Does the title seem sensational? Even I thought so. Maybe this seemingly oxymoron of a title made me pick up the book with this title. Also, the author of the book must have known that such a title would stir interest even among readers who would not have read this book if it were just called “Under Taliban”, or “Afghan cricket club”. Christening works is the best way authors can plug their work amidst readers. Rarely have there been books with uninteresting titles that have gone on to be best sellers, or even have left a lasting impact on the world. Now that I think of, I wonder how many books are buried under the weight of them bearing a misnomer.
Returning to the topic of this post: After some hesitation, and then simply followed by arbitration, I decided to read fiction again. It had been a long hiatus since my previous fictional read. Maybe I was in that phase as a reader, when fiction no longer excited me enough, and I must have exhausted that phase, now wanting to read fiction again. Is this normal with all readers? Maybe not. Nonetheless, I feel such disconnect strongly about genres. So, I felt compelled towards fiction, or, maybe I simply bounced off the non-fictional reading I was doing then. In any case I ended up devouring this book – Taliban Cricket Club.
One thing I was conscious about was not to read Western fiction, or any American literature, which although comes in varying degrees of excellence I wanted to read something more rustic and that would seem rooted to the lesser written about cultures. Something that would excite my senses differently; something that makes me feel the way when I read Orhan Pamuk, or Khaleid Hosseini. I have never been to a desert, but I feel engulfed in an arid sensation, as if I were simmering over a desert like a mirage when I read both these authors.
While in this state of mind, I stumbled upon Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri Murari. Synopsis seemed decent enough, the title as I already mentioned was fixating, and I began the read.
Few pages, and I already fell in love with the female protagonist Rukhsana – a defiant yet timid character, who was not an impossibility in the setting of the book. Pardoning the sometimes inevitable fantastic reality that fiction carries, I swiftly finished reading this book. Might not have been the perfect work of fiction, but there are elements that made it reading a joy. As mentioned already, the portrayal of the female protagonist amidst the tensions of Taliban incursion in Afghanistan, weaving in true anecdotes from that crisis-stricken period, sprinkled with elaborate cricket gyaan made it memorable as a read, etching admiration and awe of the likes of Rukhsana, who in reality are striving against their oppression in many different countries. Another dimension to reading this book was to learn the context of Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan, which otherwise to me was a half baked picture of them being a Cold War consequence.
Maybe I will read some more fiction in this stint. Will tell you when I do read something exciting.