As I surf my Facebook newsfeed, a photo catches my attention. Two Afghan boys smile broadly as they board a Turkish airplane. The boys are Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz, the lead actors in “Buzkashi Boys,” an Oscar-nominated short film about friends who dream of becoming horseback riders in Afghanistan’s fierce version of polo. These two young actors are traveling from the dusty streets of Kabul to the red carpet at the 2013 Academy Awards in Hollywood.
This journey is especially auspicious for Fawad, a 14-year-old who sells maps to foreigners on the streets of Kabul, and was chosen for the role because director Sam French, who lived in Afghanistan, would bump into him on the street (French described him as “the kindest and most warm-hearted street-kid”). The youngest of seven siblings, but also a breadwinner for the family, Fawad is about to make his Oscar debut beside prominent movie stars such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence.
However, this picture soon kindles other thoughts in my mind. I ponder over the matters of destiny and coincidences; what would have happened if director Sam French had not met Fawad on the streets of Kabul? Was it fate or mere coincidence that took Fawad to the red carpet?