There are books we like, and then there are books that stay with us for long. They are the books we seldom forget for, the characters forge an in-erasable image in our minds. An author who is able to etch this image could very well be said to have achieved his goal, of telling a story that would never be forgotten. His words have touched a chord and they stay even after that last page has been turned over.
Ever found a book like this?
Here is a snippet from a book that I love for various reasons. I have spoken and blogged about it a several times, yet I can never possibly get tired of Khaled Hosseini and his “A Thousand Splendid Suns”.
The book is a masterpiece, an incredible saga that spans across thirty crucial years in the history of Afghanistan. The moving story speaks volumes about love, family, and the status of women in the years which were the toughest in the history of the country. It’s a book that I have read more than once and can still pick it up anytime again.
“I have customers, Mariam, men, who bring their wives to my shop. These women come uncovered, they talk to me directly, look me in the eyes without shame. They wear makeup and skirts that show their knees. Sometimes they even put their feet in front of me, the women do, for measurements, and their husbands stand there and watch. They allow it. They think nothing of a stranger touching their wives’ bare feet! They think they’re being modern men, intellectuals, on account of their education, I suppose. They don’t see that they’re spoiling their own nang and namoos, their honor and pride.”
He was a man who believed in keeping his woman behind the veil. With the war raging in Afghanistan and the social status of women going downhill, life for most were spent in darkness. The physical abuses and the mental agony stayed with them, hidden behind the veil. Women were seldom allowed to make public appearances, can never leave home unaccompanied without a man, and were beaten blue if they did not comply. These lines are a reflection of the thought process that existed in those troubled years of Afghanistan. Mariam is married to Rasheed who is far older than her, much against her wishes. As she finds herself facing abuse in her marriage, living behind a veil gets tougher, as the rules of the country and the man in her life begin to suffocate her.
The snippet to me is also a reflection of the double standards in rules that exist only for women, and this is true across the globe and across different strata of societies.