Just a few thoughts…

I have been reading ‘The Red Queen’ by Phillipa Gregory.  It is about Margaret Beaufort, King Henry VII’s mother and the more famous King Henry VII of England’s grandmother.

She was an extremely pious. In the book, she is shown as wanting to become a nun, from a very young age, but is married off for political reasons. For all her piousness, she believes that The House of Lancaster has been ordained by God to rule England. Her absolute faith, unwavering belief that God has sanctioned them as rulers make her justify wars and killing.

No, this is no review. It just makes me think how religion can make us blind to so many things. How a stamp of ‘God’ can so easily justify injustice, discrimination, wars.

And the saddest part is that it happens even now albeit, in different ways. Religious sanction for so many injustices. Religious sanction to oppress the less powerful. I guess it is not said without reason that most wars in history has been fought over religion – in one form or the other.

I haven’t completed the book, but just had to jot these down.

Where the love gets in By Tara Heavey

A sleepy little harbour town of Clare, has an unexpected visitor, a dolphin. Fisherman Aidan is the first to spot her and christens her Star.

The dolphin’s appearance prompts him to give up his fishing business, and star a Dolphin boat tour instead. But before he could get started, he comes across a beautiful woman with her autistic daughter. She, he later realizes, is a famous actress, Sarah Dillon, recovering from breast cancer, had come to the little village, in the hope that the dolphin helps her daughter’s autism.

Aidan is married to Fiona, the GP, of the little town. Fiona, from Dublin, originally, had moved here when she got married to Aidan. Once a romantic, happy couple, they are now practically strangers, living together and bringing up their children, dreading the moment when they youngest, Tommy gets ready to fly the nest.

Fiona and Sarah, both strong women, would have been the best of friends, in another world, but here, things are very different. Emotions spill, hearts are broken, lives get changed, over the span of one summer. Star, the dolphin,almost feels omnipresent, working her magic, in more ways than one.

It was a very different and powerful book. Each of the characters beautifully etched. The internal struggle within Aidan and the dynamics of the different relationships and the way the village reacts to the goings on, is just beautifully written.In the background is Sarah’s daughter Maia, who was the reason, Sarah came to the little village, in the first place. The fragile quality of life, how things we take for granted could change like we can never imagine, of how love can come when one least expects it… how powerful love can be..It was a beautiful read.

I loved the look, and would recommend it to anyone who likes romantic tales, with a difference. It brings you to tears, makes you wish that everything works out. It has a haunting feel to it. I especially loved the way she ended the story.

Not Without My Daughter

The other day in the library, Betty Mahmoody’s Not without my daughter’ caught my eye. I had read it a few years back, but wanted to read it again, yes, I am one of those mad people who re-read books.

The last time I read it, it had moved me, but this time, I was practically in tears. I guess being a mother made me feel what she was feeling much, much more.

The mere thought that someone who you trust(or had trusted), enough to have a child with him, could turn out to be so different and would not think twice before taking away your child from you, is devastating, isn’t it? We dread anything that might take our children away from us, but how would we react when someone as close as your husband decides to do it? And even worse, when he takes you to a country where a woman has practically no say in anything at all. Where a child is always a man’s property. For a while, she was praying for her husband’s death, only to realise that on his death, her child would he his family’s property – not hers! She says, she stopped praying for that as soon as she realised that.

Betty’s chilling tale of how she managed to escape the country with her daughter,Mahtob, will stay with me for a long time. Her determination to leave with her daughter. The embassy in Iran gives her the option to leave without her daughter, which she refuses. She stays determined to leave and leave with her daughter. She explains towards the end how while in the US, she had seen another side to her husband, Moody. She had checked divorce as an option, but had backed when she realised that divorce would give her husband visiting rights at the very least, to her daughter. She decided that she had to take the risk and take her daughter to Iran at least once so that Mahtob is safe forever.

Trapped in Iran, with no friends or help, at times imprisoned in her house by Moody, she wonders if she did take the right decision. Thankfully for her, it all turned out well,in the end. It does make me wonder about how many women go through similar experiences, in countries across the world. Even in countries where laws are equal and fair, things like this could happen if the woman is not strong enough or independent enough. Betty had met another American woman in Tehran, who had accepted her fate and chose to be with her abusive husband in Iran, because she felt that she could not manage on her own, given her lack of educational qualifications.

In so many cases, in our own society, women are held hostage(so to speak) in marriages they are not happy in. While they might not be imprisoned in a physical sense, they are held captive by their lack of confidence, qualification or just the lack of societal support.

The book is thought-provoking in so many levels. It made me thank my luck that I was born where I was.