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the riddle of Changez



bentley wrote: I wouldn't sit across from a person I thought was going to kill me and who had a gun and talk to them like a long lost friend for four (4) hours.



:smileyvery-happy: No. Why would Ch. be so desperate to pour out his heart to a stranger who's his potential killer? I'd take my back pack and venture home.

Trying to keep him there until it gets dark and late and then walk him home and go to sleep?

Maybe I am starting to look at the book as if it were nine o'clock news....which might not be so terribly clever.

But check it out: I am Ch. I blew my chances in west, now I teach at a university in Lahore and one day I 'kidnapp' a western looking macho stranger and tell him my broken love story and broken work story without even knowing if he wants to hear any of it? I who never knew what to say to anybody? How odd. Given all that I am prone to think Ch. became involved with terrorists. Nothing is mentioned about his new set of fundamentals.

I'd say analysis doesn't do this book too much good. It's like if you try to study Pissaro's dots in close up and you miss the impression of the whole painting.

ziki
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Re: Changez in Pakistan

[ Edited ]

bentley wrote: One thing I do not believe Changez is: naive...that he is not.




No, he calculates, that is his job :smileyhappy:

A story of a confused young man born with a wrong passport (which is of course relative, depending on where you are).

He appears to be a victim of circumstances both in US and Pakistan, but that we never are. I wouldn't go that far as to say we can influence what happens but we can adjust our attitude, even if reluctantly.

Dunno.
------
Where from do they get their tea in Pakistan, from Himalaya? Darjeeling? Or Ceylon? It's not called Sri Lanka tea nowadays, is it? :smileyvery-happy:

Ha!
http://www.pakissan.com/english/issues/prospects.of.tea.cultivation.shtml

" Pakistan, which has a 170 million kg tea market, imports about 100 millon kg annually. Tea imports from Kenya make up about 85 per cent of the total import, and India is in the second place. Smugglers bring in another 60 to 70 million kg."
http://www.hindu.com/2007/04/28/stories/2007042801261800.htm

Message Edited by ziki on 05-13-200705:27 PM

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Tea in Pakistan

Tea kettle from Alibaba dot com

http://img.alibaba.com/photo/11301962/Tea_Kately.jpg

teapots, swords and daggers... ay :smileysurprised:

So maybe he didn't have a gun but a knife!
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smuggling tea to Pakistan

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C05%5C11%5Cstory_11-5-2007_pg5_8

but I wonder what kind of tea they smuggle, where from?

ziki
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meeting

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Off Topic Completely

Bentley:

Do you remember Erato from The Road?

She invited you to join the Cafe. Yes?

Why have you never posted? I am there too.

We just finished Finn by Jon Clinch and Jon participated. It was wonderful. We chat about books and poetry and I rant on about museums...

Lizabeth
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Re: meeting

Ziki--

Are you in New York City also? I loved the menu. I think it was so funny...kind of crumpled with items crossed out...lots of charm...

Lizabeth
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aghanistan

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Re: Off Topic Completely/ OK

No worries, community room is for off topic conversations.
ziki
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bentley
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Re: meeting


ziki wrote:
you spoke about meeting I suggest:

http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/manhattan/menus/pakistanteahouse.htm




I guess as long as you look down when you cross the street you won't fall into the booby trap (the big hole) across from the restaurant.

The prices sure look right. I guess they just cross things out rather than get new menus (recycling..I guess that is good). It is too bad they took off of the menu the one which was too difficult to explain..(darn, I would have ordered that!)

I read the reviews and you either love the little place or not. It looks like the food is good and the service so so. But it does look authentic.

For Afghan food there is a terrific place called Pamir..is anybody familier with it? I loved the food. It is a bit more upscale that the Pakistan place (still very reasonable)..but the Pakistan place does look interesting.

Definately will have to keep that in mind when I am downtown. The menu made me smile
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bentley
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Re: visit Pakistan (That doesn't look too good!)



dianearbus wrote:
Just in:


http://news.aol.com/topnews/articles/_a/dozens-dead-pakistan-crisis-clash/20070512164109990001?ncid=...

Maybe not a good place to visit at all...


Lizabeth




Will have to delay the travel plans a bit. Things look like they are rough; it is too bad.

The mountains looked very pretty. I think you are right Lizabeth..there seems to be a crisis right now.
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Re: visit Pakistan


ziki wrote:
The mountains look nice but what do mountains know about politics (if I put it so). Where are the caves anyhow? :smileysurprised: :smileysurprised:

The official site presents the country as if it were very friendly. Somewhere it must be
I am just trying to turn it round, thinking in terms like i.e. studying art in Pakistan.....would I be confused like Changez in NY? Most likely. I have to admit I know close to zero about Pakistan. There is a restaurant nearby, people say the food is good but I never went there. Once, but it was closed.:smileyvery-happy: No more of Pakistan for me thus far. Embarassing perhaps.

