Book: Weaving Water
Author: Ajeet Cour
Translated by: Masooma Ali & Meenu Minocha
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
Price: Rs 499
The very title of this memoir, Weaving Water, warrants reader’s attention. Water, being liquid, can’t be woven. All attempts to weave it will naturally go in vain. To quote the Pakistani Urdu poet, Qateel Shifai, ‘Aab ki rafoogari kya karoon? Bahte dariya ko baandha nahin jaa sakta’ (How can I darn water? A flowing river cannot be arrested).
Ajeet Cour hasn’t written her poignant and truthful autobiography to wallow in self-pity or seek self-aggrandisement. She has written this with a view to emboldening her readers, especially female readers. A squall of cataclysmic events and experiences couldn’t defeat her indomitable spirit and she eventually emerged triumphant. She has broken the age-old stereotype about a perennially helpless woman that ‘Abla jeevan hai tumhari yahi kahani, Aanchal mein hai doodh aur aankhon mein paani’ (Alas, a woman’s whole life is a pathetic saga of tears in eyes and milk in breasts).
The best part or the message of this memoirs is author’s pugnacious spirit that refused to be cowed down and caved in. Any person in her place, would have thrown in the towel in the face of the relentless punches of a ruthlessly pugilist life. But Ajeet is made of sterner stuff.
Life’s endless mishaps may have made her cynical at times, but she always prevailed over the cynicism and never allowed the negativity to overwhelm her. Her entire life articulates this quatrain, ‘Har saaz se hoti nahin ye dhun paida/ Hota hai bade jatan se ye gun paida/ Meezan-e-nishaat-o-gham mein sadiyon tulkar/ Hota hai hayaat mein tavazun paida’ (Every instrument cannot produce this melody/ One acquires it after great efforts/ Measured on the weigh-machine of pain and pleasure of life for aeons/ Life gets a blissful equilibrium).
Certainly, an interminable chain of unpleasant happenings mellowed Ajeet Cour and made her a person of character, integrity and exemplary courage. Salutations to this gritty woman. It’s a book for those who believe that life is to be lived with gusto and gravity. Finally, the English translation is remarkable as the duo captured even the minutest details and nuances of the original Punjabi. Kudos to both.