11 September, 2008

The Circle of Life

They used to play a game during break time. Table Tennis on the thin classroom desks with two pencil boxes arranged midway to serve as the net. Well, He was a master on that surface. As much as it kept him from scoring even a point on the regular TT court, he could beat the very best in this format. And he had a wonderful bat that everyone would borrow. Not the TT racquets with glazed surfaces that you see these days, but one with groves on the face that aided his high-speed top spins, back spins and whateverelse spins! But that isn’t the crux of the story. One day a fight broke out and one guy, lets call him Keji, was banished from this small playing community. The bully of the class, decided that he wasn’t fit to play with them. But Keji happened to be the friend of our protagonist.

Well, he got all worked up and started with a carrot and stick negotiation. Over the next two periods, he had very clearly spelt out that if Keji wasn’t reinstated, he was also pulling out, and naturally his racquet would also go with him.

Now, as the story turned out, at lunch break, they were all still playing. Keji has been reinstated. But our friend is out. And what’s worst, they shamelessly ask him for his racquet as, in any case, he had said he wasn’t interested in playing.

This story has kept on repeating ever since. The characters change. The settings change. But unfairness doesn’t. And he makes it his business to fight. Holding on to pride and honour. The pride of standing up for a friend. The honour of doing what he felt was right. Not realising that the world really didn’t need his huge efforts. That it has always been on the go. And that it would move on in spite of whatever happened within. Not realising that the ones he sought to help themselves had moved on.

Holding a fort that was no longer there! Duelling a shadow! Helping friends who were in need of help. Not realising that they didn’t need it any more.

Like Forrst Gump. They asked him only to run. They didn’t bother stopping him after their purpose was served. They had better things to do in life!

We are all optimists. And we believe in the Circle of Life. But does the so called circle necessarily have to come a full circle. I was reading Khaled Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ yesterday. This story talks about two women in war-torn Afghanistan, almost fifteen years apart in age, and pretty much as separated in terms of cultural background, who end up fated to marry a man about 30 and 45 years older to them respectively. A man who, at the very least would give them a home.

Their life with him is miserable. But again to put it in perspective you could see that it could have been much worse. But the fates of the two women are different. The older woman, Mariam, a harami – fatherless-, kills the man to save the other woman Laila from getting killed by him, and gets exected by the Taliban for the crime. Laila escapes and in the end, to prove that love triumphs, gets reunited with her childhood sweetheart, and the father of her daughter, and has a happy life in Hamid Karzai’s Afganistan.

But the contrast is stark. Mariam. Brought up in a kolba, a mud hut which was all her single mother had, she is made to believe that what she was granted was indeed happiness. As if it was her fault that she was born a harami. She loses her mother because of an adventurous mistake she makes, and gets married off to a life of complete misery.

On the other hand, Laila grew up in native Kabul, the daughter of loving parents, in the company of her best friend Tariq. She loses them all, and she also ends up in Mariam’s house.

But life doesn’t come a full circle for them. Laila, brought up in happiness, has a happy ending to her woes. Mariam, born a loser, dies, though valiantly, a loser. Her only claim having helped the younger Laila to live through the debacle.
And it gives me the jolts. All the optimism is centred around the idea that life will come a full circle, and my time will indeed come. But what if it doesnt?

5 had something to say:

D said...

Hey, where have you been?!

Fantasies of a Lifetime said...

Lovely post , & i loved the book too . . .Have you read 'The kite runner' , that's by Khaled Hosseini too .

S.A.M.B.I.T said...

nice story....

D said...

There's something for you on my blog.

Monika said...

hey after a long time... did u write the first story.. its really nice i liked it

and i loved thousand splendid suns... and i loved kite runner even better.. if u havent yet read it do it now its a highly recommended book