Friday, March 30, 2007


"Say, 'Aaah'," he told Bibi, who complied. He gave his diagnosis and from his computer produced a prescription. Bibi was looking at the snowstorms on his desk. There was a line of them along the back in every shade of coloured glass. They were arranged by colour, running from clear glass at the far end to a small black dome over a frozen winter garden. He picked out one and offered it. Bibi held in on the flat of her palm and peered at the little lattice-worked tower inside.

"No, no. You shake it." Dr. Azad explained that he had got it in Paris. They watched the snow swirl around inside the glass and come to a peaceful arrangement at the bottom. "That's it." He took it back. "That is like life," he told Bibi. "Remember that is just like life."

"Why?" said Bibi, surprised into speaking. She swallowed with difficulty.
Dr. Azad picked up another snowstorm and shook. "If you are strong, you withstand the storm. Can you see? The storm comes and everything is blurred. But all that is built on a solid foundation has only to stand fast and wait for the storm to pass. Do you see?"

Bibi nodded, so slowly that she might as well have shaken her head.

"And do you know how to make a solid foundation?" Again, Bibi gave her slow, negative nod.

"Then would you mind," said Dr. Azad, "telling me just how to do it?"

Excerpt from Brick Lane (2003) by Monica Ali.

Posted by Doreen at 3:42 pm