Fireworks

A dinner last night on the lovely terrace of the Gandamack guesthouse, a glass of cold white wine (actually 2) and a nice reunion with P. (last seen over lobster at Lobster Cove) made me forget about all the badness of the day and my sense of gloom. In the garden of the Gandamack you can pretend to be very far away from Afghanistan.

I arrived home in a good mood and went upstairs to make it an early night. I was just stepping in bed when I heard a car enter our compound. That is rather unusual but possible if a guard needs to be changed because of some family urgency. With my air purifier and the AC on full blast I didn’t hear what was happening outside.

But when the car didn’t leave I decided to go downstairs and find out what was going on. In my robe I stepped outside to see several drivers and security guards, talking on walkie-talkies and phones and looking grave. I was made to understand that fighting (‘jang’) was going on across the small river that separates our street from a street with the house of a doomed warlord/Karzai strong man, someone with a profile quite similar to Wali Karzai. My cooling and purifying apparatus had kept me from hearing the shooting and explosions.

I was taken to another guesthouse a few blocks away to reduce the risk of being in the line of fire of stray bullets or breaking glass in case of suicide bombers. I had a restless sleep in one of the empty non AC-ed guestrooms wondering whether all hell had broken loose or this was number 2 in a ‘ten little Indians’ drama and I just happened to live close by.

At 5 AM I returned to my guesthouse and calm had returned just an hour before at 4 AM according to my driver. The fighting had lasted 8 hours. Some of it was done from my friend Michael’s house who had the bad luck of living next door and found his door kicked in by Afghan police who demanded access to his rooftop, eyed his whiskey, and told him not to worry. Michael sent a lively and rather humorous description of the entire night but he is staying home today to collect himself. Trained as a nurse Michael was able to play a role in the improvised field hospital that was set up in his living room and treated some of the terrified women of the household for minor cuts and bruises and its children to chocolate and Pepsi.

I suppose all this was to put in perspective what I had only hours earlier considered a ‘concatenation of bad.’ Actually, today I feel much better, like the clear weather after a thunderstorm. The planning for Sunday’s big conference (my swan song?) about management and leadership for better health is going more or less according to my expectations and pieces are falling into place.

I do worry a bit about who will be the third little Indian, and, more importantly, where he lives.

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