Sand in the Castle
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
From dancing to masking, the Pakistani woman drudges through in her search for home. In this collection of eleven short stories, author Syrrina Haque explores the concept of home. Is home a physical entity or a spiritual domain? For some people, is home merely a façade? Demonstrating the diversity of the socio-cultural terrain of Pakistan, these stories of life revolve around the theme of physical, spiritual, and psychological displacement and how this relates to the concept of home. In “From Boundaries to Boundaries,” a thirty-nine-year-old mother of three leaves her abusive husband and Pakistani home for Canada; she hopes for a fresh beginning and a break from her past. In “Burka,” thirteen-year-old Burka-clad Gulbano flees her home to escape marrying a fifty-year-old Talib—but her fate is worse than she could have imagined. These true-to-life characters search for new horizons to appease their hidden side and arrive at castles built with only with sand. They try to traverse from boundary to boundary in search of a destination, but they find themselves entrapped in their own cocoons.
“This is your new burka. Oh, how my daughter has grown. This is what you will live in from now on.” “Live in?” “Yes, live in. This is going to protect you, just like a house protects you—your shelter, your refuge.” “A burka?” “You don’t know what’s out there, beti, my little girl. There are wolves, ferocious wolves, out there.” “Well, then, shouldn’t they be kept in a cage, with a muzzle? Why me? Why do I have to be trapped because of the wolves?”-BURKA “He is going to be called Thomas Sunil Patel,” proclaimed my father-in-law rather pompously. “Thomas! Thomas! But it’s such an Anglo name, so English. Why would I call my child Thomas?” “You will understand in good time, child. He will carry the British legacy of this hotel forward.” “You mean the legacy of enslaving the inhabitants, colonizing them, torturing them to work in extreme conditions, burdening them to carry their loads of tea leaves for their cups of afternoon tea in an English drawing room while they boasted of their successes over the black man and tsk-tsked over the black man’s incompetence.” TEA LEAVES
Syrrina Haque was born in Lahore, Pakistan. She writes for newspapers and magazines. Haque earned an MPhil degree in English literature and is working on a PhD.
posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:00 AM,
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