Yesterday I had a very interesting cab ride. I got in and gave my destination to the cab driver. I gave it in the usual fashion, which is using landmarks and a general area description. The driver quickly gave back the district name. I must say I was very impressed, but what really caught my attention was the sentence he followed his quick geographic knowledge by. He said ah I used to know this area when there wasn’t one piece of stone here.
My curiosity was piqued. I asked him to tell me more, and tell me he did. He told me of 30 years ago. He told me of a neighborhood that was fields of wheat, of Circassions who would bring their carts, drawn by two oxen to take it to the mills in Bayader. He told me of a childhood playground that was field, horses, carts, and oxen. He spoke of a simpler time when the city was smaller; the world was less demanding and the sky bluer. He spoke of education and learning, hard work and meaning. He spoke oh too briefly.
I saw the times he described quite clearly, but alas my journey that day was a short one. And so we parted ways, a bit too quickly if you ask me. I thought of asking him for his number, of recording this oral history of a city that is loosing its urban memory. But I think I would like to leave it to chance, to see if fate will take me once again down memory lane through the eyes of a complete stranger.