Friday, August 20, 2010

The Consequences of Love - Sulaiman Addonia

The streets of Jedda resembles a black and white movie. Men in White 'thobes' and women in their all covering black ' abaya'.  Into this Black and White streets come in the pink shoes, symbol of love. The colour not only symbolises the love, but that of danger.

Young Naser, Eritean migrant working in a small car wash shop, does not have the means and mind to take vacation like his other friends. The only place he wanted to go is to his mother, back in Eritrea. Whiling away his time, during the long in-active days, by taking a nap under the tree. In one of such days, he finds a piece of paper being dropped by the moving column of black abayas. And that was an invitation to the world that was forbidden. A love letter, from some one unknown. The letter continued to come in various ways, taking him into a world of thrill, excitement and danger.

Against the odds, the restrictions and the omnipresent religious police, lo ve itself find ways to prosper. Through the 'pink shoes', the exchange under the pertext of accompanying the Imam for his weekly sermon at the women's university, taking advanced step of escaping to the  open 'westerner's free zone' and to the extend of disguising as a women wearing 'abaya' and getting into her room. As in every love story, this too has to end. It wasn't long before he was caught, cheated by his close friend whom he seek help for getting forged passport for permanent escape.  The torture and interrogation continued, imminent death by stoning was on the cards, but some timely intervention by his well-wishers got him a relatively lesser punishment of deportation.

A society, where young boys like him are often used for the carnal satisfaction of the men ( 'you be my boy until my marriage), where the migrant workers are exploited by their sponsors and the other powerful men. Naser himself was a victim in his young age. A refugee from the war tron Eritria, brought into Saudi Arabia by his uncle from the refugee camp in Sudan. Sulaiman Addonia, himself had an early life very similar to Naser. Born in Eritrea, he was brought up in Jedda in his early years, before settling in London.

A regular love story, had it been in any other part of the world. But this is Saudi Arabia, and he is a migrant. Addonia, using very controlled language, with out getting into the glorification of the sacrifices manages to tell a story pretty well. The writing and language is good particularly towards the end. He is able to get me beyond the usual 'curiosity factor' and into the shoes of Naser.


The Consequences of Love ( 2008)

Sulaiman Addonia

Chatto & Windus

346 Pages

Rs 534


Other Reviews : Independent, TimesBook Around.

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