Home to over ten million expatriates, Saudi Arabia is at a crossroads. The Kingdom has a rich cultural heritage that makes everybody who has lived here, feel at home. I have lived my entire life along the Persian Gulf. My days have been dominated by the exotic beaches and never-ending parks bordering the huge water body.
One revival came in the form of radio programmes that carried forward the oral tradition of storytelling. They created audio stories out of pre-written scripts and had them performed on radio by voiceover artists. The narrative changed voices, included sound effects and added creative humour. In short, radio programmes breathe life into the words that were lying frozen in the pages of old books.
I was born in 1985, possibly the most open and optimistic time in China’s modern history; the country was going through reform and opening-up. Diplomatic relationships with America, Japan and the rest of the word had never been better. Echoing the late Chairman Mao’s famous slogan, “Women hold up half the sky”, women were encouraged to participate in the labour force fully. I do not recall any of my friends’ mums not working.
In Ancient India, the practice of Swayamvara or self-chosen groom was a significant ritual. A young woman of marriageable age, belonging to a noble family, had the right to choose her own spouse in the presence of her parents and family members. The intention of the ritual clearly signifies the ideals of women empowerment in a forgotten age and time.
In Egyptian myth, the afterlife was just as important as life. The dead stood before Osiris in the Hall of Truth, and their actions in life were weighed. If they were found worthy, they would pass on the Field of Reeds where they would life their ideal life, exactly it was on earth.
Poetry has a way of touching the deepest corner of our hearts and talking directly to our souls. The trail of the essence that it leaves in our minds is what makes us relate poetry to the most beautiful art of the Universe. It’s like painting on the canvas of the soul with words from Heaven.
“A Dream in Marble, designed by the Fairies and finished by Jewellers.” The line long learnt came back to my mind at the thought of visiting the Taj Mahal. Throughout my childhood, I had only heard stories about it and seen pictures in my history books. It was beyond my imagination that one day we would actually visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. However, it’s easier said than done.
Hitherto, my understanding of the Abrahamic religions was that they were monotheistic from the very inception of the religion. But through The Red Tent, I saw a different story, one in which a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses existed alongside a monotheistic belief.
Just because you are giving away, your wealth doesn’t decrease. It never does. You may feel sometimes that you are losing a huge amount of your money. But this doesn’t work that way. Think of it as an investment — like in one of God’s businesses. There is always a return. Always.
In the beginning, there was only nature. We lived alongside her laws and her ways. With the annals of time, humans created civilisation. Without the written word, civilisation wouldn’t exist. And it all began with the scribes – the very first wordsmiths who etched their words so they would never be forgotten or lost.