Through his eyes

Source: Afghanistan in Photographs-Facebook

Source: Afghanistan in Photographs-Facebook

He raised his head and looked up at the sky in a desperate attempt to be rid of the hell he was living in. His face a mask of anguish, his eyes brimming with tears as he stared up into the dark night sky. He was not ashamed of the tears that rolled down his cheeks for he had been strong for much too long. His breath caught in his throat as he felt his strength slowly seep out of him.

Mustering all his energy he raised his hands and yelled in frustration. The pain gnawed at him eating away at his insides day by day yet there was nothing he could do but watch. Spread all around him were stacks of dead bodies and human remains, left so savagely in the streets, unclaimed, deserted and unburied.

Bread vendor, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1992 © Steve McCurry

Bread vendor, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1992
© Steve McCurry

The war had taken away from him, the very reason for his existence. His hopes and dreams crushed so brutally, he had become hardened by the physically demanding task of survival.

The human suffering and agony was unbearable to witness, a strong beautiful young man once so full of hope now a hollow mask of ruin and isolation along with the many other children of war…

Source: Afghanistan in Photographs-Facebook

Source: Afghanistan in Photographs-Facebook

Nadia Nawaz

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Shackled

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

From behind the fence of barbed wire he watches the sky as the sun slowly begins to set, ending with it another long tiring day. He rubs his once soft hands, now coarse and hard due to manual work,over his face and tired eyes.Somewhere in the distance, the young street kids bring their ball game to an end as the street lights switch on, brightening the dusky sky with their fluorescent glow.

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

He takes a deep breath, his face a mask of concentration as he watches the skyline, noticing the rapidly darkening sky and the beautiful shifting of the clouds illuminated by the setting sun. Day after day he watches the setting sun, awed by the beauty of colours splashed across the purpley-blue sky.

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

Despite his calm exterior and unreadable eyes, a storm rages deep within him. A torrent of emotions kept buried deep within him always so strongly bound, now threaten to break loose. He keeps his eyes transfixed on the skyline.  The rapidly falling temperature and the shadowy patches depict the arrival of the night.

A gust of desert wind blows, forcing him to close his eyes against the dust and sand. It blows over him and his thudding heart, causing him to shudder as the well of deeply buried emotions pushes itself to the surface.

He feels gagged by the pressure, his throat constricts as he gulps down unshed tears. He lifts his eyes so full of anguish,once again to the barbed fence and can’t help but notice the irony. He feels shackled. Tied up and bound by a distance so long, a time so precarious and a soul so lonesome.

Desolation slowly begins to seep through him.

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

Photo credits:Sharjeel Nasir, Location: UAE

Strangers…

7.30 a.m:
The only distinguishable sound around me is the thud of hundreds of footsteps, entirely out of sync.Each sound is lost amongst the echo of their collective patter,resounding off the walls of the tunnel. Muffled voices are carried through the dingy passageway, illuminated with fluorescent lighting overhead.

A sea of faces with un-seeing eyes pass over me-Seeing, yet unaware of their surroundings-Registering the thousands of faces around them,devoid of all emotion,they seem transfixed and lost within the circumference of their own captivating little world consisting of hundreds of thoughts.

Every face I pass is different,yet collectively they all look the same; with that detached  vacant glare and eyes which pierce mine. A solemn glance across my face,registering my presence,reading there nothing.

The aloofness which surrounds me is chilling but at the same time welcoming;providing me the opportunity to think. Every stranger who walks past holds within their hearts an untold story, going their separate ways, with a destination only they can see.

We stand so close yet our thoughts are worlds apart. The lack of space causes everyone to merge together,all caged in,clinging to the over hanging bars and long tube handles as landscapes around us change and the world outside moves past in a whirl of green and black. Yet inside, time seems to be at a stand still.The train feels devoid of all emotion as I stand there,amidst the scuttle of feet,the brush of arms and legs against one another and the pressured wind passing by.We move across the tunnel as one.

The train comes to a stop;the doors open. The announcer’s voice seems muffled by the rush of feet all scurrying out as the doors bang shut and the train whips past.Somewhere along that long passageway between platforms stands a solitary cheerful being. He seems at peace, happily playing his guitar while singing to passerby’s as he tries to brighten the atmosphere. He goes on playing unaware; with his hat laid out before him on the floor he tries his best to earn a living.In the early morning rush,his efforts seems wasted, as people scurry along; the hum of voices never diminishing.

Day after day I travel,observing yet completely silent. Returning the odd smile here and there and meeting those vacant gentle glances,often wondering what might be going on behind that facade of steel held up so well,only to hide the emotions and demons which rage within.

As I journey on, from platform to platform passing a myriad of machine like beings following the same set path along the underground trains I cant help but wonder.
Are human beings slowly becoming more robotic, shielding themselves against everything, becoming better and better at holding up that steel armor and shutting out the world.

We are all just strangers, brushing past one another on that long journey which lies ahead…