“But it is not an easy happiness. It is not a happiness without a cost.”

A Thousand Splendid Suns (page 380) Khaled Hosseini


This quotation is found towards the end of A Thousand Splendid Suns after Laila has left Afghanistan with her children and Tariq. She is reflecting on how her life has changed with her relocation, especially without Mariam. In my interpretation of the quotation, the happiness that she has gained from her move is one of safety and security. This life that she now lives is a result of the sacrifice that Mariam made for her. Having confessed to killing their husband Rasheed, she gave Laila and her children the opportunity to leave Kabul in the pursuit of a better life. This can also be seen as the way Mariam went after her own happiness even if it came at the “cost” of her own life. She wished for nothing more than to protect the people that brought her happiness – however long it had been for.



Happiness is an abstract concept that can be described as a feeling of pleasure or contentment. Though it differs for every individual, it is an internal feeling that can be identified by each person. Easy refers to something attained without any great effort. When considering Laila’s life, one can attribute an “easy happiness” to her past – specifically her childhood with Tariq. It seemed that it came to them without any complications or requirements when in comparison to later in her life. With all the new developments in her young adult life, the way that she felt content has changed and the way she achieved this feeling now reflects this. The word cost and its usage in this quotation really set the tone. The cacophony of “cost” comes rather abruptly at the end of this line and really draws attention to it. It means an effort or sacrifice that is necessary in order to obtain something. Even using a synonym of the word, like price, fails to encapture the intense emotions that surround this event and time in her life. And with reference to the novel, it is Mariam’s sacrifice of her life that has allowed Laila and her family to live this new life.



This quote, rather than inspire thought directly to my experiences, drew my attention to my own personal values and beliefs. All in all, I would consider happiness one of the greatest factors I consider when I am making any sort of decision. Whether that be in regards to academics or personal life, the choice I end up making has some roots in how it will make me feel. This quotation brought up the ideas of different types of happiness which I didn’t really consider before this. A happiness with “cost” that is implied in regards to Laila’s situation, rather than holding negative feelings because of the negative connotation of the word “cost,” seemed to me normal and more special than an “easy happiness.” I, with my past experiences, would instead use the word trade because I haven’t had someone make a sacrifice as great as Mariam’s. Most things that I value in my life – like happiness – I have always put some form of effort into it; this doesn’t mean putting myself in danger’s way, but in smaller ways like spending time doing something I enjoy. Ultimately, I know choosing to pursue a contentment is important for me because it doesn’t feel like something that just happens without work. For me, it is important to put in effort because that is how I know that what I am doing is worth something and happiness is worth something to me.

With context, this came up (and comes up) recently because of this class, AP English. I never really considered pursuing a career that includes English because I have always felt that math and science came more easily for me, but this class gives me a happiness that I am willing to work for. The “cost” may be my social life or all my energy, but it is something that gives me so much joy because I get to sit and learn from people who wish to develop themselves and those around them. Even if the entirety of the semester is consumed with stress about having to come to this advanced course, they all fade away when I find my place in this group of truly amazing students. The happiness I get from this class comes as a sense of belonging that far outweighs the effort I must put in.




the first time I saw you
I was drawn to your dark hair and sharp eyes,
your laugh traveled across the room
and I followed it with my own.
it was the definition of happiness.

you put me in a trance and brought me out,
you said hello and it began;
a simple interaction that made my heart wake
and my mouth form the smile that didn’t leave for months.

we talked for a moment.
it was cut short by the devil by the name of time,
but with it came a promise of another meeting.

happy, that’s what it was, 
inexplicable and incredible.

it was casual and calm initially.
we were learning
about ourselves and one another,

but with each moment that we spent together,
our hearts grew connected with each line we spoke.
we spun a web of emotion that grew intricate with each meeting
and it slowly took over my being.

it was the most lovely thing:
being together and knowing we were together,
no longer a grey area of intention without action;
we fell into each other
much like how the sun falls to the earth every night.

happy, that’s what it was, 
blissful and beautiful.

months went and that’s how it remained,
we lived in a world that resembled a world of dreams.
peace and calm, that to us seemed so easy,
the world should follow our example
because good came to us without difficulty.

but the devil came again it seemed.
he told us our time was up,
and the strings between our hearts began to tangle.
you started coming home late at night
and never met my eye or answered my questions.
nothing, not even a word.

