Life { Faith } Tea

and ramblings on everything in between

Read Along with Me: The Space Between Us #4

We’re slowly making our way through The Space Between Us in this Read Along with Me group, which you can learn more about my checking out the group’s hub on Sam’s blog Taking on a World of Words.

Again the central theme is the same in this group of chapters – two women living extremely difficult lives. These chapters focused on Sera’s early marriage and Bhima’s disdain for focusing and dwelling on the past. Perhaps she has decided there is no room in her heart to focus on what might have been. Take a look at what I had to say about Chapters 1 – 5, Chapters 6 – 8, and Chapters 9 13 .

read-along-2

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Chapters 14 – 16

From Sam: How much does Freddy know about Sera and Feroz’s relationship? It’s obvious he knows that Banu is making life hard for Sera, but does he know Feroz is abusive? In light of his offer to give her a separate apartment, what do you think their relationship is like?

I think Freddy has to know about the abuse. I assume the apartment they occupy together isn’t that big, and if Banu can sneer at Sera the next morning after a beating I’m sure she hears what is going on between the walls and that must mean Freddy can too. I really like Freddy, but I think this is an obvious fault of his. He has let his wife dominate the relationship all these years, and now he’s watching his son continue down the same path as his mother without saying a word. It makes me a little angry that he can let this go on and give them a separate apartment so he can pretend it isn’t happening. Not having a lot of background information on the culture, it could be that no one meddles in anyone else’s business no matter what. You can’t fight tradition, as Sera and Bhima would say, and maybe that is why Freddy stays quiet too.

From Claudia: I have really been considering Viraf’s role in Sera & Dinaz’s lives. We know that Viraf & Dinaz both agreed to move into Sera’s house to keep her company, but I am often left wondering how this choice has affected Viraf in a strict male dominating society. Tradition shows that a wife is expected to move in with her husband’s family. Do you believe Viraf is truly content with the decision he agreed to? Do you sense a bitter tone in his sarcastic remarks or is it just me? 

I haven’t picked up on this yet, but you raise a very interesting point. I guess I took Viraf’s sarcasm at face value, seeing that as part of his charm. Umrigar has portrayed him in a positive light, he seems to value both the women, shows kindness and love to them. But he hasn’t come across as a pushover to me, nor has Dinaz come across as a pusher, so I don’t sense that Dinaz made the decision without his input. But bringing up the point that it is uncustomary for them to live with her is a new way to look at it. Maybe it is a sign that the younger generation isn’t as concerned about holding on to traditions. They do what’s best or what’s right and don’t think twice about it regardless of what the previous generations did. This is a great contrast to Sera and Bhima whose lives were held back in many ways because of those traditions, in a time when no one went against them. I like the irony of it.

Also from Claudia: What if Feroz was also mentally abused by Banu? What if as a child, she instilled these false and absurd idealisms that shaped who he later grew up to be? What if, after facing the world on his own, he later came to realize that his framework of the world and society was faulty, and thus he lived with frustration, resentment, disgruntlement, failure, etc? I further sensed that with living under the same roof with both his mother and wife, the need to fill and live out the role of son and husband was both challenging and aggravating on his part; thus, he released his frustrations on Sera through physical, emotional, and mental abuse. 

No, you’re not crazy for thinking this, Claudia! But no, I have no compassion for the man! Banu was a manipulative and controlling woman and I am positive she treated her son with the same disdain while he was growing up. This obviously brings up the ideas of nurture vs. nature. Did her evilness shape who he became? Absolutely. Is that his fault? Absolutely not. But as an adult, he had the choice to either continue down that destructive road or to fight like heck against it. It takes a lot, a lot, a lot of work and courage to  keep from repeating the broken and unhealthy patterns we experienced while growing up, but it’s possible. Feroz showed a little remorse in the beginning but then appears to have never given it another thought. He knew what he was going was wrong, yet he made no attempt to fight against his natural instinct.

Our musing topic for the week was proposed by Sam: I want to discuss traditions. Sera is living with her in-laws because it’s a tradition even though it’s making her miserable. Bhima sits on the floor at Sera’s house because it’s a tradition [for servants] to not sit in a chair. What traditions have played a role in the lives of these women? Are there any they have broken and what is the result?

Sera has definitely broken the tradition of keeping servants as servants and not has friends or members of the family. A few different people have criticized her for the way she treats Bhima so it’s certain that she is out of the norm in that regard. The result of that is more people to care for and love in her life, which is both a blessing and a burden at times. Sera expressed irritation at having to take care of Maya’s pregnancy and irritation at having to put up with Bhima’s tardiness, but she invited these people into her heart as friends and that caused all the lines to get blurred. While others would have fired Bhima for her tardiness, Sera continues to forgive her because of her love for her. Some traditions they were willing to go against, but other ones that impacted their marriages and the course of their life must have been too hard to go against.

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4 comments on “Read Along with Me: The Space Between Us #4

  1. Sam
    November 4, 2014

    I love how the word ‘tradition’ came up in your question answers and it was something I already knew you’d discuss at the end. Kudos! I’m on Claudia’s side that I do have some sympathy for Feroz, but I understand why you don’t. I guess I see Banu as the responsible one and Feroz as too weak to break the cycle, but not at fault completely for how things are playing out.

    • Claudia {SparrowHawk}
      November 5, 2014

      So then I’m not crazy because I am not alone in this? Yes! (Fist pumps)

      • Sam
        November 5, 2014

        My post comes out Thursday but here’s a spoiler: I agree with you. 🙂

  2. Claudia {SparrowHawk}
    November 5, 2014

    Ew, was it just me or did you find Sera’s friend Aban a bit, bothersome and imposing? You should have seen my face, apparently I was shaking my head quite a bit and grunting pretty loud (according to my hubby) ha ha!

    I love how level-headed and composed Sera stood during the reproach she received from Aban. She’s incredibly graceful and full of elegance, I admire her so much.

    I agree that Feroz should have shown enough manhood to set his pride and traditional mindset aside, and embraced his love for Sera. I am curious to know if during his last days, he eventually apologized for his actions.

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2014 by in Book Review and tagged , , , .

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