Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Book Review- Becoming Assiya by Simran Keshwani

“We fail to understand how harrowing images of beheading, suicide bombing attacks at school-going kids and mass genocide serve as a crystalline scythe to cleanse your soul. How many Aylan Kurdis must it take for this blind bludgeoning of mankind to halt?”

By now, the World is more or less aware of Syrian crisis, albeit superficially. When pictures of Aylan Kurdi and Omran Daqneesh appeared on the internet, social networking sites went berserk with people condemning the civil war from all over the World. In fact, every time there is an attack claiming innocent lives, there is an instant reaction. But sadly, the reaction is short-lived and too feeble to make any difference. And as we move towards the other trending topics across the internet, the people in war-struck parts of the world continue struggle for their lives every second. While some of them aren’t fortunate enough and succumb to the terror, some are fortunate to end up as refugees in other countries. But are they really fortunate? Does their struggle end when they are out of the war-zone or does the struggle just take another name and face?

Becoming Assiya is about a Syrian refugee Assiya Al Saeed who lands up in the great nation of America. But this land of dreams hardly provides any solace and she lives a detestable life. Nikki, Silver, Crissy and many more names for her but not Assiya Al Saeed. Daughter of a courageous mother who died saving the life of another child, Assiya now seeks refuge in her mother’s poems. But she survives courageously because the spirit runs in the family.

The story traverses to future when the civil war has finally ended but only after brutally shredding a beautiful country of every shred of its soul. Assiya and many other Daughters of the War now want to come back to their Sham (country) to rebuild it. But what UN claims as “mass genocide” has left scars too deep to heal so easily and quickly. The horror that war instilled in young hearts and minds can take ugly shape any moment. Revenge knows no reasons, after all.

I have to confess that during the initial few pages, I was tempted more than once to quit. But I am glad I didn’t because the story gradually grows on you. And somewhere in the between, you are completely absorbed by it. There are shocking descriptions of the cruelty which make you squirm. And a strong determination develops within you assuring that this entire struggle will not go in vain. Though the plot is fictional, I am sure there is an Assiya, a Rabbia and a Malak somewhere out there who are living a life that makes death look like a pleasant dream.

My Rating: 

About the author: Simrann Keshwanii, 20, is a Final Year literature student at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi and the Founder of a start-up, Born Of a Million Thoughts, that deals in on-ground Social Activism. She plans on changing the world, one word at a time, for words are mirrors and swords. (Source: http://dubeat.com/2017/01/becoming-assiya-by-simran-keshwani/)

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