small things

small things
And there was light

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Thousand Splendid Suns- By Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a chronicle of three decades of Afghanistan’s Modern history (1964-2003) that bases itself on eternal love, surprising friendship, tales of time and an astounding triumph. It is a very simply written story with well chosen metaphors that draws us close to the lives of two women who are the prime characters of this book.
Mariam is an illegitimate child from Herat is married off to a much older man in Kabul. Kabul is shown through Mariam’s eyes as a cosmopolitan city with women having due recognition in society. Mariam though is ill treated throughout the book as she could not conceive a child, a son to be precise.  Laila, a child living in the same neighbourhood, belongs to a liberal family and is well exposed education.

Political situation transforms itself from the Soviet occupation to growing strength of the mujahideen. Laila at the age of fifteen hopelessly in love with her neighbor Tariq, who has moved out of Kabul to Pakistan, loses her family when a rocket hits her home. She ends up at home of Mariam and eventually marries her husband as she is pregnant with Tariq’s child. During the reign of Taliban, time moves with the unlikely friendship between the two women their attempts to escape, their sharing of - household chores, love towards Laila’s children and brutality from their husband.

In due course Mariam gives up her life for Laila, her children and for her union with her lover Tariq. The story ends with depiction of removal of Taliban and Laila and Tariq’s return to Kabul with their children. Hosseini in this novel spanning across 380 pages very beautifully narrates the tale of two generations, brought together by dreadful war, their struggle towards survival and their hopes of finding love and happiness.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Ticketless

One of those usual days I left at 7:10 from my office with the hope of my THE bus. While coming out of my office I meet two of my colleagues who were probably going for a smoke outside.... and suddenly one of them says don't wait for us you must be getting late and here I remember ohh yeah my 7:20 AC bus .
Yeah yeah I am a public transport pro and I still travel by Bus, which if I find an AC one is way more comfortable than metro and yes cheaper too.As some of you don't know FYI my office is in ISBT premises.  And there is this nice bus which drops me quite close to my home and yes I do get a seat to sit too.

So anyways coming back to my story  I rush to the place where my Bus comes. and there were two men standing at that place one would be somewhere 30ish and another probably close to 40 both of them lean, looked tired and sweating badly because of the weather. They together came to me and asked if there is a bus to Meerut they can take up. I had to tell sorry the UP and Uttarakhand buses aren't plying from here anymore you both will have to go to Anand Vihar.

And I showed them my beloved red bus which was just parking itself, you can go by this... it seemed they already knew everything and they were just looking for reassurance in whatever they had already heard.

So here we board on the bus I take my usual seat, and one of them, the 40ish sits in the seat front of me. The other one goes to the rear end of the bus.

The bus starts pretty soon unlike other days and since buses have now reduced in ISBT it finds its way out very easily with a very small halt at the check point where the check point guy gives the bus an exit slip. The conductor  half hearted looks into every body's seat and gives a ticket to those who gave the money. the man in front of me was then searching something in his luggage. 
Another guy gets into the bus and starts selling table covers in the top of his voice, I put my earphones and started surfing through the radio channels.

And here the bus takes a round at the cloverleaf of ISBT bridge I see the time on the clock tower it was 7:25 and I think I should be home by 8:10 today 10 mins early than my usual. The bus is now moving in quite high speed, suddenly few passengers ask them to stop at a bus stop and it halts and they get down.

Its not been a whole minute that suddenly it was stopped by  few DTC gentlemen, they were Ticket checkers, every time a bus is stopped by ticket checkers my school time memories get refreshed. Anyways they come to everyone check their tickets, they come to my seat I took off my earphone from one ear and hand them my ticket, and next they ask the man in the front seat for tickets. He very naively takes out a hundred rupee note and asks for a ticket to  Anand Vihar  and wow the checker says OK give another hundred and here is your fine for today you can travel in any bus today with this fine slip. He says I did not notice when the tickets were sold but all in vain the checkers had found their bakra and they were least interested in checking anyone else's ticket.

The man looked poor (he did not look very poor though) and when he took out money from his pocket it must have been around 500 only and its seemed that's all he carried for his journey to Meerut. He looked genuine and when he said he was unaware of when the tickets were sold he looked truthful . He also looked conscious about people looking at him so his paying off fine was rather quick than a long pleading, but he wasn't left on humanitarian grounds. Poor guy I thought first so much of hassle of not finding a bus here and then a 200/- fine . His fare to Meerut wont be 200 rupees probably

 The checkers then moved to the guy selling table covers and he kept on digging into his bag saying I am searching for the ticket, however the checkers just laughed gave a pat on his shoulder and alighted from the the bus, they way they exchanged smiles it seemed they have come across him many a times during their regular schedule. Yes he was poor too and was spared on humanitarian grounds.

But somewhere somethings work, the first guy probably looked not a regular, an easy prey whom they are not going to meet again, whereas the second one was a familiar face. I did not understand the distinction much neither I see any justification in the double standards.

Fact remains those who can be suppressed are suppressed by all.