to offend anyone and my apologies if anyone finds it offensive. However, this is just another lens through which the social systems may be viewed.*

Never

… tell anyone you don’t have a husband unless you want your own mourning service organised by rest of the community. I mean, how bad can you possibly be that no man really offered to marry you!

Gosh! Maybe she escaped from a brothel or something 😮

… tell anyone that the hijab / burqa / chaadri is a symbol of female oppression. It is something that guards the modesty of a woman and you really ought to be ashamed about not knowing about the zillion different ways of wearing it. Besides, clearly you have no modesty of your own to protect.

I mean what more can you expect? She wears three-fourth sleeves that expose (a teeny bit of) her hands. If only she had a brother, she’d know better than to expose so much! Blame it on her parenting uff!

…obviously step out without your hijab. duh! Unless and of course you want the gunmen to drive a bullet into your skull for outraging the modesty of the rest of the women in the country. Which woman in this world shows her hair to another man than her husband anyway? Clearly all those shampoo ads on TV have no clue what they are talking about. Oh wait! There are no shampoo ads on TV in Afghanistan. Well, except Sehat which shows mountains and not particularly any mane.

So abnormal. These foreigners, I tell you! How can they step out like that? No wonder the rest of the world is so full of evil.

… talk to another man. If you just thought that was a joke, also know that they are fully imagining you naked and totally think you are loose and would go. After all you came all the way from half way across the world to work for their welfare. Which self-respecting single woman does that? Maybe there weren’t any men you could marry in your own country. And your dad is a complete loser for having let you go all by yourself to another country. Obviously he is irresponsible and doesn’t care about the honour of the family one bit. Of course you’d go. You are the same desperate bitch who gyrates to sinful bollywood music in a bikini, aren’t you?

Look at her lunching with all those men. She really is a certified slut. Make sure your daughter doesn’t talk to her and maybe try to be extra kinky with your husband tonight. What if he takes her for his second bride. Yeah she’s like thirty years younger to him. But men have their libido, you know. What can women do?

…go to a net cafe. Because no dignified woman obviously knows how to use the internet. Besides, how could women watch porn? I mean, why else would anyone go to an internet cafe?

Oh god, how can I now watch my porn. There’s a woman in the next cubicle. Isn’t it haram to watch porn? And that too in front of a woman? Oh but what the hell! I’ll watch it anyway. Wonder why my wife can’t give me head like the blonde in the video. She sure needs to learn a few lessons. Maybe the woman in the next cubicle will know how. She’s a foreigner after all.

… talk about male-female equality. Especially after you have established your Indian nationality. As if it isn’t bad enough that these stupid Americans played an influential role in raising the marriageable age for girls to 16 (even though the girl’s Wali can get her married younger than that). Now there is this bizarre Indian who thinks men and women are equal? The American jinn must’ve possessed her.

But Baalika vaadhu, Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi, Kasauti zindagi ki and other Indian soaps don’t exactly talk about equality. Indian women serve their men. Indian and Afghan culture are really similar. You are one of us. Let us find you a nice Afghan man to marry. Never mind you are not Muslim. Who cares what religion the woman belongs to anyway? (Beams a bright smile).

Tashakour. Khuda Hafiz.

We welcome your comments at letters@friedeye.com

4 Comments

4 Comments
  1. prerna

    good read. like the humor quotient.

  2. It was really good. *overlooked the generalisations and all exaggerations*

    Cheers

  3. Pavi just gets better. She is a super writer and this is one gem!

  4. I had a good laugh. This is excellent!

    Sergio

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