Chaman traditional meal at “Masam Aka hotel”

The melodious sound of birds, the smaller muddy house a blackish fog sheathed on its walls. The windows without curtain even in the chilly winter weather of Balochistan.

Half a dozen Quail cages hanging from the straightly tight string, every cage covered in a different color cloth piece. Below them is a larger stick made cage with a larger bird, Che kor–Pheasant and a separate wall in the veranda is having different portraits of sightseeing and some animals. These portraits are now having their corners semi scrolled. As if they are a decade or two old.

We come to “The Masam Aka hotel”—a restaurant is called hotel a term popular by the local Pashtuns living in the bordering town of Chaman. The said restaurant is situated in a longer street covered with taller buildings, some even more than seven stories.

Masam Aka—a term used for old age people in Pashtu is eighty years old, now curved on his back with white beard and shivering hands, fills up the larger eating pots with his well known “Rosh—locals call to a piece of mutton roast in a plat for one man”.

Here this old age, Afghan—Kandhari do not follow the role and fill one, two or even three in to a Kasa/Tali—a single but larger eating pot than ordinary plats.

The eating pots organized on a stand, warm water for “hand wash” of entering customer in a dirty looking Samovar, “Shlombay” an acid like sore tasting liquid that is squeezed out of fermented milk, is served in plastic pots.

Three smaller children, Nasibullah, Nazir, Abdullah, seems teenagers, help their boss “Masam Aka”, one cleans the dishes, the other serve bread and roasted meat, the third one is a junior to the previous seniors only provide liquids to the customer sitting dispersedly, in smaller groups.

No one can ask a direct question from “Masam Aka” because the old age Kandharis dislike this informal way of discussion. If one wants to explore this old age man, he/she should ask about his birds he has kept. Masam, will sit and slowly start the names of birds he has kept. And then the ice break will take place. Because he dislike popularity and publicity, never write a board for his hotel, “I believe in God, he’s provided me what I needed, that’s enough”.

He’ll never run after earning, because he believes God is giving what is written for me.

Masam Aka, said he had come here after Babrak Karmal, the Afghan communist regime third throne holder of the Kabul. He adds, he left his “Samovar—tea providing stall” in Baro Darwaza, situated exactly beside the road in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

“I left Kandahar and moved to the neighboring Chaman, some 35 years ago, because Babrak Karmal and his regime were not seeing if one is old age. Everybody was forcefully enrolled in military of the country”, says Masam.

“Situation got worse when Shorawi—Russians were called to come for Babrak’s help, the war erupted and our masses fought in different groups. None cared who is right who’s wrong”.

The 80 years old Masam Aka is never married nor plans to marry in the future. He told he’s neither having mom nor father. But don’t ask me of my “nephew and nieces” no one ask an old age like me.

Masam said it was a sudden event when God awarded me with the spiritual power to go for Hajj—the Muslim obligatory visit of Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia. “To be honest, I had never collected even a fifty thousand RS (500 US $), but don’t know the way how I did collect the amount needed for Hajj”, asks Masam.

Masam serve the lunch only, he sells 20 and even some times 25 KG mutton in roasts every day. He said the people of “Chaman” are never eating anything else except “Mutton”.

Those who remember the taste always makes their way toward Masam Aka hotel. Here Mutton is roasted in black but cleaner pots are on wooden fire from 11 am to 1 pm only. The “Masam Aka roast lovers” know the time and makes their way to this calmer restaurant.

The Masam Aka, smaller home of some three room quarter is not only his business place. He sleeps here and keeps his animals around.

“It is my home, my hotel, my guest room and a house for my animals. Now, I only pray for peace and harmony in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and around, I don’t need anything else. Have enough to live upon”, says Masam, with greater hopes in his sparkling eyes.


8 thoughts on “Chaman traditional meal at “Masam Aka hotel”


    Going through this article, I could not understand what the author wanted to say to his audience. What message he wanted to convey to the readers. What made the author compel to write on this topic. I could not understand the main purpose behind writing such an article without any explicit or implicit objectives. Writers usually write on such topics with a particular focus on some important and emergent issues of the society to be solved by the community at large. Nevertheless, if I were the author of this article, I would be interested in investigating the contribution of this old person towards community or society development. In other words, I would be interested in exploring the opportunities offered by the city to foreigners to make their livings. Nonetheless, it is a good beginning to write about voiceless people to raise their voice as well as to recognize their professions. It is also a very healthy activity. Such an activity can bring tolerance in the society by openly expressing your views through writing articles for electronic and print media as well as social media.

  2. Muhammad dawood Khan

    Hi Abdul Malik Achakzai, I just read your article about Masam Aka its realy true and I like it. This is appreciated article witten by you. I went many times to Masam Aka hotel and always got very fantastic Mutton Roast. I become very happy to see and read your article about him.good bless you and thanks for sharing this story about chaman.
    with best regards
    Muhammad Dawood Khan

    1. malikachakzai1984 Post author

      Thank you Dawood Khan for reading the piece and liking it. Yeah, we are having many stories hidden behind the muddy walls of our town and villages. It will be my pleasure, exploring them with the people who follow my account. If possibly with the foreign world and Afghans living in abroad. Masam Aka is a great man, and I got interested in him and his struggle in this old age, hoping for peace and praying for the harmony of the society.


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