Calling my Brother

Calling my Brother © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan | Rai

Me: Hi, How are you? What is new with you?
My Brother: Thanks. Nothing much, just working at the Cultural Centre. Were you able to talk to Dad?
Me: Not really. I wanted to buy a watch for him and wanted to ask what kind he liked.
My Brother: Right
Me: I checked out a few but there was a mix of classic and modern styles. I wasn't sure if he would like them. I tried to call him but he didn't answer and then I called Mom. She wasn't available either.
My Brother: Yeah. Thanks to the bombing of an electricity tower we are mostly without power to charge our mobiles. Anyway, Dad tried to call you that night but you didn't answer.
Me: Yeah I was busy putting the children to sleep. Is he there now? Can I talk to him?
My Brother: Dad is still out but should be home any minute.
Me: Isn't it quite late there?
My Brother: Sometimes he comes late.
Me: I got something for Mom, for Farzana and will buy a drone for Ahmad. Also, Mom told me that little Fereshta wants watercolours. I hope she likes it. I am only waiting on Dad because I know how picky he is. Soraya is going to Kabul next week and I hope she can bring all of these gifts. Do you also want something from Hamburg?
My Brother: Not really, but thanks.
(Sound of kids running around and screaming)
Me to the kids: Guys please go to your room. I am talking to your uncle.
(My son): Tell him to send my clock from there. The one with the lights.
Me: I already told grandpa
(Sound of door shutting)

I wanted to buy a watch for him and wanted to ask what kind he liked.

Calling my Brother

Me: Sorry
My Brother: No problem
Me: So. Are you going to the Cultural Centre every day?
My Brother: Yes
Me: What is it like there?
My Brother: What do you mean?
Me: Those accidents, is it not dangerous that you go?
My Brother: What accidents?
Me: Those two poor girls, your colleagues who were killed in the explosion.
My Brother: Well it happens, what are we gonna do… we have to work
Me: I guess.
My Brother: Look, the reason I called is that I was talking to Soraya. She told me to learn German. There could be ways that she could bring me there. Do you think I can trust her? Is it even possible?
Me: Look, the situation in Afghanistan is so bad that everybody is hopeless. It always seems like it is the end of the road.
My Brother: I don't have any hopes right now.
Me: I know. I was there. I was making films and travelled to some film festivals but when I got back to Kabul, it was the same.
My Brother: Yes exactly
Me: That is one of the reasons many people don't do anything. They don't try new ways.
My Brother: There is no motivation to try
Me: Well they are right because of everything that is going on there, but only when you act something happens.
My Brother: Right
Me: It isn't a bad idea to find a language course
My Brother: I actually started a few days back.
Me: Great
My Brother: I just learned a few words like er, ‘she’. No ‘she’ is English, hmm ..
Me: You mean ‘Sie’
My Brother: Oh right. Sie and … Der Men, Die Frauen, Apfel, I learned.
Me: Great. You know, learning a language, especially something like German, seems very hard at first, maybe impossible but one day you will wake up and find out that you can speak German.
My Brother: Well I wish that day was tomorrow.
Me: It will come but not so soon. So. Where are you studying?
My Brother: In an app. Right now it is lockdown here which will finish next week. Then I can find a course.
Me: What happened to your University?
My Brother: I don't know man, I am getting paid 10000 Afghani every month in the Cultural Centre and now my studies are all online and I am paying 10000 every month to the University. I am thinking of quitting.
Me: Hmmm
My Brother: Maybe only throwing myself on German.
Me: Yes. I don't know man. Both seem important. What do others do at home?
My Brother: Others are sleeping at home.
Me: What happened to their University?
My Brother: Who? Them?
Me: Yes, Uni and school… weren't they going?
My Brother: Only little Fereshte goes to school. Farzana is always at home. Ahmad is just on my nerves. In this time when it is very dangerous outside, he is out all the time. He doesn't listen to me. From morning till night he takes photos for his Facebook or Insta. I tell him: “Please don't go, you never know. Something can happen suddenly. What we gonna do then?”
Me: Stupid. I talked to him also but I can't do anything from here. I also don't want to say too much that he ignores me.
My Brother: He thinks I am his enemy. Well, what can I do when Dad couldn't do anything?
Me: Is Dad still out? Hasn't he come back yet?
My Brother: No
Me: Ok
My Brother: Ok
Me: I wish Ahmad or you could have come with Mohammad, son of uncle Noor. Now all the ways are closed.
My Brother: Who would have thought that it would become like this? Who thought that the situation would get so bad.  We never thought that. Now we are stuck here and there is no way to run.
(Sound of the door)
Me: What can you do now, only passing the days alive.
(Sound of the door again. It opens and kids walk inside)
(Me to the kids): Just a few more minutes and I will be there. Go play something on YouTube.
My Brother: So… yes these are our days. What about you?
Me: Nothing much. We are going next week for our summer vacation. Maybe Denmark.
My Brother: Cool.
Me: Yes. So I should go and cook something for the children.  Just let me know when Dad is back.
My Brother: Sure.
Me: Thanks and take care
My Brother: You too. 
— July 2021

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