Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not A Review..The Reluctant Fundamentalist

"The Reluctant Fundamentalist" by Mohsin Hamid

I originally came across this book while listening to Terry Gross on her show “Fresh Air” on NPR, where she interviewed Mohsin Hamid. I thought it was a must read based on what I heard. My feeling about it was further borne out when I read Lotus’s excellent review about this book.

From the Publisher’s Weekly, a synopsis of the book

Hamid's second book (after Moth Smoke) is an intelligent and absorbing 9/11 novel, written from the perspective of Changez, a young Pakistani whose sympathies, despite his fervid immigrant embrace of America, lie with the attackers. The book unfolds as a monologue that Changez delivers to a mysterious American operative over dinner at a Lahore, Pakistan, cafe. Pre-9/11, Princeton graduate Changez is on top of the world: recruited by an elite New York financial company, the 22-year-old quickly earns accolades from his hard-charging supervisor, plunges into Manhattan's hip social whirl and becomes infatuated with Erica, a fellow Princeton graduate pining for her dead boyfriend. But after the towers fall, Changez is subject to intensified scrutiny and physical threats, and his co-workers become markedly less affable as his beard grows in ("a form of protest," he says). Erica is committed to a mental institution, and Changez, upset by his adopted country's "growing and self-righteous rage," slacks off at work and is fired. Despite his off-putting commentary, the damaged Changez comes off as honest and thoughtful, and his creator handles him with a sympathetic grace.

This is a beautifully written book, and Hamid’s uses of prose, elegant yet simple packs a punch and the book had me turning the page, eager to know what happened next. The book completely enthralled me and although it is written in the form of a monologue, the book will draw you in. And as Lotus Reads says in her review depending on your viewpoint you will either love it or be discomforted by it, but I can't see anyone being indifferent to it.

I was entranced and repelled by aspects of this book, but it got me thinking. In a lot of respects this is unlike any 911 related book that I have come across. While the events of that day are truly life altering for the protagonist in the book, they only serve as a catalyst for bringing forth a deeper discontent that always appears to simmer within him. This was seemingly hidden under the urbane exterior of someone who comes from the crème de la crème of Pakistan, has graduated from an elite American university and works for a top notch financial firm. He is love with an American girl and is living the American dream.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist brings out issues of identity, culture, religion and the explosive mix that results when politics and world events threaten one’s very identity and place in the world. While the issues of identity are in of themselves not new especially for folks who are immigrants, this book provides a look at those struggles and puts them center stage providing a view in to a mindset of a individual’s transformation in to a “reluctant fundamentalist”.

Things that I found notable about the book..

The bare plot and the ambiguous ending. As they leave the restaurant where most of this book happens, we are never quite sure as to who the prey is and who the hunter is. This I thought was rather masterly. I also loved the character of the mysterious American who Changez is having this conversation with. He could have been just a tourist, although seeing him thru Changez’s words we can surmise he is one of those American special forces types.

Changez’s tone changes during his conversation. He is sly, sinister, somewhat threatening, respectful, welcoming, angry and at times patronizing. The American comes across as wary, watchful and often seeing shadows and enemies in seemingly ordinary activities of the day in the restaurant and the city. Are they really enemies? Is Changez just another sympathetic voice in the many that are not fond of America? Or is he one that is merely providing the others a platform to voice their feelings while denying any responsibility for their actions. I found this intriguing, for the world is surely grey, often with murky shifting alliances that are often easy to dismiss in to a broad category of “them” or “they don’t like us”.

I also thought that mysterious American could also be thought of as a metaphor for the West or America in particular. He reflects the wariness and suspicion often found in the West about the Muslim world.

Changez’s feelings from his start as an eager, ardent student at Princeton to his present status as a fundamentalist (albeit a reluctant one) cover the gamut… admiration, rage, envy and befuddlement often reflecting the way the outside world views America.

There is a love story in this narrative, and in some respects it is not like most love stories. Erica, the girl that Changez loves never quite truly accepts him. Her intense attachment to her deceased boyfriend Chris, whom she knows since childhood remains a barrier that never goes away and he loves her despite knowing that she can never be his emotionally. Their love making where he asks her to imagine him to be Chris leaves him satiated yet feeling used. I was not quite sure what made Changez love Erica, especially given her lack of emotional attachment to him.

