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August 20, 2011


"But the game involves only male names. Because, if it's a girl, the name was already chosen". My eyes barely met with the penultimate word that it flirted with a news article on my computer screen. I sat numb with my eyes gouging into oblivion on account of two facts I conjured; Khaled Husseini is nothing less than a pied piper, Hope still seems to be too highly priced a dream for a desolation draped nation.

I was meant to be writing a book review on " A Thousand Splendid Suns" which is another class act from the author, but it would be unfair to constrict the vastitude of human misery defined in the book to be mere heart wrenching. What pains me the most is even after almost 40 years of endless wars and crimes on humanity, Afghanistan remains a blood sucking land and Kabul, a cradle of unfathomable miseries. I have never been to Kabul, but the novel teleports me from my plush mattress to the parched meadows, air conditioned coupe to sun stricken deserts. The endless times of endurance tests are beyond words and sometimes, it is hard to perceive the depth of adaptability cortex wound around human souls that transcends any emotional breakdowns and bypasses savage torture. Its unbelievable what a mass of flesh and bones can withstand in order to survive and realise its hopes.

I winced in pain when the protagonist embraced the lashes, silently wailed when mines chopped off the limbs. When I finally finished  the book, I had a sigh of relief that there will be no more EQ poking, a satisfaction of having read a wonderful piece and more importantly, the assuagement that  after all this is just a story and I just self-abased to pamper some one else's imagination. All of a sudden, when the news article that worded the brutal bombings at Kabul, struck my eyes, I knew; Beyond any veil of words of misery in a novel, beyond any magnifications by the media, there is truth in the pale story of Kabul, there is pain in every street which I might never see, but I feel it. A pain inflicted by humans on humanity with nature watching  silently as if incapacitated by its intensity. Many excuses tabled  and the burden being borne by mute ideologies which are being preached by purblind "saviours". I realise the triviality of my self assurance of existence, how obvious it seems to me that I will be alive tomorrow, how true is Maslow's hierarchy where the base level  meant nothing  more than an academician's delight to me.

But there are some painful similarities between me and a human embodiment in the land of hopes. He has learned to walk past the debris of bodies with indomitable calm, he has learned to sell his artificial leg for a meager meal, he has lost hope of seeing his kin and kith alive tomorrow morning. He has gained strength. I have learned to skim past the pages of truth with indomitable calm, I have learned to tread on others pain without a treble. I proudly claim, with an unashamed conscience, I can feign compassion.


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Anonymous said...

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Linu said...

Hi Varun,
Great read far as Khaled Hosseini is concerned he is a magician with words, it was the same way in The Kite Runner, and the A Thousand splendid Suns.... The latter focuses more on the plight of women in Taliban which is very terrible...

Varun said...

@Linu indeed it is, waiting for his 3rd novel, if he is coming wid one :)