Sunday, May 12, 2013

A thousand splendid reflections of Motherhood

I finished reading a Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini a few minutes ago, and was just writing up its review and starting to dwell into its various unappreciated moments, when I saw many posts in facebook about mother's day. Spoiler alert, as I intend to dissect the story.

While I don't fancy choosing a day to appreciate what your mother does and has been to you. But in light of the events in the book, there is a deeper aspect of motherhood that is left unappreciated, largely owing to being in a very fortunate setting of not having to cling to your lives everyday.

The book speaks not just of the relationship between two oppressed women in war torn Afghanistan, but also spreads the fragrance of motherhood all throughout its pages. The image of a mother that the book draws is very strong. If you think along that line, we realize that every mother would play the same role given similar situations.

The more I think about it, the book is all about the enduring love and affection shared between two women who shared a mother-daughter relationship. Having faced severe rejection,guilt and subjected to repeated acts of hatred, Mariam was dead in her soul for years when Laila crash landed into her life. The memories of her mother, whom she felt she had betrayed bitterly, her father Jalil, the mullah and all that she had around her kolba, was all that was left. She lived a mute life bearing all the insults and anger subjected on her by the burly Rasheed. The matters of politics, war and rules didn't affect her bit, as she was already without any hope for anything.

Its in such a life that Laila literally crash landed into. Having her own intentions to keep her love with Tariq alive, she had to agree to the cruel purposes of Rasheed. That is the point where the selfish mother in her starts taking shape, transforming the bubbly girl into something more mature and deep. Atleast she managed to secure a safe birth for her daughter. But this pitches Mariam against her and intense fights ensue.

But as its goes, the cruelity of life with Rasheed starts showing off on her too and now the women join hands as Mariam, for the first time in her life has someone who stands up for her. It moves her a lot and she lets her stony emotions to melt. Soon, in their everyday struggle in bringing up Laila's daughter Aziza against Rasheed's simmering anger and torturous rules imposed by the Taliban, they become very close.

As the sorrows in their lives keep increasing with no signs of hope, they have only themselves to support each other, while taking pains to bring up the kids, now including Zamai, Rasheed's son. Laila had for once thought of killing it in the womb itself, but her motherly love didn't allow her to, in spite of the hatred she felt for Rasheed. Things soon get worse and they land up in big trouble and in one swift motion, Mariam changes their lives forever. Mariam, the harami girl who used to wait patiently for her father to turn up, the girl who was humiliated by him when she tried to visit his house, who faced the guilt of her mother's suicide, who resigned to the fact that moving in with a stranger to a far off land is her only course in life. The same girl who got used to the repeated abuse hurled at her by Rasheed, who patiently bore all the complaints and insults and lived on without breaking down. She transformed suddenly for the love of the girl she held close as her daughter and did the unthinkable.
The picture of the painful expression on Mariam, imagined.

Her sacrifice paved a way for Laila and the kids to start a new life and its this debt that Laila repaid when she returned to Kabul from her happy life in Pakistan to rebuild the country after the war was finally over. Her acts weren't those of sympathy, but a retribution and a contribution. In each new things she helped build, she saw the will of Mariam, the love of Mariam and often Mariam herself.

If you think about it, you will realize that you see your mother in everything that you have done  and gained in your life. Irrespective of the level of intimacy of your relationship with your mother, she is always around you and you are always in her thoughts. Such is the power of this single title that cannot be denied by any creature living on Earth.  Amen to that..

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