Sunday, October 28, 2007

I went to Afghanistan

On Saturday I spent the day in Afghanistan, with Afghan women. I shed tears for their sorrows, their heartbreaks, and their tragic stories. I learned about the way they have lived and the unthinkable things they have been through. I went with them into their homes and saw what it looks like through their eyes. They took me to a journey of sadness, loss, and tragedy. They also showed me strength and hope. I walked the streets of war, saw decapitated bodies, cruel psychotic husbands, and a life so unfair there is no way out. I saw how the women of Afghanistan spend their days, how they spend their nights. I learned about the choices they faced, the tears they have shed. I spent the day in Afghanistan, with the women who have more honor than the rest of us!
I was eagerly waiting for Khaled Hosseini's second novel after I read his first one, the "Kite Runner". I bought "A Thousand Splendid Suns" as soon as it hit the shelves. The book was pretty thick and I am not a fast reader, therefore I figured that it will take me at least two weeks to read it. So I decided to wait until I am mentally ready and when I have the luxury of time. Plus, I was behind two months on my Glamour magazine which arrives every month. I would not want to start a new season not knowing what the "in" colors are for lipsticks and what 100 Men Secretly Think About During Sex! It was after seeing the trailer for the movie "Kite Runner" that I had the urge and felt mentally ready for the book; I wanted to know, take it in, and taste it. I guess it will not kill me to wait a bit longer before I learn about Tricks For Your Exact Hair Type! So I picked up the book and selected a book mark, knowing that I will use it often for it will take me a while to finish. I used the book mark exactly 4 times. That is how many times I put the book down. I finished it in a little over one day!
I could not bring myself to leave Afghanistan on Saturday, I was engaged, engrossed, and enmeshed with those people and those stories. When my friend called me at noon to set up a time to meet it had been 3 hours since I was sitting on the couch reading. I told her that I need a few hours to clean my patios that had a think black layer of ash on them from the fires, so lets get together at 6:00. I spent one hour on the patios, and hurriedly came back to the story of Mariam. I had to start getting ready at 5:00 but could not leave Laila and her tragedy. Called my friend and asked to postpone our meeting time. Just getting up and leaving with out knowing what Rasheed will do next was not an option. At 6:30 I had to leave, gathered all my strength and used the bookmark. But the thought of Laila and Mariam and Tariq did not leave me. I returned home at 1:30 a.m. a time when flossing goes out the window and my sole goal is to get into bed. But not this time, I had to see what Laila did next. Eventually I had to use the bookmark again when I could not keep my eyes open any longer. As soon as I opened my eyes the next morning they went back to work, reading the last two chapters and within half an hour tears were rolling down my face with no intention to stop. I even cried while reading the writer's acknowledgements!!
The book was heart wrenching, depressing, completely and utterly tragic. But, this writer is so brilliant I actually feel pleasure while reading his words of sorrow, death, and loss. Many times I had to stop because the tears were blocking my view to the words!
On Saturday night I was sitting in a hip lounge in Orange County drinking a Cosmopolitan with my girlfriend, wearing red lipstick and my new heels. But all I could think about was Mariam, Laila, Rasheed, Jalil, and Tariq. When we raised our two red cosmos to click together it came out of my mouth: "To the women of Afghanistan"! The look on my girlfriend's face was a Kodak moment! "Where the hell did that come from"? She'll understand after she reads the book I thought. We continued to drink, laugh, and talk about how cute Mark Wahlberg is that night. Once again my eyes had been opened to a world so tragic, so unfair, and so far, yet not to take action, but merely for entertainment!

1 comment:

sanaz said...

wow...just read this one. I'm having tears in my eyes too..shabi, you need to think about writing seriously!