Hmmmmm….now that seems to be a quintessentially weird title for a blog post, doesn’t it? But that’s precisely what I’ve been wondering for a long time now….what is it between Afghanistan and I?? What??? I feel like I’m being followed these days. No, not stalked by a person or a gang or anything, but by history - Afghan history. I have it everywhere around me – books, TV, even dreams. And not that anything of much ado is happening right now in that country. Nothing’s there in the news too (oh yes, I’m keeping my promise of reading the newspapers as best as I can :P) There is peace out there in Afghanistan. But alas, not here, in my mind. Okay okay…I guess I sound like I’m on dope :-P But no! It’s true...read on!
Here it goes. A month back or so, I read two books in succession, both of which were authored by Khaled Hosseini. And as anyone even remotely into books might know, Hosseini’s books are set in Afghanistan. Before-, during- and post-war Afghanistan. And they’re really heart-warming tales. But the point is, it was the first time in life that I actually read something about Afghanistan. About the pre-war country, where girls were free to study and play; about how the atrocities of the Taliban pulled the country apart - literally ruined it, especially the women. Then about the era of the mujahedeen i.e. the Afghan resistance. And the sufferings of the Afghan people during this whole period of unrest. Each of the two books brought tears to my eyes, and truly made a profound impact on me.
But now, let me come back to where I started from - yes - the stalking part. So the next book I laid my hands upon was by Paulo Coelho. And again, I expect my readers to know what kind of books he writes. Usually the spiritual type of books or the ones based on the ways of the world. And that’s where the surprise part enters – I read a book about chasing one’s dreams, succeeding in the glamorous world of fashion and cinema but not being able to bear with the pressures and right on the verge of quitting, being saved by an angel, and all that stuff. I guess you get the picture, more or less. But…but…but…donno how, Afghan history squeezed itself into that book too! And it formed an integral part of the plot as well! And that was just the first time.
A few days forth, I watched a James Bond flick on TV. And as usual, I expected it to be all about the larger-than-life gadgets and the so-called babelicious “Bond girls” throughout. But lo and behold! Half the movie was based in Afghanistan, that too the era of the mujahedeen...Batao! And to make matters all the more daunting, I had a dream a few nights later. Call it a dream or a nightmare, but all I remember about it is that it had me as one of the women who were being subjected to monstrous brutality by the Taliban or mujahedeen or whoever, I don’t know and I really don’t care… Now who would have imagined that? Maybe it was because all those coincidences were playing too heavily on my mind…but this time round, it went just too far! :D
And to top it all, just when I was beginning to think I got rid of the phenomenon, it caught me again! At my nani’s place last week, seemingly normal household and social discussions somehow led their way into Afghanistan and its women’s struggle for their rights. That was indeed the last straw.
But well…now I’ve gotten used to it…because I’m convinced now that it isn’t gonna leave me anytime soon. In fact I’m thinking of doing some rigorous research on the subject…thought, now that it’s on my side, why not explore a bit? Weird thought, I know. Please ignore. :D :P
I must admit writing this post really relieved me of this enormous burden that was weighing down on my mind. Now that I’ve penned it down, it has been transferred to the poor readers. Lol
So here I am, signing off with a light heart and a smug grin. Tata!