Their smiles deepen the wrinkles on their weather-beaten faces; at times, these smiles stretch into hearty cackles or childlike laughter. Little joys like kite flying, cock or dog fighting have returned to war ravaged Afghanistan. Or perhaps, the reason is just another balmy Sunday afternoon in Kabul — with grandma happy to wrap herself in her hand-embroidered shawl. Or possibly, some of them are just lines of anticipation just before the ideal bahu Tulsi appears across the screens in Kabul.
Through the lens of amateur photographers Rakesh Sood, former ambassador to Afghanistan and Aly Mawji of the Aga Khan development network, we get a peek into the country’s brown rocky mountains, the blue rivers or simply a grazing herd that follows the sun down the meadows.
“The physical beauty of Afghanistan, it’s day-to-day life and the historical aspect is often overlooked,” says Sood, who’s spent the last three years in Afghanistan. Travelling to some of the most difficult terrains — the Shiwa lake and the snow-capped Pamir mountains — Sood and Mawji have managed to capture some of the country’s rare landscapes. Sood’s favourite, however, is the picture of the Bamyan valley from the seat of the now-destroyed Buddha.
Says Mawji, “People here are very forward looking. That’s what kept the country going.” A going that may just be getting smoother, if one goes by the pictures.