Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Mir is a little boy of 8 from Afghanistan whose story is being flashed today on National Geographic Channel. In the foreground of a year in his life, the destruction and tragedy of his homeland is recounted.

My children, one aged 9 and the other aged 4 and a half are watching the story. Their eyes are wide with surprise, fear, wonder. Their lips form the questions and then their brain asks another question and they wait till the questions accumulate. We have a rule while watching Discovery and NatGeo – watch the show and ask questions during the commercials. So they watch the boy smile through his poverty and squalid living conditions. They watch him struggle through his fights for survivals. They are amazed at how someone can live with drinking dirty water. How someone can live through so much of cold. But I wonder why never once Rasan and Jai ask me the question about where his TV is. They wonder if he goes to school. They are touched by the hard roti that he has to eat. Jai, with his long experience of life, wants to know why Mir has to pay for his bread.

Rasan asks questions about Bamiyan. Why the statues of Buddha were blasted? Why should someone do anything of that sort? I try to simplify it as much as I can. But it is so hard to tell them why some fundamentalists should try to extinguish the symbols of other religions. She wonders at the caves they are living in, at the dust, at the beautiful flower that has grown in the barrens-in the form of Mir’s little niece. She wonders why Mir’s father keeps hitting him and yet the little one goes on smiling through his beautiful green eyes.

I do not wish to pressurize their minds with the heavy issues of politics. So I leave them alone with their minds working overtime on the issues they are watching. I know Rasan needs a hug and I reach out to her to tell that HER life is okay. I know it will be for many days that I will go on answering their questions on what they saw today. It always happens. One thing at a time….

But they definitely are more sober close to the end of it. I take the opportunity to hit that we all should count our blessings, never say no to food, conserve water by turning the taps off when not required, value our family, thank God for the clothes we wear and the life we enjoy.

As they now sleep on, I feel thankful to God for blessing me with such beautiful, healthy children and a smooth life. At the same time, my heart goes out to Mir and his family. Their heaven is destroyed but the spirit lives on. The reconstruction goes on in Afghanistan. Life never stops….