The events of 911 are the catalyst for the unraveling of two lives, the emotionally fragile Erica and the protagonist. I was able to understand what it meant for his character to be discriminated against because of his looks and where he came from. I could understand (but not always agree) about some of his grievances against American policies. For most reasonably informed people it is easy to see how the footprint of American policy can have far ranging and at times unanticipated consequences and engender resentment. Having said that I just could not sympathize with Changez’s change of heart or the way his identity supersedes everything else following 9/11 and even as those tragic events unfold.

"...I smiled. Yes, despicable as it may sound, my initial reaction was to be remarkably pleased... I was caught up in the symbolism of it all, the fact that someone had so visibly brought America to her knees..."

These lines from the book made me wonder if his persona in America was just a sham and that his education, his job and his living the good life here were a mere façade. I was repulsed by this. It made me wonder what is it about ones religion and identity that might make them suspend reason.

While it may be possible to put oneself in the principal’s shoes and try to understand his conversion to someone who becomes anti-American, yet I found it untenable on another level given that the country has been good to him. I could not quite follow how easy it was for him to pull for people of his clan/religion when he never appeared to be particularly religious to begin with in the first place.

But my personal opinions not withstanding the book I believe is a must read. There are not enough books out there that let you have a peek inside the transformational process of someone who is reasonably Westernized and a product of an excellent higher education system in to a diffident zealot. You may not like the character in this book or his justifications, but read it we must for although a work of fiction it helps us understand the world better.

I am not sure if the author draws upon his experiences or his own feelings to create this character. If he does it will surely be interesting to understand the genesis of this process.

Mohsin Hamid recently wrote an opinion piece “Why Do They Hate Us” in the Washington Post, and it makes for interesting reading. He ends it on the following note

The challenge that the United States faces today boils down to a choice. It can insist on its primacy as a superpower, or it can accept the universality of its values. If it chooses the former, it will heighten the resentment of foreigners and increase the likelihood of visiting disaster upon distant populations -- and vice versa. If it chooses the latter, it will discover something it appears to have forgotten: that the world is full of potential allies.

I'm one of them. I do not currently live in the United States, but I still believe in its potential for good. And like so many who wonder how our new and more integrated world can be built on a foundation that is humane and just, I look to the land where I, a writer, first learned to write, and allow myself to dream.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A picture that begs a caption..
Folks feel free to caption this if you like.

US President George W. Bush (R) drives Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a golf cart after Brown arrived via helicopter at Camp David, Maryland.

My caption.. "Ahh like mah new poodle from Britain!"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Friday Word... "Brittle"

The Friday word is “Brittle” as per Maggie.


Easily slain

His defenses down

Almost evanescent

All she had to do was

Rest her gaze upon him

Her fire incandescent

His being forged in the kiln

His cries lost in the roar

Of her passion

His universe ablaze

As the fires passed

Cooling him down

He floated outside of himself

Feeling himself re-formed

Whose image was he in now?

The words a stinging blow

Leaving their echoes

Resonant within him

Schisms diffusing

Fracturing his being

Into countless shards

Never to be the same again

He was indeed brittle

Should he have come with a warning label?

“Fragile.. handle with care”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


His name borne along a wisp
Whispered in longing
Of silken tresses falling
Across eyes that stripped him bare
His heart and soul all hers

He felt her breath across their divide
His lips awaited the touch
Of her soft fragrant petals
A beacon in this night
Her presence almost ethereal

His arm reached out for her
Only to fall through emptiness
Upon wrinkles on the sheets
The fabric of his life
Ruffled.. never to be ordered again.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Poetry Word..

The talented Maggie will be coming up with the Friday word, while Mona recovers from surgery over the next couple of weeks (Have a quick recovery Mona!). Maggie picked "hail" as the Friday word. I have a poem below, I am not too happy with it, but there it is. But before we get to the poem, that story about dumplings in China that supposedly had cardboard? I blogged about it here. Apparently that was a hoax. The story on cnn link. But I heard the correspondent on NPR say that it could be possible that the Chinese authorities decided to call it a hoax as the story was true and too embarrassing. Who knows? Anyway on to the poem..

Where do you hail from?

