A great book is one which causes the reader to think about it long after the last words are read. It is a book which makes you forget you are reading and throws you through the pages into another world. The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka is one such book. This book drained me emotionally at times but I don’t know how it did, or will affect others.
Before I finished reading The Rice Mother, I started to think about my ancestors and realizing even more there is merit in understanding our relatives of old. I don’t only mean understanding them historically but also emotionally. This is not about dwelling in the past but about understanding the struggles which brought us here today. You may find out that you are a chip from some old blocks, a replica of a good soul, or a completely new but unclassifiable branch of the family tree.
In every family there are skeletons in the closet but some families have more than the average amount of skeletons and, as a result, closets. However, what is more important is appreciating the day to day burdens which people endured in order to ensure the future generations are born, and hopefully into a better life. It is important to understand where the skeletons came from. Studying our ancestors may show that we are a product of both kindness and cruelty, and sometimes to the extreme.
While reading the book I kept asking the perennial question; how could the same two parents raise children, some whom came out as angels, while others ended up as perfect examples of strife and family shame? The reality is that no two people are alike and parents are rabidly judgmental about their children. Life is never fair and parents even more so. Yes, in the end both parents and their children are responsible for their own actions but when one family member takes misguided action, the others members also suffer, and shaped or distorted by its results. Whether we like it or not, a large part of who we are today is a result of who our ancestors were, the choices they made, and the fate they were handed. The rest is our history to create for the future.
p.s.1 – This book was recommended to me by Tunks 🙂
p.s.2. – I took the photo above during the wee hours of this Sunday morning. I clicked the shutter while the book lied captivatingly on a table which, incidentally, might be Malaysian 🙂