Wednesday, May 23, 2007

About Khan

Khan is from Peshawar, a city in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan; it's west of the Indus River, east of the Khyber Pass and Afghanistan. Khan is a Pashtu. Peshawar is Pashtu heavy. Abu Dhabi is Pashtu heavy. The traffic in Abu Dhabi is also heavy, and Khan spends his life in it.

Life among Pashtun can be like trying to handle a lethal blood borne pathogen– one misstep and you could be dealing with a murderous bio-hazard or worse, you could provoke the onset of Armageddon. The Taliban are Pashtun.

Here in Abu Dhabi, Khan is on the city streets 18 hours a day or at least that's what he'll tell you in broken English, his way of hinting for a sympathy tip.

He has brought with him from Peshawar ten thousand cousins, all of whom are named Khan, all of whom sport beards that look like the glued on type kids wear when they play wise men and shepherds in a Christmas pageant.

Travis Bickle, he drives a taxi. He offers up his prayers to his cranky, insecure god five times a day. I wonder what Khan must think about his life among people like me--western infidels whose women wear sleeveless shirts and short skirts? Is he like a Pashtun Travis Bickle? When he offers his prayers does he pray for a rain to fall that will wash the white garbage and clean shaven trash off the sidewalks?

Khan's perception of this temporal life rests upon the certainty that conflict, far from being an aberrant experience, is the autocratic and imperious sultan of the soul. His driving confirms that he is driven by his worldview.

You might be happily driving down Sheikh Zayed Road while under the influence of denial, mesmerized by the vision of post-futurity that is the architecture of Abu Dhabi, when Khan will abruptly materialize out of nowhere driving as though he is running qualifying laps in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Sometimes he travels in hyena packs on the hunt. They'll surround and box you in and hit the brakes without warning to seize a fare.

If Khan is behind you in traffic, and you indicate with your signal that you are about to change lanes, he doesn't see it as a polite warning. His genetic survival instincts which have helped him and his species to flourish in a sub-continental culture of famine, consumes him. His primordial will overtakes him, and he'll cut you off as though you and he are duking it out in a food relief cluster fuck bread line.

Travis Bickle amused himself by going to porno theaters--when he wasn't playing with pistols in front of a mirror. Khan sometimes amuses himself when he goes down to the public beaches in the middle of the day where western slabs of female flesh sunbathe. He walks into the sea wearing his shalwar qamiz, a loose-fitting knee length long-sleeved shirt over baggy pants. He lowers himself into the water, up to his chest, then reaches into his baggy pants and tugs on it until he reaches that ephemeral moment of bliss when his home made salty dong water swims into the sea like a slender dancing silver fish. Then he comes out of the sea, dries himself in the scorch of desert sun, power naps in the sand for thirty minutes before he drives back into a world that he has no desire to comprehend because it is not real.

This life is his momentary chronic ache to be endured before his day of glory when he draws his final breath and heads towards the sublimity where he will spend eternity with a penis that never softens, reclining upon couches lined with silk brocade, and the fruits of the gardens will be near at hand. He will be surrounded by 72 high-bossomed virgins and 28 pre-pubescent boys, all with wide and beautiful eyes, all of whom he'll deflower while his earthly wives look on in envy. His servants will dress him in fine silks, adorn him with gold rings on his fingers and gold chains around his neck, the finer things he'd deprived himself of on earth. His cup will forever runneth over.

In this Paradise promised to him in Qu'ran and Hadith, Khan will bless his Maker for giving him the strength to trawl the skyscraper canyons of Abu Dhabi to earn his daily ration of chapatis and pickled mangoes. And the best part of his eternity in heaven, in Jenna, is that no one will have blue eyes.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

To gain that worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else