A dreamy book!
Moshin lets the book sing out its story; it is melancholic and it is sweet. Draws you into the think of it with the first few lines, like the first strains of a rock ballad, which promises to deliver an opera’s cringing cries, sighs and crescendos of joy and cheer, tears and goes on and delivers. Oh, and just like that Moshin takes you on a sweet ride as if on Cat Stevens’ gentle moon into its shadows.
It’s the story of Nadia and Saeed which begins in civil war torn city. They fall in love: it’s innocent, it’s beautiful, it’s liberating as they find strength in each other, even as the world they lived in starts to fall apart around them. There is hope, as they discover doors that liberate them from the strife that’s ebbing out life around them. Each door is a little more freeing than where they were at. Each time paying for freedom with the aching vacuums of a longing for home.
Saeed is as good man as can be in a story that is equally female. He is the male who doesn’t always state his thoughts. He is a quintessential today’s urban man, so in some very generally-speak, and so is Nadia a modern urban woman. She wears a hijab because she wants to, it is has nothing to do with her faith, but she keeps it on even as she walks the bold strides to exploring the new modern world, and into her walk of freedom. Oh, yes freedom! It’s a walk one as we have all learnt a walk for life; as like most state of idealism, the dynamic and being alive and conscious is the only answer we got thus far, definitely no destination to park at. Or as Zakir Hussain said in a recent interview, the journey continues, looking for the best, and I hope I will never find it.
The pangs of longing, the fear of losing and loss itself, and reaching the unknown and the comfort of the other in journeys are beginning to draw their own roads. Moshin, like all good authors am sure draws from deep within, and the lyricism comes from the lovely notes he strikes dripping into melancholy but almost never into the abyss of sadness or hopelessness. There are doors, of perception and of new light and life.
Ah! Don’t we long for happy ending and do we get it? Of course there are many moments of great happiness that come along on life’s tunnels and crevices and never so in the pursuit of that very end.
A story of love and loss told with such restraint that is throbs with the force from within. Of course Moshin is the same one who wrote that brilliant book which was a lovely film too ‘the reluctant fundamentalist’.
Will Saeed and Nadia live happily ever after is not even a question I asked even as the love story began to bloom and find laughter in soothing whiff of spliffs. Saeed doesn’t say much almost even quite content letting Nadia set the pace of the turns and moves in their relationship. The guilt, and then the freedom from it, and the relief in the spaces you behold from the walls that crumble which you hid behind all along, and behold horizons unlimited. I also did feel the tug at familiarity and what might seem like an answer does become what it really is: a good question towards the path to an answer. I did already say it: was dreamy. The tale is as real as our dreams and as nightmarish as our real sometimes. But the bitter sweet is a lovely narrative. Do you fall out of love and do doors that open also shut out the spaces you walked out of? Well, if we have grappled and then let time throw you answers you will find the paths we walk could be as familiar and still completely unique to the self. Does Moshin attempt to reach for the soul? Do we ever reach to know that invisible? I don’t think he set out to do that… but he does reach and takes the reader through pastures of delight and celebration, of broken lives and unsung songs. The journey of the book does refresh your journey on.
There is another question we hear every so often in these days of short-term relationships. Where it’s not doors we walk into together but often without the other, is that a path towards evolving, or are we going back to the caves to learn all over again? When we call ourselves gregarious, it does include that we can’t really just break off from the stem we leached on, we carry the blood on into our journey on.
Further personal notes: lately, I have enjoyed reading the authors writing in English from Pakistan. It perhaps has to do with the feeling of foreign we have grown into in an urban city, even in the city of your birth and residence? do we belong anywhere anymore? What is this longing for homeland? It’s perhaps the gray we walk unconsciously through in the rampant material world that starts to speak in the lyricism of these authors… Moshin hits it true… so when I am not hunting for a book of Murakami in the library, I haven’t yet read, I find reward closer home; in the writings of authors of our neighbor inhabiting the subcontinent, most also residing out of there.