Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lighting a Candle

I light a candle for all those who sacrificed their lives and those who have been killed in terrorist activities. May their souls rest in peace.

Hostages to fear

I am a hostage to fear. I fear going to crowded places for shopping during Diwali, fear travelling by public transport, fear festive throngs during Janmashtami, fear going to the movie theater. Now I shall fear going to even so called up-market restaurants, and minimize whatever time I spend out-doors. Time and again, my ‘mighty’ and ‘fast developing’ India has proved that it is utterly incapable of handling terrorist activities. Here I am not talking about lame bombs kept by nameless cowardly faces that disappear after the dastardly act that others pay for. I am talking about an act that has had conniving, planning, gathering of huge resources that include well trained terrorists, machine guns, grenades and RDX bombs, and the brazenness to attack openly and get away with it. The mindless firing at Taj, our nation’s pride, and at several other places of national importance, left me shaken. Our intelligentsia had not a whiff of what was to come. This operation left me stunned. Something has snapped. The faith that things will get better, and lives will not be lost anymore due to these motivated but demented monsters was shattered.

India has supposedly a strong army which is proudly flaunted on the Republic day. But, it is sad that we can be so vulnerable, each time, these monsters come out and attack us. Do the officials really expect these monsters to come and intimate them of their plans to come and attack, in order to preempt these attacks? I am tired even to repeat the same things over and over again and condemn the monsters, condemn the government, condemn the opposition parties, condemn the intelligence agencies. I have no more words. I have no more hope.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseni

Khalid Hosseni has come out with another winner after ‘The Kite Runner’. The Afgan landscape is once again delineated marvelously as the vistas of one oppressive regime after another unfold. This is a tale of two women whose supreme sacrifices for the other supersede everything else.

What I like about the book is that all the characters in the tale are strong and play a pivotal role. Mariam, is a poor harami, who is married at a very young age to a regressive widower 30 years senior to her. She has nothing to look forward in life, nobody to talk to her till the second protagonist, Laila steps into her desolate child-less household. Laila is vivacious, carefree and has everything she can desire in life including a good family and a sweetheart who adores her. Unfortunately the ravages that sweep through Afganistan spare nobody, and the two women find themselves in the same boat ready for desperate measures…

The story certainly lingered in my mind for several days as I thought of all the mindless destruction and trauma that the Afgans and especially the Afgani women who had been shackled by orthodoxy have had to go through. But at the end of it all, ‘A thousand splendid suns’ embodies the human hope and courage to lead a better life despite all odds.