Have you ever had to move to a whole new country and adapt to their culture or even made and career change that was a whole different work day? Adapting to a new culture and new traditions for anyone requires learning and adapting to new rules and norms. Dealing with this kind of change come with new lessons and new understanding of life and new perspectives. Individuals have to learn from scratch and learn the new culture.
This is not always an easy process to go through.
In the story “Rawalpindi 1919” Sardarni Sahib , a mother and wife form Rawalpindi, India, ponders her sons departure and return as he leaves for three years to study in “Vilayat, the white peoples country” while making her family chapattis.
Chapattis are very symbolic and are one of the major staple foods in Indian culture so its no wonder the author chose to use making of the chapattis to symbolically express the nurturing, shaping and culture change the son will endure while he studies abroad.
The whole story is told through making the chapattis.
First off symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities, by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense.Symbolism can take different forms. Generally, it is an object representing another, to give an entirely different meaning that is much deeper and more significant.
Sometimes, however, an action, an event or a word spoken by someone may have a symbolic value. For instance, “Chapattis” and the process in the story to make them is a symbol of growth and change. Just like say the Canadian flag, is a symbol of independence, and growth.
The process of preparing a chapatti starts in the third paragraph and symbolically conveys the troubles that one undergoes during the process of development. The story starts off with the mother making the Chapattis”It seems warmer than usual, she thought, as her fingers moulded and formed the dough, knuckling into it, brown soft hands suppling it, readying it as she made her sons ready.”(p9)
Like small dough, Sardarni gave birth to Sarup (her younger son) that was once a part of her own physical being as small dough was a part of large dough. He was raised with care and love as sardarni shapes the small dough. But a stage comes when he starts thinking and acting independently. Sardarni looks at the small dough and thinks that it can still be blended to the larger dough.
Sarup has developed habits different from his cultural roots. Unlike his father, Sarup does not mind shaking hands with Angrez (British). She thinks that he has not gone too far and can be blended back with his own origin as small dough can be merged with large dough.
Baldwin here uses the symbol of kneading that is a painstaking manual work but a sub-continental woman that is an expert in this process. So she is positive and confident that she can bring him back to his roots. She is feeling uneasy and anxiety for she is very attached to her traditions and culture and is not quite sure if she is ready for change. Traditionally the bond between mother and younger son is very strong Just as the flour and water bonding together to make a solid dough ball
‘It will be different in three years, she thought.”(p10) she thinks as the dough is now being rolled out thinner and thinner, larger and larger. Just like the chapati changing shape the son will be changing too while he is away. “But he would be thinner, with no woman to cook chapatis.”(p10)
Part of their culture they are accustomed to is the wife or mother will do all the cooking. His culture will change as he comes accustom to new traditions and new foods”He will not be eating food that he has been raised on and has no bride worthy of him yet. Sarup is more custom to rich food and chillies not “boiled eggs and bland food.”
Rolling the dough and then developing it into a “chapatti” is all marked with tough route that dough takes to get converted into chapatti. “She rolled the chapatti with a rolling pin, picked it up and deftly slapped it from one palm to another. Then whoosh-onto the tava over the coal fire.”(p10)
The author is implying that one can only be transformed into a chapatti, if he bakes himself in the fire of hard work and on the “tava””Tava” is an important symbolic tool that represents to darkness. It refers to initial dark days ahead for Sarup when he has to live with unfamiliar faces in unknown places. But as dough remains on “tava” for a small moment, so this unfamiliarity is instantaneous and he will come out successful person like the end-product “chapatti”.
By this time there would be no turning back for him. He would be already started his journey to learn. “She took the chapati off the tava. Quick, snatch the tava off the fire and replace it with the chapatti. Baldwin correlates success and achievements with strenuous effort.
She will quickly send her son off to the new city. “She watched as the chapatti rose into a hot-air-filled Dough balloon. Just at its peak she lifted it from the fire and set it on the ground on a steel thali to cool.” All of Sardarni’s anxiety and fears have been lifted just as the chapati is being lifted. She sees now that her son has ballooned up to a strong young man who can face this new challenge of culture change.
The author has told the whole story through making the Chapatti and it symbolically tell us how one can mold, shape, bake and roll in life and careful preparation can help endure a major change ahead.
Cite this essay
Life Changing Benefits of Living Abroad. (2019, Dec 08). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/life-changing-benefits-of-living-abroad-essay