Thursday, August 4, 2011


My plunges into the world of literature as of late have been met with such positive reverberations, it is read-iculous.

It all started with 'Child 44' by Tom Rob Smith. I devoured that thrilling fictitious-but-based-on-true-events-thus-historical-murder-mystery-crime-laden-political…thriller with such vulgarity during finals time, I got a B in Microeconomics. *whimpers*

Still, sacrificing a vivacious future was so worth it.

Like comic relief in a dramatic, tragic play, the following quote, besides being an utterly sweet thing to muster to one’s significant other, serves as ‘romantic relief':

 "Do you remember the first time we saw each other? You thought I was rude, staring at you. I got off at the wrong metro stop just to ask your name. And you refused to tell me. But I wouldn’t leave until you did. So you lied and told me your name was Lena. For an entire week all I could talk about was this beautiful woman called Lena. I’d tell everyone Lena’s so beautiful. When I finally saw you again and convinced you to walk with me I called you Lena the entire time. At the end of the walk I was ready to kiss you and you were only ready to tell me your real name. The next day I told everyone how wonderful this woman Raisa was and everyone laughed at me saying last week it was Lena this week it’s Raisa and next week it’ll be someone else. But it never was. It was always you."

I read a few more books in between (and that I'd whole-heartedly recommend: 'Summer Sisters' by Judy Blume, 'The Blind Assassin' by Margaret Atwood, & 'Bossypants' by *Tina Fey).
*I now have a platonic crush on Tina Fey.

And then I had the privilege of stumbling upon Nafisa Haji's 'The Sweetness of Tears'. It weaves together the stories of individuals from different generations, different timezones, different faiths and toys--nay, beautifully treads--through topics such as religion, war, patriarchy, emotional expatriation, friendship, and love.
I urge you all to give it a read and have your soul shaken! 

This quote was poetic. And heart-breaking, given the context.

"The fact is, Deena, that you and Umar are no longer children. You have gone from sharing fruit to sharing poetry. It is time to set this part of your childhood aside, before you also move from broken bones to broken hearts."

This quote needs no explanation, I hope.

"The only way to rise above is to rise above. The only way to respond with wrong is with right. The only way to deal with injustice is to be just," said Abu.
I told Ma what Abu said. "Hmm. Abu carries a lot of wisdom around in his head. But the problem is that in the real world, wisdom is very hard to detect from foolishness."
"What are you saying, Ma!? That Abu is foolish?!"
"I am saying that most people would consider him to be so."
"Do you?"
My mother sighed. "No, Deena. Don't tell him I said so--but I think he is wise. It's the rest of the world that is foolish."

This quote made me angry, as it reminded me of the cultural misogyny that is so often wrapped under the pretense of Islam and is used to justify the subjugation of women. But I cooled off (sort of--am currently amidst Californian heat!) and went on reading Haji's brilliant words.

"But there's nothing in the Quran that says so!"
"No matter. The interpretation of the learned ones is sound."
"The learned ones! They must all have been men!"
"Of course they were!" he said, shocked, "You think it's a woman's job to determine what the law of God is?"

And this one brought tears to my eye and I have no freakin' clue why. Closet hopeless romantic? (Other passages brought out saltwater from my tear ducts, too--tears actually worth shedding! I am embrassed to have been misty-eyed because of the preceding quote).

"What I saw there explained everything--the reason he had stayed away, why he had come to say good-bye. I can only describe what I saw by its effect on me. Every woman should be looked at in such away, at least once in her life. With a longing that cannot be the verse of the poem he had read...I felt my face flush and waves of knowing suffused every pore, every cell of my being. that love, I felt beauty--my own....Have you ever felt that way, Jo? Have you ever been looked at with such soulful longing that you are transformed, the object and subject of Love, capital L? You look frightened, as if you didn't know what I was talking about and were afraid of it somehow."

And that concludes my summer reading list thus far.
And yours?
(p.s. new followers-welcome!)
(p.p.s. read a review of 'The Sweetness of Tears' by my cousin, on Altmuslimah--your platform for gender issues in Islam and beyond!:

"And never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice." - (Qur'an 5:8)


Anonymous said...

Salam, Urooba!

You really write interesting posts!

Hey, I miss your visits and comments; by the way, would you wear the T-Shirts I posted?

Have a wonderful weekend,
(Your FAN from Brazil)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful quotes :)
Ramadan Mubarak btw! I love your new header

Anonymous said...

And dude, can you update your blog more please?! x

Under Urooba's Umbrella! said...

@Anon: Thanks x 2!
Ramadan Mubarak right back atcha!
Your wish is my command: just posted a new post. *grins*

Anonymous said...

Yay! I love the monochrome look :)