October 4, 2009

When you look out the window as the inconvenient once-a-day-only PIA flight descends into Balochistan, the view is simply stunning: craggy and harsh, you can see various shades of brown, punctuated over and over, with yet more brown. The terrain is extremely rugged and flatlands seem few-and-far between. It seems almost as if an artist (with limited access to color) decided to slash her pallette over and over again until the oils ran over each and the spatula formed beautiful patterns across the landscape. The region is stark, almost barren, very sparsely populated and farmed green-patches are few and far between.

After landing, I observed a little bit of the city/town on my way from the airport to the h0tel. It's an interesting paradox, this Quetta. Whereas on one hand I've been asked to put on a 'chaddar' (not-quite-a-veil, more like a very large dupatta wrapped around the body) I was lugging a suitcase and the chaddar soon fell off my head and nobody batted an eyelid. Unlike Karachi, or Islamabad, I was walking around in a melee filled with men and I felt absolutely invisible. And I have no idea if that's a good thing or a bad thing or even a normal thing for this province-that-I-have-seldom-been-to. But it's a thing I noticed today.

Yesterday a friend was cheerfully telling me all about how she heard Amreeki drones are heading towards Quetta in the near future (all-the-while-telling-me-how-the-next-two-weeks-should-be-perfectly-safe). Today, I discovered that for some reason Quetta International Airport is also the Airforce Airport (which is not the case in most other cities, even Islamabad get's its own civilian airport). I also discovered that when six (I counted) fighter jets take off on top of your head it makes quite a ruckus. Everything seems normal on the surface though, but that's Pakistan for you: teeming on the inside but seemingly-unruffled on the outside. No one ever quite knows the whole story, or even if the story one knows is the 'right' story, but each story must be told. And re-told again and again until somehow, in some way, someone gets it right.

2 comments:

Desert Mystery said...

Is it true that there are more Pathans in Quetta then Baloch? Wiki says it be so

Lonely Perverted Soul said...

So u're in quetta.. Thats cool...