I am listening to Kite Runner (which is a sad story from Afghanistan) and it is actualy worse to take in the story the second time. I also finished The Saffron Kitchen (Mashhad, Iran) so all of a sudden I have this ethnic-lit-mix in my head. And I stumbled on Kabul Beauty School which I didn't read yet....so....I keep my atlas close by.
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781400065592&itm=1




I am not familiar with Kite Runner..that sounds interesting..need to get through my thriller first before I handle another sad book..Speaking of Afghanistan..Pamir has great food in NYC (loved the food there)..I think the one on 58th or so was the one I used to go to..they used to deliver for me too :smileyhappy:

I also do not know much of anything about Pakistan..much more about India. Although in my travels I have met some professionals from Pakistan and some of them have the most piercing and beautiful blue eyes (maybe I am remembering this incorrectly)..but I think that was so. I was surprised..the Afghanis are also a very attractive race. I am going to have to look into some of these books..after my brief rest. I just didn't want to read anything else controversial for awhile or chilling.

I often wonder about how a lot of these folks make ends meet in some of these countries that are so riddled with violence. It seems to me it would be so much better if in fact they could find peace and be able to welcome folks from around the world to visit. Everyone could benefit. I shudder to think of all of the history in Iraq which has been destroyed or damaged. So much ancient history in that area of the world which cannot be shared with others who would be so very interested I would think in visiting these locations (of course not now).

I think there are a lot of places where tourist would be afraid to go and that in itself is too bad for everyone.
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Re: the riddle of Changez


ziki wrote:


bentley wrote: I wouldn't sit across from a person I thought was going to kill me and who had a gun and talk to them like a long lost friend for four (4) hours.



:smileyvery-happy: No. Why would Ch. be so desperate to pour out his heart to a stranger who's his potential killer? I'd take my back pack and venture home.

Trying to keep him there until it gets dark and late and then walk him home and go to sleep?

Maybe I am starting to look at the book as if it were nine o'clock news....which might not be so terribly clever.

But check it out: I am Ch. I blew my chances in west, now I teach at a university in Lahore and one day I 'kidnapp' a western looking macho stranger and tell him my broken love story and broken work story without even knowing if he wants to hear any of it? I who never knew what to say to anybody? How odd. Given all that I am prone to think Ch. became involved with terrorists. Nothing is mentioned about his new set of fundamentals.

I'd say analysis doesn't do this book too much good. It's like if you try to study Pissaro's dots in close up and you miss the impression of the whole painting.

ziki




Exactly..although not too much is mentioned about religion. I simply could not believe a Pakistani doing this with a complete stranger without an ulterior motive and then I could not believe that the American (also a complete stranger) would listen unless he was after something (a story or a target)..especially for four hours (the length of time it would take to tell the story). There are also so many cultural differences..the American should have been reeling from such a long dinner and/or tea break..everything here is rush rush rush (even when we are relaxing)..we never take that long to eat or have a cup of tea. I just don't see this happening with a complete stranger without a strong reason to accomplish something else.

I think it feels like we have all been in the stacks too long and when we came out; we discovered that the professor had gone home for spring break and we missed our ride.

I think the story is what it is and I got to listen to a Pakistani patriot who was the protagonist in the book explain his views. But I think Americans like to find solid answers and like clear endings quickly in mostly all things including their team sports. If you look for example at cricket matches in England and other countries where two innings matches are played over three to five days! Could you possibly imagine that kind of duration being tolerated well here?

Over in England and many other countries there are at least six hours of cricket being played each day! One innings matches can be usually played over one day for six hours or more! There are formal intervals on each day so you can break for lunch and tea, and there are shorter intermission type breaks for drinks. There is also even a short interval between innings! So there is plenty of time to stretch your legs. I just cannot imagine Americans having the patience to last it out. We would all have given up and have gone home.

Can you possibly imagine Americans sitting through a day's match and not having a winner? I don't think they would stand for it.:smileyhappy:

I felt like the conversation with Changez was like one of those cricket matches..it went on forever. Yet these leisurely conversations where you sit around and move from tea to dinner seamlessly may be perfectly normal over in Pakistan and the American reader just doesn't get it and we cannot fathom the whole event?

Your question about cultural differences determining how folks read this book was/is an excellent one.

