Coming from a family of avid book readers, its no wonder that I turned out to be a book worm. I love the fragrance of a new book and as a child used to sniff the books by turning the pages rapidly and it was a delight to sniff the crisp morning newspaper, for my olfactory senses used to get a high from that simple smell! Gone are those beautiful days, as here in US no one reads a real newspaper, everything is online..Sad 😦 I hope the next generation get a chance to experience the simple joy of reading a book. There are some books which deeply touch you and make you ponder about the simple things in life. One of my recent such finds was the “The Palace Of Illusions” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – this book is all about the epic Mahabharata through the eyes of Panchaali or Draupadi, the Pandava wife. This book – half historical, half mystical, broadened my perspective and revealed a whole new dimension to this wonderful epic. I was led to doubt the actual epic that I have grown up hearing all my life and began questioning the many perceptions, truths and advises the epics renders. This book planted the seed of doubt in my head! Nevertheless if you chance by this book, grab a copy and before you realize you would have flipped through all the pages- that engrossing – will vouch for it. A must read for all bibliophiles !!!
However today I am not here to talk about “The Palace Of Illusions”. This book stayed on my top list of books ever, that had an impact on me, until I stumbled upon “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana” by author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon – a former ABC news reporter spent many years reporting stories from the conflict ridden zones of Afghanistan – the end result is a thought provoking, heart rendering true story with a profound insight into the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. This book is about the incredible journey of Kamila Siddiqui who is forced to be a breadwinner and entrepreneur in a desperate attempt to support her brothers and sisters when Taliban took over Afghanistan. The story – in a very simple and engrossing manner, details how she literally stitches their future and sews her way to success bettering the lives of millions of women in Afghanistan. I do not wish to talk a lot about the story line to spoil any fun, but for those who are interested, you can look up the review of this book in the Washington Post or look up here.
What deeply touched me from this simple story was the value for the simple things we take soooo much for granted. The right to education, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom to move around at will, access to good, decent medical facilities, joy of having family and friends around – simple things that make a world of difference to these people in the conflict ridden zones of the world. I am humbled and have profound gratitude for the countless blessings in my life. I have lived in a country filled with peace – I cannot fathom what it is to live in terror and fear all your life or to be a prisoner in ones own home.
I have a new found respect and deep compassion for these courageous women – who face such adversities and still look after their families so brilliantly – how HOPE is such a wonderful thing and how that can change lives. My heart and prayers go out to these wonderful people who sadly ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Initially when I picked this book up, I was apprehensive that it would turn out to be a leaf out of some history lesson, but was pleasantly surprised that the narrative was so engaging and the story told in a simple and effective manner that it makes you want to turn over the page and read on….So don’t worry whether this book may be like reading history – it is most definitely not. The author had done a commendable job in narrating it as a story and a gripping one at that.
If you chance upon a copy of the book , I strongly urge you to pick it up and I guarantee that you will not regret it.