Lips dry.. my being trembles

The descent in to loneliness

Smothering my soul

Mind tumbling into a vortex

Hailstorm of self doubts

Whirlwinds scattering my thoughts

Lifeless and adrift

Under the eyes of a cold gray sky

Unleashing my demons

Chafe beneath the burden

Of my own crosses.. real and imagined

Shards of broken dreams flow thru my veins

Puncturing them, draining in to me

Withering away..

Eyes sightless.. unseeing

Gnarled and brought to my knees

I had seen love

Would she look back at me now?

Was she an illusion?

Eyes open at the sound of her voice

A gentle aria of her amour

Bathed in the light of her eyes

Healed by her touch

Renewed as her laugh washed over me

I drink from the soft petals of her lips

Ambrosia worthy of the gods

For a mere mortal.. why?

The fragrance of her yoni

Its divine warmth gives me succor

As it breathes in to me life

She envelopes me in the cocoon of her love

Where do you hail from angel?

Hush!.. she whispers against my lips.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

For Some Ads Deserve To Be Seen More..
From here, (link may not be work safe)
Don't have an opinion about the car, but these ads Via frederiksamuel.com are cool.

Volkswagen: The safest place to be. Polo - Laptop

Volkswagen: The safest place to be. Polo - Fish

New Beetle, now with leather as standard. Volkswagen

And Because Being A Little Less Innocent Never Hurt Anyone...
Via adsoftheworld.com
Lust Erotic Boutique Copenhagen: The flowers & the bees

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Is Your Outrage Meter In The Red Yet?

Meter thanks to Dunckley street
Mine is well past red, it has been for a while and I am upset and angry at what these incompetent leaders are doing to my country. Take a look at this piece from the NYTimes below.

Bush Aides See Failure in Fight With Al Qaeda in Pakistan
President Bush’s top counterterrorism advisers acknowledged that the strategy for fighting Osama bin Laden’s leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan had failed.

What an actual admission of failure from this administration?
Now way Jose!!! Read on and look who is being faulted here….

In identifying the main reasons for Al Qaeda’s resurgence, intelligence
officials and White House aides pointed the finger squarely at a hands-off
approach toward the tribal areas by Pakistan’s president, Gen.
, who last year brokered a cease-fire with tribal leaders in an
effort to drain support for Islamic extremism in the region.
“It hasn’t
worked for Pakistan,” said Frances Fragos Townsend, who heads the Homeland
Security Council at the White House. “It hasn’t worked for the United States.”

I have no sympathy for Musharraf, being familiar with the history and the geopolitics of the region, it was only a matter of time before the Islamic militancy created (to fight a proxy war in Kashmir and the Taliban in Afghanistan), bred and encouraged by the leaders of that country that date back to the days of Zia would come back to bite them in the ass. The assassination attempts against Musharraf and the recent mess in the Waziristan region sadly portend tough times ahead. It is a tough genie to put back in to the bottle once released as Musharraf is finding out.

Really pray (if you believe in that)!!

Not to digress, blaming Musharraf is convenient for this administration, they would rather we not focus on the original
strategic disaster at the end of 2001 at Tora Bora when they let Osama and his henchmen escape by not having enough American troops on hand and relying on the Afghans to do the work for us. Link (ample google hits about this if you are interested).

The most stunning example was the futile battle of Tora Bora to capture Osama
bin Laden at the end of 2001. As Jonathan Randal writes in his book, "Osama,"
coalition troops did not fight on the ground at Tora Bora. It wasn't a battle at
all, just a hail of missiles and bombs that came and went.
Even ignoring the
basic tenet of military strategy that having ample numbers of ground troops is
vital, other signs that strategic vision is lacking abound.

The ramifications of this are still being felt. The misadventure in Iraq and mismanagement at home and the numerous scandals continue to damage us and will for years to come. And why exactly are we shirking from Impeachment?

*Bangs Head On Desk*
At Times Of Nothingness....

From here, some funny ads (link may not be work safe)
Cigarettea: The cigarette shaped tea bag

Apple: iPod + iTunes "1000 Songs" Billboard
via Got Ads

Fling: Forever is Overrated - Frog
via Advert-Eyes

Hmm.. How Did I Miss This In Copenhagen? ;-)
Lust Erotic Boutique Copenhagen: The flowers & the bees
Via adsoftheworld.com

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Time To End The Iraq Fiasco

A piece in the NYTimes today talks about increasing doubts within the members of the armed forces and their families about the Iraq War. The our delusional leader continues his ways, all he is doing is whiling away time till he leaves office while using buzz words like "surge", "freedom" and "we are winning" and not to mention the lies.
Our military is broken, our debts rapidly piling up with a rapidly rising body count and ramifications from this conflict that will continue to take their toll in many more ways.

