Blogdosts, I am feeling super special today. Poochho, kyon? I was just gifted the latest iPad by my son Aditya, who came over for a rawa dosa... and I'm guessing the dosa was soooo yummy, he thought his mother deserved some serious appreciation!
Well... I now have a sexy gizmo that I'm treading carefully around. It is far too sophisticated for me. All those amazing functions... the stuff it's capable of... the only thing it can't do is produce a baby. Perhaps the next generation iPad will be able to reproduce, too! By this time next week, I'll become an expert. Or so I'm convincing myself. The raison d'etre behind this lavish gift , says Aditya, is to free me from the tyranny of old technology. Aditya's timing couldn't have been better - I shall pack my iPad when I leave for London next week. I'll be able to blog and tweet and write my columns idhar se, udhar se. What fun.
This appeared in The Week.....
Poor woman. Imagine her predicament. First, she gets married off at age 17, to a man who is 25 years her senior. He also happens to be the most wanted terrorist on earth.She dutifully assumes her role as his fifth wife and produces a daughter Safiya. Then, after spending 12 years with him, she gets shot in the shin by a SEAL during the dramatic American attack on her secret mansion in Abbottabad. An attack that kills her notorious husband, Osama Bin Laden. Oooof! It can’t get any worse. But apparently,the same woman is supposedly singing like a canary these days from her hospital bed in Pakistan and revealing juicy details to Pakistani interrogators about her dead husband’s sex life. We now know from Amal al- Sadah, the Yemeni beauty that her 54- year -old husband needed the assistance of a herbal Viagra to get things going. At the time of stealth attack, Osama was in bed with Amal, his favourite wife. He was fully clad. This is an important factoid. Had he been naked, he would have been arrested but only after putting some clothes on. Apparently, one cannot arrest a naked person.Amal was fully clad as well. Early reports claimed she had screamed out her husband’s name and attacked the raiding party in a fit of rage. It was also said she’d been used as a human shield by Osama to defend himself. All those are mere folk tales… the narrative will keep changing as we go along. Depending on the story teller. But it is Amal’s extraordinary life as the wife of the dreaded Osama bin Laden that will continue to intrigue the world for years to come… even if she decides to write a ‘tell all’ book ( unlikely scenario, if she values her life and the life of her daughter).
Most women would love to know the nature of her relationship with her charismatic husband, now being portrayed as a frail, delusionary fellow , who dyed his grey beard and made comical videos of himself issuing threats to the world, while frequently flubbing his lines. Assuming she was his favourite wife, how did she share her man with the other two wives who also lived in the compound?Did they take turns? Throw lots? Get Osama to pick his nightly bed companion as per his whims? What did Amal talk about to her husband, since she was not allowed to leave the upper floors of their heavily guarded mansion for six long years? Did she not wonder about life outside that compound? Given that there was zero access to information and zero contact with anybody beyond those high walls, what did the poor woman do to amuse herself? No tv, no music, no scrabble, no retail therapy…? Okay, perhaps she kept herself busy cooking those goats the men bought on a daily basis. Even that is doubtful… unless the kitchen was on the upper floors where she lived as a virtual prisoner. Clearly, she couldn’t milk the cows in the compound – that was left to the men ( excluding her husband). She obviously didn’t join him as he paced around the compound after dusk. How many water melons could she have cut up and cleaned( Osama cured his chronic kidney ailment with a water- melon diet). God! Amal’s existence sounds like a living death to any woman of today. As someone joked, “How awful it must have been for Amal to live in a home with mismatched curtains, and lousy table linen.”
Trivialising the issue may be the only way to come to terms with this bizarre situation. Amal may have survived the attack, but as Osama’s widow, she’s a marked woman for life. Even if she does manage to go back to Yemen and start all over again ( she’s just 29, for heaven’s sake), she’ll never be able to live below the radar. Right now, there is a horrible tug- of- war going on between her Pakistani handlers and the Americans, who want free access to her. Amal remains the only real link that can provide credible details about a mysterious mastermind who held the world to ransom for close to a decade. What was life with Osama all about?How much does Amal know about his diabolical plans? Did he confide in her at all? Did she eavesdrop critical conversations between Osama and the couriers ? Can she, for example, give fresh leads on future attacks being planned by Osama? Perhaps, Amal is aware of her own priceless worth – she is invaluable as a resource. But imagine the trauma suffered by her 12- year- old daughter who watched her father being shot ( American version), and her mother getting hit by a bullet. Henceforth, Amal will be forced to raise this troubled pre-teen on her own , as a single mother, never ever being sure of their joint safety. The nightmare has not ended for this young woman. It may just have begun….