Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Story of My Life

* This book is the winner of a contest in ABC's "Good Morning America". It is a true life story of Farah Ahmedi, a refugee in the US from Afganisthan.

When you read books like "The Namesake" and "Colony", you are struck by the similarity between the two completely different books...they both involve stories of women..their lives..and both books start AFTER their wedding. The significant things that happen in their lives seem to happen only after the age of 25.. after reading the books, i started to wonder about my own life..these 24 years i led, how significant would they be when look back at my life many years down the lane? my question remains unanswered.. but there is one girl who has experienced more of life/death/sorrows/separation/etc..than many would even dare to imagine in their lives..and all this before celebrating her 18th birthday!

Farah Ahmedi was born in Afganisthan in 1987.. Her childhood was nothing like the sheltered childhood i have experienced. There was always an under current of war and unease in their seemingly normal lives. She lived with her parents and 4 siblings and they seemed to have a pretty normal life according to her.. inspite of hearing bombing occasionally and hearing stories of rockets hitting someone's house and killing just a few people..
School was a two hour concept during the day that was more often closed than open ..thanks to "bad bomb days"..
One day, Farah steps on a land mine that just short of kills her.. the appaling medical conditions of war-ravaged Afganisthan i protrayed through the eyes of an injured 7 year old. She is sent to Germany for a couple of years to get treated. It is here that Farah sees a "normal" life.. women with freedom to do as they please is a new concept for her and peaceful days with no bombings and talk of death.. a surprise!.In spite of missing her family, and a leg (she is put on a prosthetic leg and her other leg is fitted with an artificial knee), Farah begins to enjoy the freedom.
She eventually gets healed and has to return to Afganisthan at the age of 9. Now she begins to see the lacking in all their lives. She talks to her father about moving to a different country.. one with peace..but he is settled in kabul and does not want to move from things that he has been familiar with all his life..
Farah continues to miss germany and scornes at everything Afgani..everything that was her life until she had tasted the freedom.. and then one day, she realizes that her dreams of germany and a free life would remain what they were- a dream.. She decides to shun the german clothes she has been wearing and decides to return to Afgani clothes - her way of showing her family that she has finally accepted reality.
She makes a trip to the clothes store with her mother to get new fabrics for clothes for her..and when they come back from the store..they realize that their lives have been changed for ever.. a rocket bomb landed on their house killing her dad - the pillar of the family..
what follows is years of suffering, an escape to pakistan, and just more suffering there until they suddenly see a light at the end of the tunnel.. The possibility of escape to the US. They eventually land in the US to realize that life here is not a bed of roses.. we realize how diificult life in the US can be for two women who know no english and have been left to fend for themselves..

This is a really touching story.. experience makes Farah soo mature that while reading the book, you have to contantlyremind yourself of her age.. what she has had to go through at such a tendr age is appaling.. makes you realize how gifted you are for leading such a sheltered life..

This story also gives us a better understanding of the state of affairs in Afganisthan than "The Kite Runner" did..

Awesome book..:)


Bonnie Jacobs said...

Thanks for sharing titles with Book around the World participants. I'll post information about those four books on that blog as soon as I can:

I haven't read the book you are reviewing, which sounds very interesting, but I did read Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, about a man named for his father's favorite author. I wrote about it here:

You mentioned a book entitled "The Namesake" which is about a woman. Could you tell me please who wrote it?

Ramya said...

@bonnie - did i mention "namesake" or some other title? The only namesake i have read is the one by jhumpa lahiri as well!