Heidi by Johanna Spyri was my all time favourite book as a child.
I loved the story.
Over the childhood years I read the book 4 to 5 times.
The above picture is of my original book…rather worn out though it be.
Heidi & her life up in the Alps with her Grandfather have been etched in my memory.
Reading the book made me imagine her life in the mountains.
It was all so vivid.
I am grateful for reading which sharpened our imagination as kids.
Looking back I see the value of not having been brought up on internet – youtube, google, wikipedia.
Instant information on any topic.
We had to imagine while reading. Period.
A few years ago I got an opportunity to visit Switzerland & see the Alps.
Such an incredibly beautiful country.
Yet it was not very close to my own dramatic imagination of Heidi’s life up in the Swiss mountains.
I am thankful for what we did not have those days.
Once I started reading this book, I found it hard to put down. So a large part of the Sunday went into i-must-finish-the-book mode.
It’s the one word which describes Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera.
Brutally honest yet incredibly sad, as she narrates her escape from a forced marriage as a teenager in Britain.
India is known for its tradition of arranged marriages which have very often been the object of wonder, ridicule, surprise, shock…in many other parts of the world, where the concept is almost alien.
I think arranged marriages come with its own intrinsic value & India boasts of happy marriages that have withstood the storms of life. It is not uncommon to see couples blessed with long life go on to celebrate their 50th, 60th & beyond wedding anniversaries.
A forced marriage is another matter entirely. Especially if it leads to the one in question feeling traumatized & more a victim than a bride to be.
While Jasvinder’s story may be a representation of several others hidden away from society, this is her story. She has been bold & candid in sharing her personal struggle & it really touches a cord.
I have never understood the concept of maintaining family honour, even at the cost of personal trauma & suffering. That family honour must be maintained, the community must always be kept in mind… but honestly when the battles of life rage, honour will remain just that – a word.
One can’t help but feel her pain, the tragedy of being ostracized for life by those she held closest & eventually her life which was a series of consequences to the choices she made along the way.
Definitely a book worth reading & passing on.