From the Times article..

“There was no pride left in his voice, just this robotic sense of despair,” she said, describing a telephone conversation with her son, Skyler, 24, an infantryman on his second tour of duty in Iraq. “Mom, we killed women on the street today. We killed kids on bikes. We had no choice,” she recounted his saying.

The same week, she said, her son told her he thought he had seen the worst when he had to pick up the body parts of his dead buddy, but then he saw an Iraqi boy picking up what was left of his dead father.

There is a video here that you have to watch.

And with this bit below, why are we still there.

Iraqi prime minister says U.S. troops can go 'anytime they want' link

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki shrugged off U.S. doubts of his government's military and political progress Saturday, saying Iraqi forces are capable and American troops can leave "anytime they want."

One of his top aides, meanwhile, accused the United States of embarrassing the Iraqi government by violating human rights and treating his country like an "experiment in a U.S. lab."

Impeach Bush & Cheney!

So while the politicians lie and dither and the Washington pundits bloviate (conveniently forgetting they were among the cheerleaders of this fiasco) we continue our downward slide.

This has been an unscheduled version of my weekend rant. And I hate to sound pessimistic but things are not looking good for us.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday Word "Rant"
Update: Video ink and some more info here
Mona says the Friday word is "Rant". Now while I could not think of a poem for this one right away, it is I am afraid rather easy to rant about the state of affairs both at home here in the US and around the world.

But let me get this quick rant off my chest. There is a tradition of the US senate opening with prayers. I don't have a big issue with that. I would rather we do something more useful like try to get health care to the uninsured in our nation rather than offer prayer to the man/woman (who says that the creator have to be a he?) in the skies who controls us all. The question of there being a creator remains open for some minds.

This episode just makes me wonder about whose freedom of religion it is that we are talking about?

Three people were arrested Thursday after staging a noisy protest as a
Hindu chaplain read the opening prayer at the US Senate, branding his appearance
an "abomination."
US Capitol Police said the protestors, apparently Christian religious activists, were ejected from the chamber and charged with an unlawful disruption of Congress.
As Hindu chaplain Rajan Zed started to recite his prayer, one protestor was heard chanting "Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer which is an abomination in your sight.
Faith leaders from various creeds are sometimes invited to give the Senate's daily opening prayer, though it is normally offered by the chamber's Christian chaplain.
The pressure group Americans United for Separation of Church and State condemned the protest. "This shows the intolerance of many Religious Right activists," said the group's executive director, Reverend Barry Lynn. "They say they want more religion in the public square, but it's clear they mean only their religion."

I guess it is freedom of religion for some people, but what they mean is freedom for them to practice their version of Christianity and the rest of us are going to hell. ;-) But this intolerance is seen to various degrees in all religions and like has been said before, while religion can and does serve as a force for good, scores of people have been killed in its name around the world. And I won't address the unanswered question for some, is there truly a god?

That is my rant for the day.

Hot Steamed Buns


BEIJING, China (AP) -- Chopped cardboard, softened with an industrial
chemical and flavored with fatty pork and powdered seasoning, is a main
ingredient in batches of steamed buns sold in one Beijing neighborhood, state
television said.

The hidden camera follows the man, whose face is not shown, into a ramshackle
building where steamers are filled with the fluffy white buns, traditionally stuffed with minced pork.
The surroundings are filthy, with water puddles and piles of old furniture and cardboard on the ground.
"What's in the recipe?" the reporter asks. "Six to four," the man says.
"You mean 60 percent cardboard? What is the other 40 percent?" asks the reporter. "Fatty meat," the man replies.
The bun maker and his assistants then give a demonstration on how the product is made.
Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda -- a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap -- then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in.
Soon, steaming servings of the buns appear on the screen. The reporter takes a
bite. "This baozi filling is kind of tough. Not much taste," he says. "Can
other people taste the difference?"
"Most people can't. It fools the average person," the maker says. "I don't eat them myself."
The police eventually showed up and shut down the operation.

