“Enchantment” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Anna Badkhen‘s account of living in an Afghan village for a whole year. The book’s title itself is intriguing: “The world is a carpet: Four seasons in an Afghan village.” The world? and the carpet? How can you really equate the two? And yet, in Badkhen’s narrative you can do that very easily, since the family’s life revolves around weaving a beautiful carpet and selling it to the carpet dealers. There are many other beautifully woven stories that explain the comparison of the world to the carpet, but since I have not finished reading the book, this is perhaps not the place do discuss them.
Instead, I wanted to focus on one specific concept that so enchanted me: it’s the concept of appreciating mistakes. When a dealer looks at the carpet to estimate its value, he (it’s probably most likely a “he”), looks at the density of knots and yes, the imperfections of the carpet. The imperfections are the jewels that make the carpet unique or, as the author puts it, they’re the “diary” of the carpet maker’s (usually a woman’s) life. Perhaps someone came in while she was working on a particular flower pattern and, distracted, made too many flower petals; perhaps a baby was crying and she tied the knot too early; perhaps a knot was tied in haste as she had to attend to her other household chores.
Since the so-called imperfections are what makes the carpet unique, and since they are the records of someone’s life, could we accept the imperfections in our daily life? Of course, I’m not advocating sloppiness–that’s a whole different matter–but the full appreciation and acceptance of what we can and cannot do, think, believe, create. Perhaps it is the imperfections that make it possible to be perfect in other aspects of our being? Perhaps we need to procrastinate a little before writing an enlightening essay; perhaps we do need a break before we can take care of the house, the kids, the chores; perhaps we just need to be. And being is comprised of I’m/perfections, such is the nature of life, woven into the carpet of our world.
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