Just off the main entrance to Kohat, a rural cul-de-sac of sorts was our destination. Our transport had dropped us off in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, an expression I understood quickly—perhaps just to calm myself—was mute as the middle of nowhere would be as far away from the nearest hint of civilisation and/or transit as possible, we were still on the road.
The edge of it at least.
It was pitch dark and though we were scared to ask the two women who were dropped off along with us we still did manage to somehow with our pathetic attempts at Pashto. To our relief we weren’t far—and further to our relief—there wasn’t a local man around to have noticed us talking to their women.
A few phone calls following a wayward flash light flickering in the distance was at once a sigh of relief and momentary rectal prolapse, as we stepped into the van that would take us further.
It smelt of goat. Little did we know we were to meet the very owner of that smell as it innocently awaited our knives and forks. Sorry did I say knives and forks? I meant our bare hands and licked gravy dripping fingers. I say awaited because I believe animals have by now at least grown accustomed to the carnivorous needs of humans and they’ve come to realise just what we’re thinking when we eye them meandering away in their Disney like settings and not-so-Disney like lives. Or when we gently bring them closer and closer to sharp objects.
The darkness aside, every region has its own uniqueness and this was no different! I had heard stories of how Pathans were very hospitable and I had experienced it first hand very nicely. I had also heard they were very happy with food around and less with variety but more with quantity.
In a half hour of our introduction with the goat and its scent there was a chaotic collision of meat, coal, skewers and a lot of vibrant Pashto. Amidst this all was us two aliens confused as fuck by the chaos, and I say chaos because all my attempts of understanding the situation were being over written by different hypotheses before I could grasp the one I already had in mind.
By the end of it all there was dinner served in four different forms, our welcome smell no longer there but the aroma of spices and oils and the hunger of travel almost made us forget where it all came from. I will only say one thing about the ensuing display of abject masculinity; I had a rough time deciding whether I was a cannibal or I just liked meat.
No, that goat wasn’t expecting this.
Originally published at haideraliakmal.tumblr.com as part of an earlier travel log..