This story gives a new meaning to the term “Product Contains 60% Recycled Paper Board” and “Buns of Cardboard” or “Hardboard Buns”. And of course I meant the kind that you can eat..oh wait...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Random Notes

As If You Were Not Scared Enough Already

Here is not so comforting news from the man supposed to keep us safe, the director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff…

"Summertime seems to be appealing to them," he said of al-Qaeda. "We do worry
that they are rebuilding their activities."Still, Chertoff said there are not
enough indications of an imminent plot to raise the current threat levels
nationwide. And he indicated that his remarks were based on "a gut feeling"
formed by past seasonal patterns of terrorist attacks, recent al-Qaeda
statements, and intelligence he did not disclose.

So we are now relying on gut feeling, that’s what our billions of dollars are getting us, not to mention that the main bad guys behind 911 are still free thanks this incompetent administration.
But the NYTimes’s Maureen Dowd said it best with
her inimitable snark.

“Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” he said, sounding more like a
meteorologist than the man charged with keeping us safe.

Flatulence And Global Warming..

No seriously.. This is true. But the kind of err.. emissions that we are talking about are the ones of a bovine and sheep origin. It is a fact that methane which cows emit via mostly belching and flatulence is about 23 times more potent as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide.

While we do tend to focus on the human activity that causes global warming, scientists have also been looking at ways to cut down on methane that cows and sheep produce. As per this BBC story “The average dairy cow is capable of producing up to 500 litres of the gas every day, mostly through belching.” And these bovine emissions may account for up to 3% of Britain’s greenhouse gases.

The methane is a byproduct of the digestion process and is the handiwork of normal bacteria that exist in the digestive tract. Among the various things being tried to cut down on methane production, the thing that seemed to work was garlic extract.
But initial results from the start of the three-year study show that feed
containing garlic could cut the amount of gas produced by up to 50%.

"Garlic directly attacks the organisms in the gut that produce
He added that tests were also being carried out to see if the
garlic gave the animals bad breath and more specifically if it could taint milk
or meat.
Cue in your jokes about “complaints about bovine garlic breath”.
I just found this funny and interesting.

Is this hand soap creepy or what?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

When You Are At A Loss For Words..

From here, some funny ads (link may not be work safe)

"Say NO to seduction in UAE", an interesting ad created a while back by Team Y&R in Dubai for Al-Bayan newspaper in attempts to resist seduction and pornographic activities in the UAE. The ad features the logo of Playboy, shaped like the word "NO" in Arabic … very clever!

Tatoo: The only decorators that won't make a mess of your carpet.

Ads for the Megastar Cineplex.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Emerging Cinemas And A "Not A Review" Of Amu

I had a chance this weekend to watch an English language movie "Amu" written, produced and directed by Shonali Bose. But before I go on to the movie, I probably should tell you a bit about where I saw it and the story behind the theatre.

The city of Wilmington has just one cinema, TheatreN at Nemours. I had heard about this place and that it showed independent movies, but never had a chance to watch one there till Saturday. A bit about this theatre

The last movie theatre in Wilmington, The Rialto, closed in 1982 and was later demolished. Twenty years later, movies return to Wilmington
with the opening of Theatre N at Nemours. Located in The Nemours Building at
CityCenter@Wilmington — 1007 Orange Street — the theater underwent renovations that include new seats, painting, carpeting, movie screen and a concession area. It
is located on the first floor of a 14-story building in Downtown Wilmington
formerly owned by the DuPont Company.

It really is a converted auditorium and the box office is a table with a cash counter outside the auditorium. I kind of liked the informal simple look of it all. The concession stand was inside the theatre at the back. But the best part of this? A small popcorn, soda, candy, they are all a dollar!
Can you beat that at the multiplexes? But that is not all, the theatre is a part of "Emerging Pictures". And they have a rather neat concept.
Emerging Pictures is a filmed entertainment company for the digital age. Representing the fusion of independent film methodology and the latest digital technology, Emerging Pictures will be a major supplier of original content to traditional media outlets and a pioneer in aggregating content for future delivery systems, including its own network of digital theaters that are being created inside of existing arts institutions--Emerging Cinemas.
I actually agree that this is where movies are headed. I recently watched Deepa Mehta's Water, streamed live via Netflix and found the experience thoroughly enjoyable. Not to digress, but Theatre N is als only 5 miles from our place and parking is only a 1$ when you watch a movie there. Sweet eh? Both *A* and I agreed that we would come here to watch more movies.

