The day of the journey arrived sooner than I hoped. It was not a great day to wake up at 6 am after spending time with friends till 1 am in the night (yes you guessed it right, that was my last supper at least that’s what some of my friends told me. I should thank those friends, who made it really a memorable night). However I managed to wake up and reach the embassy before 9.30 and I was surprised that they kept their promise and issued me the visa. As I was leaving someone working at the embassy asked me why do I want to go to Afghanistan? I expected this question before they issued me the visa, nevertheless I was glad they asked me this question and I informed them about the project. Then he gave me a big smile and said “it is going to be challenging and something like you have never seen before”. I could not distinguish whether it was a warning or a wish, either way I thanked him for the visa and left the embassy.
I reached the school to say my final goodbye’s (I think at some point even I was convinced that I will not come back again, call it peer pressure or fatalism), I was in for a surprise that some of my friends got me a box full of chocolates as my farewell gift. I remember watching the movie Forrest Gump, and one of the dialogues is that “life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might get”. How symbolic was this that my friends give me a box of chocolates. I could never thank them enough for their concerns and care and I think these are the people that make you think life is worth living. Soon all my colleagues joined in for a picture, maybe it would have been my last one with them, but destiny has its own plan.
After few wishes and goodbye, it was time for me to get to the airport, and every time when I am in Airport, something has gone wrong. This is one situation in my life where Murphy’s Law “everything that is bound to go wrong will go wrong” is applicable every single time. However this time I consciously wanted to change it and hence reached the Airport at least 2 hours before the flight and did not carry anything except my laptop bag (because of my experience of losing my checked in luggage). Finally boarded the flight and everything seemed to go so perfectly well that I began to doubt, whether if this was part of a bigger scheme of things. Soon in six hours (which is quite a long time for sitting in one place), I reached my first destination and to my horror, this was the same airport, only two months back, I promised myself that I will never fly though. As fate would have it I was there, but I can only laugh at how I make these promises only to break them.
After an hour and half of waiting, I boarded my next flight to Dubai, and this was a short one actually I could only see the takeoff and landing, I think in 45 minutes it’s the best you could see. As I had sometime in Dubai, ordered a coffee and was relishing it, when for the first time I witnessed something that made me think. As I was drinking my coffee, I saw a couple of kids playing next to me and taking one of these nicely wrapped sugar package and opened it and ate its contents. I just thought they were having fun and did not want to stop them so kept my focus on the coffee and the kids kept doing this and they were smiling. When suddenly one of the ladies sitting in the table next to me took the sugar from my table and chased the kids away. I was shocked, not because the lady took the sugar from my table, but on the realization that people have lost their ability to enjoy the simplest things in life. After all what is more beautiful than a smile on a child’s face.
Soon I realized it was time for me to collect my boarding pass for my final flight to Kabul. I went to the counter to get the boarding pass and I was given a form to fill in. This was a very strange form, where I need to give my consent saying that if my baggage gets lost in the flight, it’s my fault and the airline is not to blame. I thought to myself, so one has to pay the money to fly in this airline with luggage and they can lose the luggage but it is your fault because you chose to fly with them. This for me is a perfect contract to implement in financial markets (or should I say already implemented), where investors can take your money and invest and if they lose your money then it’s not their fault rather yours because you chose to invest with them in the first place. To my surprise this airline was not as bad as I thought it would be and actually managed to reach Kabul. (What happened on my first day in Kabul… to be continued)