Samira Mosavi is from Ghazni Province. She has been interested in reading and writing since her school days, and read literature at Kabul University, where she started to write creatively.
She is a member of the postgraduate community at her university and practices writing under the supervision of Seyed Reza Mohammadi. “Sometimes the books I choose to read are beyond my powers of understanding, nevertheless I love reading them”.
Bagri Foundation is proud to present, Samira Mosavi, our eighth writer featured as part of the project ‘Untold: Write Afghanistan’ supported by The British Council and Bagri Foundation. Samira shares with us an excerpt of her story, ‘He Wore a Coffin, Not His Wedding Suit‘ alongside a video which features some of her selected images and her reflections on what it means for her to be a writer, her process, and her inspiration.
‘Write Afghanistan’ is a project created by Untold, a development programme for writers in areas of conflict and post-conflict, that offers support to women writers and works remotely with them to develop and promote their stories which often remain hidden. Find out more about the project here.
Samira says of her story:
This story, ‘He Wore a Coffin, Not His Wedding Suit’, illustrates everyday life in Afghanistan. I do not have a negative view of living in here, but in this burnt-out paradise, we end up where death and destruction is always near.
Note these writings are works-in-progress, but we feel offer a glimpse into the worlds of these emerging new voices as they work together with an editor to further refine their story.
He Wore a Coffin, Not His Wedding Suit
I stood in front of the mirror. As I was putting on my mascara, my phone rang. I turned to pick it up, then faced the mirror again and carried on applying my makeup as I answered: ‘Hello! Bali!’.
My brother Mosaver’s voice was heavy. ‘Samira’, he said, ‘they martyred Mojtaba. He was on his way to a burial next to their house. And father also went to Kabul for the ceremony – I have been trying to call him, but he is not answering. Please, go to uncle’s home and, if you see father, tell us. And also–’
I couldn’t pay attention to the rest. In my shock, I cut him off. ‘No, no, what are you talking about? It is all lies. Next week, it is his wedding’.
‘No’, he continued, ‘it is not a lie. It is true. I wish it was a lie, but it is bitter reality’. The line disconnected as his voice turned to tears.
I saw my reflection in the mirror. My lips were unhappy, my eyebrows pained, and there were dark circles around my eyes. I couldn’t help the crying. Sadness dripped down from my eyes. The pain made the world turn around me like a falling leaf; I was moving in a circle of hurt, and the universe was revolving into darkness. Things would get dimmer, and then I would be brought back to the light. But the light would turn so white that everything around me was indistinguishable. I couldn’t even see my own grim image in the mirror, anymore. My ears were a jar full of bees, buzzing at their highest frequency. The echoes of Mosaver’s voice, They martyred Mojtaba, kept circling out into the mountains, then back around my waist, then up into my ears.
My fingers were weak, but I picked up my mobile and tried to call my father. Every time, I was met by an automatic voice: Your call cannot be connected. Please try again later. The worry crawled under my skin. In my heart: fear and unrest. I started a fitful conversation with myself: Father, didn’t I tell you not to go to Kabul? Didn’t I tell you that the highways of Salar, Seyed Abad and Dasht-e-Top are waiting with rockets? Didn’t I tell you that, on my last journey, the Taliban had stopped a car? There’s no shortage of mercenaries and thieves in this world.
My roommates were standing around me, trying to console me. ‘Don’t let your heart go astray’, they said. ‘Your father is just fine, Insh’Allah’. ‘Perhaps he is busy, or his phone is on silent’. ‘May God bless your cousin’s soul’.
One of them helped me put on my scarf, another brought my coat, and another said she would come with me to my uncle’s house.
I left the hostel and got into a taxi. There, inside the car, I finally let myself be free. It was then that I heard my phone ring inside my purse.
Translated from the Dari by Parwana Fayyaz.