I became restless and would wait for you to come back
and when you would spend the entire night out,
my heart would beat far differently than it did before.

but the days you did come,
I would breathe a sigh of relief, 
and my eyes and my mind would finally close.

happy, that’s what it was,
enigmatic and erratic.

and even those days began to fade,
and I chose to lie on the bed alone;
sleep came some nights but evaded most.

slowly your life outside of me
became your only life,
I wasn’t in your mind;
maybe I existed as an afterthought that didn’t come

and with that, you left
your throne in this home,
and you took some of my strings along
and the only regret I have:
I wish I had listened to the devil
his warning would have served me well.

happy, that is what it was,

and temporary


I am really fascinated with how people fall out of love and how this emotion that seems to be at the core of their being can be lost. I decided to play with the role of happiness in this piece by showing how the narrator’s definition of happiness began changing because of her experiences with this person. It shows this transition from when they first met to when “you” left which changes the narrator’s attitude and mindset on what their time together meant.


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2 thoughts on “evolution.

  1. Dearest Nimrat,

    Let me start of by saying congratulations on completing your first AP blog! Though it might not seem like anything major yet, I’m sure you’ll come back to this at the end of grade 12 and realize just how much you’ve changed since the beginning. Despite the self-critical nature of us AP students (it’s a common affliction, as you’ve already seen by now), I hope you’ll be able to look back on this piece with pride – it is truly wonderful.

    This blog exemplifies all the things I love about your style; you communicate your ideas so clearly and so cleanly that I can naturally fall into the flow and understand the gist of what you are saying. This was especially evident in the matter portion of your blog; your love of this class is conveyed so whole-heartedly that even my icy heart may have thawed momentarily (this is the highest of compliments, I’ll have you know) because of your earnest words. I also really enjoyed your interpretation of the ideas of “cost” and “happiness” in your emulation; I’ve never really thought of cost being the distinction between an easy happiness and a “higher” happiness, but after reading this, I think you are right. When we sacrifice something, we also increase the value of that which we sacrificed for. It’s a little scary to think about, really; the idea that we make ourselves vulnerable by becoming invested like this.

    Futhermore, I especially adore the lines “happy, that’s what it was, /enigmatic and erratic.” I think in many ways I thought of happiness rooted in passion being “inconsistent”, but never had that perfect alliteration to describe it. Thank you for this!

    I only have one two recommendations for you – the first is to perhaps consider including another image in your blog. Though not always necessary, I find it can be useful for separating ideas and emphasizing points, and I would be really interested to see what kind of image you would use with your emulation, considering all the imagery in it. My second recommendation would be to consider elaborating a bit more on your explanation of your emulation. I’d be really interested to know why you chose the specific imagery you did. Those are just some selfish little requests, however, so don’t think too much of them.

    Let me fisish off by saying that though I have only known you for a little while, you have continued to astonish me with the beauty of your voice and the depth of you insights. You are a truly amazing person, and I am extremely grateful to have you in my family group. It is an honour to be a part of your journey – I can’t wait to see what you write next!


    1. Tarannum!

      I have never felt so accomplished, thawing your icy heart even for a short moment is an achievement! Thank you so very much for your kind words on the communication of my ideas because my mind was so scattered trying to make sense of this quote; I didn’t want to be the only person who was able to understand. Your validation means the world.

      I will definitely consider finding an image for this emulation, it will be kept as a thought as I surf the waves of the internet but a thought nonetheless. I always find myself spending more time than necessary on a “good” image and I didn’t want to submit the assignment late (unlike these comments oops). And the basis of my emulation, I wouldn’t know where to start. I find that once I have a sort of idea that I find works I will just write and it will end up flowing; the whole strings and alliterations sort of found their place within the piece without much assistance and I don’t know where in the dark depths of my mind they came from – perhaps for the best. But it was more trial and error that sounded right than being inspired from the get-go.

      Thank you once again for taking the time to read and comment, I am excited to learn and experience this class with you. Take me under your wing so that one day I too will be able to fly.


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