On to the movie..

Amu” is the directorial debut of Shonali Bose and I found the story of the genesis of the movie as fascinating as the movie itself. At the heart of the movie is a sorry chapter In India’s recent past. This was the brief period after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, India’s Prime Minister in 1984.

To those of you unaware of the history here, Ms. Gandhi was killed by two of her bodyguards who were both Sikh. This was done in retaliation for Operation Blue Star, which was conducted against the golden temple the holiest of Sikh shrines in an attempt to flush out militants. This was a bloody battle that caused considerable damage to the shrine.

In the 4 days following Ms. Gandhi’s killings, Sikhs in Delhi were targeted in a progrom mostly led by members of the Ms. Gandhi’s Congress party, and by some estimates close to 3000 Sikhs were killed. To date justice has not been done and like often happens in India, commissions get appointed for inquiries. They have appointed 10 commissions for this instance alone, which is one way the Indian government has avoided responsibility. Leaders have apologized, however that is not the same as justice being served.

A synopsis about the movie from its web site below.

Amu is the story of Kaju, a twenty-one-year-old Indian American woman who returns to India to visit her family. The film takes a dark turn as Kaju stumbles against secrets and lies from her past. A horrifying genocide that took place twenty years ago turns out to hold the key to her mysterious origins.

How were Kaju’s family involved in the killings? What happened and why? Who were the culprits? Who benefited? Will Kaju have the courage to pursue the truth no matter the cost? Will it destroy her relationship with her mother? Will it affect her burgeoning romance? Will it change everything she knows about herself and about India?

I loved this movie, Kaju is played by Konkona Sen and she does an excellent job here. The great supporting cast of actors is mostly veterans of Indian cinema/stage and television, except for Kaju’s mother, Keya who is played by Brinda Karat (who is a leftist politician and the director’s aunt) in her debut and Ankur Khanna who also has his feature film debut as Kabir, Kaju’s friend and potential love interest.

The movie is in English with subtitles where other languages get spoken. I did have a little trouble following the rapid fire way in which some Indians speak English but once I got used to it, it was ok.

I did think Shonali Bose does a great job and I could not tell easily that this was her first feature. There were times I thought the camera work and sound could have been better, but this my opinion purely as a viewer. Also when you read what went in to the making of this movie (link), it is truly a labor of love and the technical imperfections (if any) do become secondary.

Konkona Sen comes thru with a strong performance as you see her transform from a typical 20 something fresh out of school young woman who is fascinated with her land of birth to a person trying to understand her adoptive roots which becomes an emotionally wracking journey.

Kaju’s journey in to her past begins with her visits to a slum in Delhi, where she suddenly starts recalling memories from a time long gone and has nightmares about it.

The questions she raises threaten her relationship with her mother and to reopen old wounds that really have not healed. We watch, as her quest for finding out about her parents, bring her close to Kabir. We watch as his disdain for her desire to experience the real India thru her visits to slums and their documentation on her video camera, gradually change to tenderness and love.

There are a few other threads that run thru this movie that were not quite explained. This could have been due to the fact that the original movie was close to 3 hours. One unexplored issue was the silent tension that exists between Kabir’s parents that one notices especially when the topic of the 1984 riots comes up. This evasion in Kabir’s father is something that recurs amongst other characters in the movie and often seem emblematic of a bigger problem in societies not just in India but also here of not willing to confront sordid episodes in their past.

The drama in the movie builds towards a climactic evening that culminates in the truth being laid bare and secrets revealed.

We also see the power and strength of the bond between a mother and her adopted daughter, and of how it is possible to love someone else’s child as one’s own and the truly transcendental nature of love.

The scene of the railroad tracks that you see in the picture on this post is pivotal in the movie. This is the place where a memory is seared in to a child’s consciousness and where in the present she comes to terms with her past, and I saw it as a metaphor for a new beginning.

It is likely if any of you see it you may see this movie differently but I doubt that you would be unmoved. As for any of you wondering why the name “Amu”, telling you that would be revealing too much.