Guns, Chocolates & WhatsApp in Kabul

On the morning of July 17, Banu woke up to alarm sirens from three buildings. It was 4.20 am, 20 minutes before he usually woke up for his 12-hour shift that began at 6. As he excitedly rushed up the stairs, he wondered if the blasts would help extend his job.

Banuchandar Rajendran is a 29-year-old from Tamil Nadu who commands a team of 42 security guards at a guesthouse in Kabul. He’s been in Afghanistan since July 2013 looking for a job, and finally got his break at the guesthouse in April this year. He’s been leader of his team since May. That early July morning, he could hear the gunfire and the blasts from an attack that was already underway at the nearby airport. He felt glad this particular attack hadn’t happened at midnight and ruined his sleep. A more distant sense of relief also washed over him – such attacks kept him employed. For people like Banu, more blasts mean more jobs, more salary.

Instead of getting dressed, Banu slammed his body armour over a T-shirt and shorts and ran to the terrace to get a view of the action. He had to report to his bosses every 10 minutes about the intensity, frequency and direction of the blasts. He stood there for a long time, puffing cigarettes, watching the smoke-bursts along the half-dark horizon and the steady punctuating light of continuous gunfire. It was a new experience for him. He felt that even if something had fallen on his head, he might not have run for cover.

About an hour later, his thoughts began to wander. He wondered how long it would take for everyone to emergeso they could go in for their breakfast of Afghan rotis and tea. “A few [shells] hit around 500 to 800 meters away from us,” he told me later. “But I was also enjoyed watching them all. That was my first time watching blasts,” he said.

A few days earlier, he’d sent me a WhatsApp text describing the city as “hot, hot and hot with too many blasts.” … read it at Yahoo Originals.

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