Still I felt absolutely like you did. Nothing added up. And I honestly did not trust or like Changez by the end of the novel. That of course did not help.
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Re: smuggling tea to Pakistan


ziki wrote:
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C05%5C11%5Cstory_11-5-2007_pg5_8

but I wonder what kind of tea they smuggle, where from?

ziki




Tea:

What kind of tea did he say the American had to have..goodness it escapes me now?
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Re: Off Topic Completely


dianearbus wrote:
Bentley:

Do you remember Erato from The Road?

She invited you to join the Cafe. Yes?

Why have you never posted? I am there too.

We just finished Finn by Jon Clinch and Jon participated. It was wonderful. We chat about books and poetry and I rant on about museums...

Lizabeth




I did sign up as she suggested..but then I lost the link..I have to figure out what my id and stuff was. Maybe somebody can send it to me. I don't have my messaging turned on here ..I will open it up tomorrow if somebody wants to send me the info again. I seem to remember you had to wait for a confirmation or something and then I forgot about it. Once I get it again..I will try once more. Too late tonight to fool around with the profile.

Thanks for reminding me..Museums are good so that is ok..I love the Met. There are so many great museums in the Northeast and NYC. And you are going to find some great ones in Italy...you should be leaving soon right..I am sure your trip will be fabulous.

I definately will post once I get the confirmation and remember where everything is.
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Re: aghanistan



ziki wrote:
some pictures of women

how very different life...

http://www.jayateas.com/blog/?cat=5
http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0511/slezic.html




Some of these pictures are amazing..the cover shot of the girl peeking out with red nail polish on was so odd...and some of the pictures were quite sad.
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women in Pakistan + choosing sides

http://hrw.org/campaigns/pakistan/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/pakistan/mckenna_pakistan.html

honor killings:

"...Samia Sarwar's mother, a doctor, facilitated the honour killing of her daughter in Lahore in April 1999 when Samia sought divorce from an abusive husband (see below). Shahtaj Qisalbash, a witness during the killing, reported that Samia's mother was "cool and collected during the getaway, walking away from the murder of her daughter as though the woman slumped in her own blood was a stranger."

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engASA330181999

I am just trying to understand a little better.
---------
Here below an article about choosing side, written by a MD in USA (in contex of the Iraqi war, but anyhow):
http://www.islamfortoday.com/athar20.htm

I wonder if Changez had to choose one side more actively after returning to Pakistan; if he ever had a choice, seen from his internal perspective. I think when you leave your country of birth where you grew up, you will always need to accept a split even if you adjust well in the new country. Then when children (like Mohsin) live in different countries during their upbringing I think the 'solution' to "who am I?" depends on the particular circumstances or you just handle it over to Ramana Maharshi, in toto. :smileyvery-happy:

As long as there is "us and them",instead of we, the problems are not solved.
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bentley
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Re: women in Pakistan + choosing sides


ziki wrote:
http://hrw.org/campaigns/pakistan/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/pakistan/mckenna_pakistan.html

honor killings:

"...Samia Sarwar's mother, a doctor, facilitated the honour killing of her daughter in Lahore in April 1999 when Samia sought divorce from an abusive husband (see below). Shahtaj Qisalbash, a witness during the killing, reported that Samia's mother was "cool and collected during the getaway, walking away from the murder of her daughter as though the woman slumped in her own blood was a stranger."

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engASA330181999

I am just trying to understand a little better.
---------
Here below an article about choosing side, written by a MD in USA (in contex of the Iraqi war, but anyhow):
http://www.islamfortoday.com/athar20.htm

I wonder if Changez had to choose one side more actively after returning to Pakistan; if he ever had a choice, seen from his internal perspective. I think when you leave your country of birth where you grew up, you will always need to accept a split even if you adjust well in the new country. Then when children (like Mohsin) live in different countries during their upbringing I think the 'solution' to "who am I?" depends on the particular circumstances or you just handle it over to Ramana Maharshi, in toto. :smileyvery-happy:

As long as there is "us and them",instead of we, the problems are not solved.




I looked at the urls and read the stories and they are horrific I think. For a women to be raped like what happened to these poor women and then not to be able to get any justice is amazing. Then to have to have four eye witnesses or you will be charged with adultery is like adding insult to injury. Pakistan looks like a place would have looked 100 years ago (at least in the pictures you have forwarded). But their laws at least for the protection of women are worse than any country that I could possibly have imagined.

In countries like this, men get used to the idea of entitlement and I think abusing women is part of the mystique. It is hard for them to move forward and they won't until they treat half of their population like equals and with respect and dignity. Those women lawyers are the bravest of the brave in Pakistan.
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bentley
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Re: Off Topic Completely



bentley wrote:

dianearbus wrote:
Bentley:

Do you remember Erato from The Road?

She invited you to join the Cafe. Yes?

Why have you never posted? I am there too.

