I am trying to reignite my passion for books. There was a time when I would read one book after the other… but lately I have become too lazy or maybe I am preoccupied with a lot of fringe activities like internet, movies etc.
When I went home this time, I saw my book shelf with mixed emotions. It is filled with some nice books… most of them read but a lot of them unread or half read. So, I decided to start all over again… Although this realization was not new, I plan to continue reading this time. Whenever I go to the Crosswords or Landmarks of the world, I feel humbled by the presence of such beautiful books… There is so much to learn and yet I just know nothing and keep wasting my time…
‘A Thousand splendid suns’ is about two Afghan ladies, one born almost two decades before the other. One is from Herat, a small town in Western Afghanistan and the other was born and brought up in Kabul. Their roads cross in the most dire of circumstances when war ravaged Afghanistan starts facing another growing monster in the form of Taliban. With Shariat laws coming into force, mere survival becomes a luxury for women in Afghanistan. As friendship between Mariam and Laila (the two ladies) grew, they started realizing that their lives had found happiness in common things amidst atrocities from their common husband and the Taliban. It is a story of love, risk and sacrifices made to the extent of risking one’s own life for the other.
We tend to ignore the fact that if some one dies, then his/her close ones die a thousand deaths… One person lost maybe equal to the destruction of one full universe for some one…Also, although recluse, there is life behind the burqa as well… Career women who used to be University Professors & doctors were made to stay confined to the walls of their houses just because it was considered inappropriate for them to work… Watching television was a crime… singing songs was an offence… walking alone on the road was considered to be an evil act… Can you imagine the plight of those who faced such laws? If anyone was caught breaking any of the ‘laws’ laid down by Taliban, he/she would be punished to the extent of public execution.
Although the book closes with a happy ending, it left in me the craving to know more about Afghanistan and the problems faced by the people who had struggled during the times of the Soviet incursion, the wars among the warlords and later the Talibans… Probably that is what Hosseini wanted.
Do read it if you are interested in some good quality fiction.
Also, Courtesy Wikipedia, I got this poem by the 17th-century Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi, translated into English by Josephine Davis, from where the title of the book was taken:
Ah! How beautiful is Kabul encircled by her arid mountains
And Rose, of the trails of thorns she envies
Her gusts of powdered soil, slightly sting my eyes
But I love her, for knowing and loving are born of this same dust
My song exhalts her dazzling tulips
And at the beauty of her trees, I blush
How sparkling the water flows from Pul-I Bastaan!
May Allah protect such beauty from the evil eye of man!
Khizr chose the path to Kabul in order to reach Paradise
For her mountains brought him close to the delights of heaven
From the fort with sprawling walls, A Dragon of protection
Each stone is there more precious than the treasure of Shayagan
Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls
Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair
Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats
And I, I sing in the gardens of Jahanara, of Sharbara
And even the trumpets of heaven envy their green pastures