Originally published under the title Things Overheard on a Gulf to Peshawar Flight on
December 30, 2012 ed note
If you have ever taken a flight from the Gulf states to Peshawar, you have no doubt encountered a distinct group of Pakhtun men on that flight. The plane is mostly full of Pakhtun workers who are going home to see their families.
First off, I have immense respect for these people. They leave their families behind, work long hours in horrid conditions, and are still able to laugh at life. They earn an honest living, which is more than I can say for many of the “enlightened” people in this world. Most of these men are uneducated, and it gives them an endearing simplicity that is impossible to find in the rest of the world.
The following is a collection of things said during my flights from the Gulf states to Peshawar over the years, with some additions from friends and family. Many of these things are said by these people for comical effect, while some are borne out of naivety.
All of these are obviously funnier in Pashto, but I’m providing a translation anyway.
1) Upon settling down in the plane, “alaka, jaaz kho kha garam de kha.. jorhey Pekhawar key yukhni da” -dude, the plane is real warm, seems like it’s cold in Peshawar
2) The air-hostess was giving out headphones in little blue pouches, and this conversation ensued.
Guy 1: Alaka da sa di? -What is that?
Guy 2: Daa jorhey da zrha kharaabeydo golaye dee -Seems like it’s anti-nausea medication
3) During turbulence on the plane. ”walaka, da sa kayee, jorhey jaaz calendar chalayee khaa” -dude, whatsup with that? I think the conductor is piloting the plane.
4) Dala maal parey sarey ey keynoley yum, tol grhabeygam -dammit, I’m sitting by the wing, and the ride is too bumpy
5) Dimaagh mey crash de.. baikhee kaar na kayee, raaka yo naswaaro choondaye. -my brain has crashed completely, hand me over some naswaar.. This was followed by a packet of naswaar distributed throughout the plane.
6) Some guy got up to go to the bathroom, but was walking hands-in-pockets, with a bounce in his step.. “oh khair eee.. ogarza.. ogarza warta de jaaz key naigh naigh” -go on, go on and walk all over this plane
7) Guy 1: Da sheesha laande ka, zrha mey kharaap de -can you roll the plane’s window down please, I’m nauseated
Guy 2: wrak sha botala laakho, daa sa da baarhey bus de che sheesha ba ey lande keygi? da siraf pilot laande koley shee (dude, this isnt some local bus that you can just roll the window down in, only the pilot can do it).
8) Upon landing in Peshawar while it was raining outside.
Guy 1: alaka, jorhey bahar kho baraan de kha -hey, it seems like it’s raining outside
Guy 2: na marha, baraan na de, da nawey maadal taarkol dee, da da shpey chamak wakhee -no, it isn’t raining, this is just the new charcoal that shimmers at night.
9) I almost always have to fill out Disembarkation Forms for the people around me. The most common theme among them.
a) First name: Ziaullah. Last name: Nothing. So I have to improvise and put First name Zia/Shams/Hamid, Last name: Ullah/Urrehman.
10) This happened to a friend. He was sitting next to a dude wearing two watches on the same wrist:
Friend: Kaka, da waley? da dwa garhaye sa ta? -Why are you wearing two watches?
Guy: Da yo key da Pakistan taime de, ba de taime mey kor wala telapoon kayee, o de baley key da Saudi Arab -One has the Pakistani time, that’s the time my wife uses to call me, and the other one has Saudi’s time.
-the writer tweets as @JibbyD and blogs here