Saturday, September 29, 2012

there is a reason for every season. one of the many reasons of the long monsoons, for me, is to read, i just discovered. bright sunny days leave me restless and dull my mind. but, the cool rains are invigorating. you feel like you can get a lot done, after all, there's not much you can do outside!

finding a lit corner in the cloudy darkness of a rainy morning after the kids have been bundled in raincoats and wet socks to school, settling down with the largest cup of coffee or tea with the dog at your feet making up for the blanket that you are lazy to bring down is easier than finding a shady spot in summer in our house.

as it rained outside

'Barefoot in Baghdad' was a book i took immediately to in the Coimbatore Airport book store. it was pink and lilac with a striking portrait of a woman with beautiful eyes. in addition to telling stories of Iraqi women with dignity and strength, Manal M Omar brought fortha picture of Iraq different from the one in my mind, which was of a desert country over-ridden with  tanks and marines sporting rifles with little US flags attched. *sigh*

This book introduced me to the rich culture of this war-torn misused country, the banks of the Tigris and Iraqis of different communities, not unlike my country. Mutanabi street stays in my mind, pictured vibrant and busy by her words, where there was this market lined with only book stores, stacks of books overflowing into the streets and narrow alleys. according to the author, it fulfills the Arabic proverb, "Cairo writes, Beirut publishes, Baghdad reads."

Manal M Omar is rooted in her values. her frustrations are relatable, especially at not being taken seriously for being younger than expected, and being a woman. how many times has that happened to us!

.barefoot in baghdad.

for all that i have read, i have never perused or be led by reviews. the blurb excites me, the cover calls to me or a friend recommends it to me. 'Em and the big Hoom,' was one such instance where all i had was the words of a twitter contact clear and quiet in my ears when i spotted the title in a busy display window.

the book was un-put-down-able from the first paragraph. it sucked you right into the eye of the heart rendering story, words taking hold and its like you are watching it in 3D. during the difficult teenage years, i used to hurl big words at mom and revel in explaining them to her. Jerry Pinto took me back to those years, when the mother, miserable with her mental illness tells her son, you must be smart, if you know a word like that.

the darkness, unapologetic and stark, envelopes us, entangles us... we want to stop reading, but, we also want to know. Pinto's words form images that float like clouds on a windless, humid day, stifling us, yet making us wonder about their beauty and lightness!

i told a friend, i wanted to kiss mr Pinto's hands. i still do.



Shalini said...

Lovely to read your thoughts on reading.....I can imagine you sitting and reading when all is quiet around you. So far, I haven't had a morning like this, even though E is at school.

shilpa said...

it is possible on days that H has just arrived in the morning, so i don't switch on the TV to keep it as quiet as possible!

once/ twice a week :)

Chandan said...

Lovely blog you have here. :)
Have not read the first one, but was utterly taken by the Second.. Pinto weaves some sort of dark magic with this one, sucking folks into the hopeless and real, stark yet empathatic world of his book..

shilpa said...

thank you, Chandan :)

I know, about J. Pinto's magic. wanted to put it down, when it was too painful, but just could not.