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March 8, 2014 / subramanyam

Splendid and Touching …

There is only one, only one skill a woman like you and me needs in life, and they don’t teach it in school . . . Only one skill. And it’s this: tahamul. Endure . . . It’s our lot in life, Mariam. Women like us. We endure. It’s all we have. Do you understand?”   

          Powerful lines aren’t they ?  Well, these two lines uttered by an agitated mother to her child  more or less give us the summary of the book.  Yes, with all the ill will, malice, egos, partisan politics, wars , terror what and what not , for reasons known or unknown , men on this planet are suffering. However, all this seems nothing when we read about the sufferings of the women in war zone.  The violence (both physical and sexual), the trauma, the suffering and the pain due to the loss of near and dear, things that leave permanent scars on the soul.  Aren’t they?

          Khaleed Hosseini , in his fantastic book  “A Thousand Splendid Suns”  depicts the lives of the

The Cover Page

The Cover Page

unfortunate women of Afghanistan.  In a culture where women are denied even the basic liberties, in a nation where women centric reforms were greeted with mutinies, in a watan that’s torn , ravaged and ransacked by wars, life of  women is filled with challenges and sorrow. Life of a woman and the pain she undergoes were depicted in a heart touching way by the author.

          The birth as a harami, deprived of true love from parents, an obnoxious husband,  a raging war that  goes on for 20 years,  suppression under someone as ultra conservative as the Taliban !!!  all this in one life!!!   yes one life. Isn’t it a little too much ??   A poor little Mariam, an innocent girl who lives in a “kolba” near  Herat, has it all in her life, she has to endure all this. What does all this do to the poor little girl Mariam? Will all the trails and tribulations make her stronger?  Will she ever find peace in life? Will there be some one who longs for her ?  Will she ever find a person whom she can call her own ??

          Some where far from Herat , in Kabul there is Laila. An Intelligent and active girl, daughter of a progressive father , clearly a girl who has a great future in front of her.  However, is there something that she craves for life? How do the war, the Mujahideen and Taliban change her life? What’s the suffering Laila endures?  How does she get in touch with Mariam and what will happen to her?  or rather say , their future from thereon ?

          Well read the book  “A Thousand Splendid  Suns” and  Khaled Hosseini will tell you what it means to live such circumstances.

          To me, one of the best books I ever read, I mean it. A full five on five.  A book that will bring you very close to the suffering  of the women on this planet.  It is going to change the perspective of us on womankind and their suffering, its something that is going to stir the stuff in side you. Yes, it is that powerful.

          Coming to the way the book was written, it is awesome. The way the characters are developed and the

The Author

The Author

way they behave as we progress in the book  is simply superb.  Jalil Khan, Mariam’s father,  comes across as a meek man to begin with, but then we see a lot of shades in him.  As he matures with age, we see a different picture of him altogether.  Then Rasheed, a character that stays for quite some time in the book, when you examine every act of him you realize what an obnoxious  self-centered hypocrite he is. The author does a good job with Rasheed’s character as well.  The master pieces of course are the characters of Mariam and Laila, the entire book is about them, so just read and enjoy the way the author depicts them.   I also liked the way Nana, Fariba and Hakim’s characters were developed, though they stay for a shorter duration, each of the characters makes an impact on the person reading the book.

          I also liked the conversations that one comes across, I donot know if I can call them quotes ,  very very nice ones.   Here are some of them for you .

Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that

Boys, Laila came to see, treated friendship the way they treated the sun: its existence undisputed; its radiance best enjoyed, not beheld directly.”

And the past held only this wisdom: that love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion. And whenever those twin poisonous flowers began to sprout in the parched land of that field, Mariam uprooted them.”

          Along with the stories of the two female protagonists we also get to learn a lot about Afghanistan in this book.  The customs, values, and most importantly the wars and the poverty the wars bring in are beautifully depicted and we get to learn a lot of things from it.   All this make it a wonderful reading experience. 

          There were places where my eyes went moist,  I am sure that would happen to most of the people who read the book. The book seems so real and we empathize so much with  Mariam and Laila that we want to see the end of a few people.  This book persuades us to think about the lives of those women who suffer for no fault of theirs.  Do read the book, I bet it’s going to be a life changing experience.

          On this International Women’s Day, I honestly and humbly resolve to do my little for removing the pain of woman in the war-torn lands.  I pray to God, the Almighty , that the suffering of those helpless women would reduce.  Let’s all spare a thought for these people and help them in our own small ways.  There is a way, we can contribute to Khaled Hosseini foundation, there are many other ways as well . Let’s all contribute and make the world a better place to live in.

Thank you  

Happy Reading

Do share your thoughts here.



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