Grand Trunk? What’s that all about?

I have driven on some testy roads, but none like the section Grand Trunk in Pakistan between Peshawar and Islamabad. The road runs from Chittagong, Bangladesh to Kabul, Afghanistan, through the Khyber Pass. The road now runs through  four countries – from East to West – Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan. This was, for better or worse, a repeating drive during the two short years Charlotte and I lived in Peshawar, where work had me me visiting Islamabad every few weeks. I am not exactly a photographer at the level of Steve McCrurry, whose Grand Trunk photos tell the modern story of this road. Or a writer like Rudyard Kipling who described its history in the novel Kim, writing “….. truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs straight, bearing without crowding India’s traffic for fifteen hundred miles – such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world.” While that is a little dramatic for my taste, the Grand Trunk did show me that there are roads where almost anything was possible. So why not let it serve as an overdramatic metaphor for the day-to-day snapshots which show, to a degree, my own little grant trunk experience? Anything can happen, and it is, all the time.


Khyber Pass, 1990

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