Sunday, August 22, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood - A Book Review

HRH got a summer reading list as part of his holiday homework. One of the books he was supposed to read was 'Little Red Riding Hood' from the Ladybird series. 

I had already told him the story many times before. We would both act out the parts of the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH). My version (as passed down from my parents) included the wolf eating Grandma and then being axed to death by LRRH's woodcutter father. 

I had  also very cleverly (I thought) incorporated the never-talk-to-strangers concept in it. (While walking through the forest on her way to Grandma's, LRRH meets the wolf. The wolf asks LRRH where she's going and she foolishly tells him. This results in Grandma's death as the wolf rushes over to the poor old lady's house before LRRH gets there, giving him ample time to devour Grandma and dress up in her clothes and get in her bed.)

After HRH read the Ladybird version he looked distinctly disappointed. This version had no wolf eating grandmother bit. In fact grandmother's presence was simply non-existent. The wolf was in her bed when LRRH got there. Also missing was the wolf being hacked to death by LRRH's father when the animal attacked her (post the 'Grandma, grandma what big eyes/ears/nose/teeth you have' conversation).

Some may think it's a good idea to not scar children emotionally by introducing the disturbing concepts of murder, death and bloodshed.  I personally thought (as did HRH) that Ladybird's version was plain boring. 

As we know justice is rarely served in the real world (or at least in our part of the world). At least in fairytales then, the villain should get what he deserves.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Don't Understand

In the morning I read about the President’s visit to France and the UK, the violence in Karachi, the floods all over Pakistan, and the suicide bombing in Peshawar where the commander of the Frontier Constabulary perished.

I went to dinner tonight at a friend’s place.

The menu was grilled prawns and red snapper, amongst other delicacies.

I came home afterwards in an air-conditioned car.

At a traffic light I saw a family of three on a bicycle.

At the next traffic light I saw a family of six on a motorcycle.

The entire way I heard Husn-e-Haqiqi on repeat.

I don’t understand what’s going on.

I don’t understand where Pakistan is going.

And I don’t understand what I am supposed to do.