and I’m ready to get back to labouring!

I think I’ll cook some nice healthy vegetables! They were in short supply on Saturday.

Somehow, in planning the menu for our Eid party I had forgotten a salad.

One of my daughters scolded me for it.

I told her there was spinach curry and banjaan (an Afghan fried eggplant dish that I mentioned in Wanting Mor). My daughter said that you couldn’t consider such greasy dishes vegetables! (Yeah, banjaan is greasy but the spinach curry wasn’t)

I made way too much trifle! One of my daughters had asked for it, but I guess everyone wasn’t much in the mood.

I was exhausted on Saturday night after everyone had left but I still managed to clean up and put things back in order.

Somehow I started reading “Forge” the sequel to Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Chains”.

I read “Chains” a few days earlier. It was a National Book Award finalist and won the Scott O’dell award for historical fiction. I always remember the Scott O’dell award from the book Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Chains is very well done! I really enjoyed it! It’s about both slavery, being the story of a slave girl named Isabel set against the backdrop of the American revolution. The irony that the Americans are fighting for their freedom from the British while at the same time enslaving the blacks amongst them, is not lost in the narrative.

I found the beginning of Forge a little jarring at first. It’s a sequel but it’s square in the eyes of the main boy character in Chains. Once I got my bearings though, I enjoyed Forge as well.

Makes me want to go and see the sights in the book, especially Valley Forge, the area about eighteen miles outside of Philadelphia where so much of Forge is set.

But honestly, some of the what the military did just didn’t make sense to me. I don’t doubt they were historically accurate but they were just dumb!

Like if the folks really were that hungry, why didn’t they eat the horses that keeled over dead?

Orders or no orders, when people are hungry enough, they’ll eat horses!

I mean they were eating squirrels!

And if only they knew how to make roti/chapatis! They wouldn’t have had to eat that horrid ‘firecake’!

Geez, they could have learned a thing or two if they’d had some Pakistanis in their midst!

And no matter how bad the description of what the soldiers suffered at Valley Forge, I couldn’t stop comparing it to Somalia, and part of my heart hardened as a result of that. I kept asking myself, “And why am I supposed to care about these SOLDIERS suffering? They’re soldiers! They’ll get paid, eventually for this! Or not.”

Think of the skeletons of the emaciated in Somalia.

So sorry, just couldn’t cough up much sympathy in that regard.

When Haiti had the earthquake and Japan had the tsunami, the aid vehicles were clogging the roads trying to get help to the needy–which is all as it should be.

But when Pakistan had the floods and Somalia has this worst drought famine in 60 years and they’re expecting 750,000 people to die, it tends to make the suffering of soldiers pale in comparison.

I know, I know. Suffering is suffering. You can’t really compare between people. And yet it seems to be human nature that people do.

And back to the books, the only other criticism I would have is that there was a certain amount of acceptance, even among blacks, of the notion that they were actually inferior. It’s only understandable. If you’re told from so many quarters that you’re inferior, and you’re repeatedly treated as such, it stands to reason that eventually you’d come to accept the erroneous idea.

Heck, I grew up in the ’60’s and ’70’s and it was prevalent then!  I grew up thinking myself inferior because of my colour. Think how much worse it would have been in the seventeen hundreds!

But none of that comes through.

It’s something that hasn’t been explored much in literature, at least not in any that I’ve read. The only place I’ve seen it dealt with is in Malcolm X’s autobiography.

You can really see how much of a love/hate relationship the blacks of Malcolm’s time had with their white oppressors.

It’s a colonization attitude. I’ve seen tons of it in Pakistani and Indian culture too! And Native culture!

Anywhere that a people have been conquered, you will find it.

Unfortunately Ms. Anderson doesn’t go there, but other than that, the books are riveting! (And really these are small quibbles!) I highly recommend the books!

There’s going to be another book in the series and it’s going to be called Ashes. Can’t wait!

On another note I started back work on the sequel. I’ve got some ideas on it, parts that are niggling at me a bit.

It’s so good to be back to work!

Tomorrow, insha Allah, I’ll go back to Curves as well, and walk on the treadmill to do my three miles. And vegetables. Some nice healthy vegetables!

That’ll get rid of the fog of rich food that’s been dulling my senses a bit.