We just finished Finn by Jon Clinch and Jon participated. It was wonderful. We chat about books and poetry and I rant on about museums...

Lizabeth




I did sign up as she suggested..but then I lost the link..I have to figure out what my id and stuff was. Maybe somebody can send it to me. I don't have my messaging turned on here ..I will open it up tomorrow if somebody wants to send me the info again. I seem to remember you had to wait for a confirmation or something and then I forgot about it. Once I get it again..I will try once more. Too late tonight to fool around with the profile.

Thanks for reminding me..Museums are good so that is ok..I love the Met. There are so many great museums in the Northeast and NYC. And you are going to find some great ones in Italy...you should be leaving soon right..I am sure your trip will be fabulous.

I definately will post once I get the confirmation and remember where everything is.




Both you and Erato should here from me today (reached out again) Sorry, never followed through after I did initially.

Bentley
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bentley
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Re: Off Topic Completely - For PaulH

[ Edited ]

ziki wrote:


PaulH wrote:
Hello All,

Mohsin has been more than generous with his time thus far. Letâ  s not forget that heâ  s on tour promoting his book. Please keep the questions not only succinct going forward, but focused on the novel.

Thanks,

Paul




Well, there are not so many of us here and the amount of posts so far was not overwhelming; personally I'd appreciate if you as a moderator could help the conversation onward by clarifying subjects, themes and contribute in a constructive way. We can sure discuss the book only but given the fact that the subject is controversial, contemporary and has many facets, it is not surprising that we touch upon different subjects and wish to learn about new things. This at least for me is a motivation why I participate in these book discussions. Pakistan for me could be the other side of the moon. It is not likely that I go there either.

We are not small children to be told what to do. The author agreed to participate here during a month and the book rises more questions than answers so perhaps we could keep even that in mind. A writer without readers? A forum without members? Let's keep a holistic perspective on this.

ziki




PaulH,

I think that Ziki has raised some very interesting points on the Questions for Mohsin Hamid thread. But I have moved my response to you to the Community Room. Let me first say that I enjoyed very much your moderation of The Road and you were very responsive I felt to each and every post. I thought you did a great job. I loved your moderation style on that book.

However, on this book, we just have not heard from you as much. Were you asked to change? Because honestly I felt you did a terrific job on The Road board and ask why change..you did a great job.

I wanted to respond to your note and also say that Ziki was very brave to comment as she did. But I decided it was best to give my response here in the Community Room because I sense a great deal of censorship on these boards. Some of it is of course very necessary and extremely important and of course well done, but on the topics raised in the book or in articles that the author participated in about the book, that is very curious.

First, let me say that "many questions" do not mean that the questions themselves individually were not succinct. Nobody ever said that there were a set number of questions per reader. If some readers are more interested than others and these same folks are carefully reading and thinking about the issues raised, they should be congratulated for asking questions or a lot of them for that matter.
Second, adding a couple of paragraphs from the article itself is never a question. And asking questions about issues raised from reviews/articles of the book itself shouldn't be verboten in mho.
Third. the novel itself does in fact deal with many contemporary issues and does raise more questions than it answers, some very deeply controversial, it deals with racial profiling (Changez and others alluded to), attitudes on mental illness and suicide (Erica and Changez), attitudes in Pakistan (the East) versus America (the West), fundamentalism, visas, trouble in traveling from one point to another after 9/11, 9/11 itself, fundamentalist firms and the work they do, sabotage, terrorism, suspicion, customs in Pakistan and Pakistan life itself, social mores and the list goes on and on. I would like to point out that all of the questions are issues or controversial subjects raised in the novel itself by the protagonist or discussed in articles/interviews about the book itself.
Fourth, asking folks to not ask questions of the author which do not reflect the novel is therefore ridiculous because all of them did except for the budding writer question possibly (which was graciously answered) or maybe asking about information about the book tours themselves (which lend themselves to cultural reactions - which in part is discussed in the book obliquely)
Fifth, I have also noticed that Ziki's last question and a very good one was not answered.

PaulH, there are not many questions overall and Ziki is correct in what she is saying in mho. I have looked at other author led discussions and I did not see this stilting of the conversation. And I have not asked any further questions in the Questions for Mohsin Hamid thread as you may have noticed.

I do want to thank you for a great discussion on The Road..it was a lot of fun. And I really thought long and hard about not saying anything at all; but one thing that I did carry away from the discussions on both books is that silence and not responding openly leads to more suspicion and communication gaffes.

I know that moderation can be a thankless job, but someone has to do it..no? :smileyhappy: What is the next book that you are moderating? Who knows you might find Lizabeth and I over there as well (smile)

Message Edited by bentley on 05-14-200711:12 AM

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