A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

As you all know that I always blog about things that I really like but this time I am writing a blog about a picture that I not only like but Love.  It’s my most favorite picture therefore, I regularly make it a cover photo of my Facebook page. Seeing that a lot of my friends approached me and they are curious to know my obsession with this photo. Some assumed this picture might be reflecting a scene of my life, the other said maybe because it’s a reflection of a traditional dress so I like it etc.

Well, deceptively, there are hundreds of photos on the internet most people only give photos a quick look and move on to the next one. Most of the time we don’t have time to look closer at any photo, thus; it’s unlikely that any photo will catch our attention in the first place but to tell you the truth, it’s perhaps the only photo so far that I come across and I paid more attention. It was May 20, 2013, and since then my heart fell in love with it.

So, why do I love this photo?

A picture often speaks a thousand words. People have their own unique way of presenting images that tap into their won psychic debates, which serves them to make validate reading. I remember the first day I saw this pictures and today in this blog I am describing exactly what I was seeing and I knew that it had to have a special meaning, therefore; it merely was not a photo but reflection of my roots, culture, values, norms. It demonstrates two sides of one picture.  Unification and Separation.

  • Unification:

Although I live in the west for the last couple of years and I have lived only 4 years in Afghanistan but that will never mean that I have forgotten my traditions, values, and norms. For me, all of these codes are very valuable. I found them unique. My roots are tribal confederacy and that qualifies me to be from one of the nomadic tribes in Afghanistan. I have been grown up with nomadic codes practiced at home. Among these are Honestly, Loyalty, Hospitality, Respect, Liberty and Love. Beside the nomadic features are very obvious among us for example, our heights, big eyes, thick eyebrows and black thick hair etc.  Consequently, when I look at this photo, it not only reminds me the features of my own family but it also refreshes my memory on the undeniable role love plays in our culture.

We find it everywhere for example mentioned in song, film, and novels—humorously or seriously; it is a constant theme of maturing life and a vibrant theme for people. Historically, Pashto poetry provides us with an enormously influential and attractive notion that love is associated with honor and honor influences his interpersonal and intercultural behaviors. In Pashtunwali code of honor is bound to offer protection, may it be at the cost of his own family or fortune.  In this depiction, I imagine that tall loyal liberal Pashtun man((شاه زلمی) who is giving assurances to his beloved (شازادګئ) that he will never leave her side and be there for her forever. For if one is unable to care for the honor of another, one is incapable of keeping his own honor.

چې د بل ننګ و ناموس ساتلے نشي
و به نۀ ساتي څوک خپل ننګ و ناموس

He further adds, that if the beauty has faded from your face and the lust from your eyes is gone; when old age has brought wrinkles, or when sickness or sorrow has left its marks; his faithful love is to remain deep and true as ever

سترګی می چی ستا کله لیدلی دی

سترګی په بل چاه به می خوږی نسی

  • Separation:

I love this picture because it tells the viewer so much about a particular moment in time. It’s essentially a separation portrait but it also tells us so much more, that it is like a story describing a special occasion in one’s life. I love the expression on girl’s face, her scarf along with her hand on the scarf. It shows a moment of separation, and broken heart, pain, and tears, given by a Pashtun fellow to his Pashtun beloved. It is an arena, where all the codes, values, and norms have been violated.

She disappointingly complains to her beloved that how could he leave her when she was supposed to be his honor? You said that you were my soulmate then why did you allow anything or anyone to decide our fate? I was ready to do anything for you but you couldn’t do anything for me. I thought you are the man every Pashtun girl dreams of, the one who treats her like a princess but I did not know that,

پاس په کمره ولاړه ګله

نصیب د چاو وی اوبه ما در خیزولی

         You a flower on the mountain, I watered you but someone else took you away.

Since in Pashtun culture being cheap is a matter of shame for the families and themselves, therefore; the girl instead of fighting or making any sorts of troubles for him walks away and says

ما ویل که یوازې زما یار یې

د اختر ټال یي هره سړی د زنګوینه

I thought you are my beloved only, but I was unaware that you are like that swing in the fair which can be enjoyed by everybody.

In the end, I must say that I have tried my best to convey the feelings to you that I get from the picture, but we all know that pictures speak for themselves much better. Everyone has to look at it and find an expression of their own experiences in it.

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