The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

May 15, 2011

Finding A Boyfriend

Kim Barker, the former South Asia correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, wrote The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in which [via Cafe Pyala] is described Nawaz Sharif's efforts to find her a boyfriend. He failed, and then offered himself. Food, though:
We adjourned our meeting for lunch in the dining room, where two places were set at a long wooden table that appeared to seat seventy. We sat in the middle of the table, facing each other over a large display of fake orange flowers. The food was brought out in a dozen courses of silver dishes—deep-fried prawns, mutton stew, deep-fried fish, bread, a mayonnaise salad with a few vegetables for color, chicken curry, lamb. Dish after dish, each carried by waiters in traditional white outfits with long dark gray vests. Like the good Punjabi that Sharif was, he kept pushing food on me. “Have more prawns. You like prawns, right?” He insisted on seconds and thirds. It felt like a make-believe meal. I didn’t know which fork to use, not that it mattered in a culture where it was fine to eat with your hands, but the combination of the wealth, the empty seats, and the unspoken tiger in the room made me want to run screaming from the table. I needed to get out of there.


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