Wild Cannabis and "Oh Baby"!

At the time, our Islamabad main office was based in a building called ‘Saudi-Pak tower’, along one of the main avenues. At first (and second, and third,..) sight, it was a weird looking office building. Weird, in a good way. You could not see any windows, but it had an exotic, Middle-Eastern flair to it. I spent a couple of years working in Saudi Pak towers. Quite some memories.

Wild Cannabis
You needed to pass a security checkpoint next to the building before being allowed to drive onto the parking lot. This caused a bit of traffic jam in the morning, when everyone was coming to work. Next to the checkpoint was a piece of bare land, with different billboards from the UN agencies and NGOs based in ‘The Tower’. Sometimes the weeds on the bare field were growing that high, they would almost cover the view of the billboards. As I was sitting in the car, queuing up one morning, I thought at first, I was mistaken. But no, the wild cannabis was growing that high, it almost covered up the UN Drug Control Program’s billboard. I thought it was quite symbolic. How to control the drugs in a country where hash grew in the wild, uncontrolled.

The Orange Bearded Guards
After the car check entering the parking, you had to pass through another security check at the entrance, where the local guards body searched you. They were a friendly bunch. Most of them old ex-army guys. Many were hiding their grey hair by washing it with henna, which turned their hair and long beard bright orange/red. I mean *real* bright. A European punk-age kinda red. It was funny to see sometimes.. They hardly spoke any English and always had a real apologetic smile on their face when they body searched us, the foreigners… As if to say ‘Really sorry, but my boss told me to do so’. The check was always more for the show than anything else. Certainly for me, as I always wore my safari jacket, filled with goodies that would set off their handheld metal detector. When something beeped, they pointed at it to ask what I had in my jacket there. I always said what it was, but most of the time, their English was so poor, they did not understand it anyway. They just nodded and smiled… And we all played along in the daily security slapstick.

Oh Baby!
Saudi Pak was a tall square building. The offices ran along the outer wall, creating a huge open space, stretching all the way vertically in the centre of the building. This helped the air circulation, and gave a special flair to the building. It also create quite a bit of noise, though, as any sound would travel many floors up and down. One night, I was working really late, and forgot all about the ‘mega amplifier’ effect from the central hallway as I was sucked into processing the backlog of hundreds of Emails. I had left the door leading into the centre hall open, just to get a bit of fresh air in. I played my music real loud, with a good sub-woofer bass. Little did I realize how the music must have echo-ed all through the building. Soon enough all guards from the ground floor had come up to my office to stick their head through the door, checking what the racket was all about. None of them spoke English, so I put my thumb up with a question mark on my face, and they nodded, thumbs up. It was OK. It was more than OK. To show me they really liked it, they started swinging slowly, and mumbling along with the tune… It was a lovely picture: half a dozen elderly guards, all with their henna-dyed bright red-orange hair and beard, in uniform, standing shoulder to shoulder, with their AK47 machine guns in their hands, swinging slowly side to side, as if listening to divine music, on the slow tunes of “Let’s make love tonight” by Faith Hill:
    Let's make love,
    all night long !
    Until all our strength is gone!
    Hold on tight,
    just let go!
    I want to feel you in my soul
    Until the sun comes up…
    Let's make love !
    Oh, baby, baby
Yep, oh, baby, baby!
I guess this was the living proof that music sooths all spirits. Guess the US should try that with the Taliban..

Picture courtesy cannabisculture.com (cannabis plant), Zootstar (bearded man)

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Anonymous,  01 March, 2007 13:17  

just shows they need to make cannabis legal and go after the real trouble...after all its just a weed a harmleess wild weed

Anonymous,  01 March, 2007 23:11  


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