All has been quiet on the registration front, and you are beginning to get a little worried. Not only that, your international director, you imagine, is wondering what you are doing with your time. You picture him tapping a pencil on a desk, thinking, ‘ What is that man doing? Why did I appoint him? Where are the results? And why is he wasting his time and my money blogging about it all?’
It is all too likely that your file, your precious file is still shelved beneath Jalil’s desk, about level with his hairy knees. It is not a good image. So, you decide to make another trip in to Kabul centre. A light-hearted trip, to tweak things into action. You had planned to go last week, but a large explosion at the Indian Embassy put paid to that idea. You hope this morning’s trip will be quieter. Thinking ahead, you prepare a letter, requesting, in the most polite and respectful terms, that they pull out their fingers and lets get those buns in the oven gentlemen!. Or something to that effect.
The trip into the city centre is quiet. The road to the Indian Embassy is blocked off and only private cars and Government vehicles are allowed down the main streets. No motorcycles (used for suicide bombings). No taxis (they’re used for bombings too).
You are getting good at this. Strategically, you first go to see Urfanzada. He is cheerful, welcoming and happy, assures you, as you expected, that the High Commission for Approving New NGOs will be meeting soon, very soon. ‘Ahhhh yes’, you say, ‘but that is what you said last week.’
‘Haha! Yes! Let us go talk to Jalil.’ Urfanzada chirps. Jalil is in his office, crouching on a sofa. He stands up. He is very tall, you notice for the first time. Perhaps that is why he crouches. (but why? That doesn’t make any sense either. You give it up. He crouches, he is hairy, he is Jalil. The end). Jalil is moderately welcoming. ‘There will be a meeting soon. I told you that. Do not worry. Put your thoughts together and be without concern’, he says. ‘Perhaps, there may a meeting this Thursday even. Why not?’
Urfanzada is delighted and he claps you on the back. he interprets Jalil’s notions very optimistically. ‘See! Thursday! Do not be concerned! If it is God’s will, there will be a meeting this Thursday! Haha!’ He bounces on his toes. Meanwhile you have noticed it is all worded in the passive voice. No one is actually saying they will hold the meeting, just that there might be one. Like it might magically appear, shazaaam! A Meeting!
You thank them. You thank Jalil, you thank Urfanzada, you thank them both again. You shake hands, and Jalil holds yours for a long time. You take your leave, and turn promptly from their offices, around 180 degrees to the office of the big boss, Said Hashem ‘Basirat’. Last time you saw him, he advised you to learn Pashto. Since then, you have learned a key Pashto word. It is ‘Sengay’ It means, ‘How are you?’, and you use it to great effect when you enter Basirat’s chambers. Happily, he is welcoming and reads your flattering, get-a-move-on-letter quickly. Having determined your agenda, he presses a secret button. ‘Bring Jalil’, he says. Jalil is duly summoned and you and he go through a little charade of pretending to see each other for the first time. Jalil even winks at you.
‘We need a meeting’ Basirat imperiously states. ‘This Thursday.’ Jalil nods, as though the idea is startling and new. ‘Yes, why not?’
‘So. We will meet this Thursday. We need to meet. It is a long time since we met. The High Commission will meet, and then we will have the outcomes.’ Basirat looks at you carefully. It seems there is nothing else to say, and it probably isn’t going to get any better than this. You don’t want to outstay your welcome. You thank him profusely, and hand on heart, leave the room.
It is a quiet ride back to the other side of town.
Near the Ministry of Economy, a small boy sells holy incense from a can.