He was the oldest of the five and knew the least amount of English. Farooq was the only soldier (a first lieutenant) that I didn’t get the opportunity to know well, however I loved being around him and I could tell that the feeling was mutual.
Farooq was an observer. His posture was usually one of leaning on a wall or a tree or a rock with a cigarette in his mouth. I would always observe him watching intently as life happened all around him. It was as though he was taking EVERYTHING in and processing it in a way that only he understood. He was a man of very few words altogether, yet when he spoke, people listened.
On the work site, he would quietly listen and lead and men of the various villages would follow his instructions. It was hard for him to sit back and watch when it came to work being done–however. It was as though he had a sensitivity to and an urgency about what was going on in the mountains for these tribal people. From time to time–especially as it got colder–Farooq would frequently look up to the sky or to the top of the mountains. I always wondered if he was estimating how much time these people had left
Multiple times a day he would, in his Farooq way, acknowledge me and let me know that I was doing a good job or that he approved by holding his hand up–palm towards me and slowly exclaim (while blowing smoke out of his mouth and nose) “J e r e m i a.”
We never spoke the same language but we understood each other….