The Uncommon Memories of Zeenat Qureishi is a set of twists weaved in a love story. Veena Nagpal got several things right in the books.
|Book Title||:||The Uncommon Memories of Zeenat Qureishi|
|Publisher||:||Tara India Research Press 1st edition (3 February 2014)|
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We clearly see her in-depth study of Muslim rituals, holy literature and customs. She seems to be aware with a lot of stuff happening around the world and tried to weave them together in a single time frame to provide thrilling experience to the reader, where she succeed at parts.
Starting from the train blasts in London, the story moves ahead with the effects of those blasts on various Muslim families living there. A large number of them are started being watched and seen with the eyes of doubts. There are some of them might be associated with the wrongdoings but the entire community is getting the worst after effects of such brutal incidents. Zeenat, a young girl belongs to one such family, thus need to relocate to India (at least for some time). She happened to have some memories haunt her. She often found uttering something which doesn’t make sense; all in her early childhood and now she seems to get out of that mental condition. But, the recent blast have changed the things again for her!
In India she develop feelings for Ajay Mehra, her neighbor and family friend since many generations. Their grandfather were used to live like brothers. And they have the identical (twin) houses as well! Something went wrong and the relationship between the families are sour now. Thus intimacy between Ajay and Zeenat is unwelcomed in both their families. (Did you notice the first name starts with the first letter or alphabet and the second name with the last alphabet). There are some people though, which seems happy with this reuniting relationship. They were moving ahead in their relationships without worrying much about the surroundings and one day one major thing happened.
The Babri Musjid demolition took place, and Ajay was there to cover the incident as the TV channel reporter. Zeenat and her family consider him as one of the participants in demolition act, and the world goes upside down for them.
There come a twist where we hear Zeenat saying something we don’t expect her to. Also her cousins who live in Chashmaa are involved somehow in terror activities. Zeenat somehow got disappeared (she went to Chashmaa) and Ajay and his family is informed that she is back to England! What will happen now? Will Zeenat and Ajay be united again? Does their love converted into hate now? What was (or were) the past life event(s) Zeenat is possessed by? There seems to be a lot of suspense tracks moving together. The rest of the book opens them one by one.
The writer should be appreciated for the courage she shown to choose the topic. And she went ahead by mentioning several controversial stuffs without hesitation. Sometimes giving words to the thoughts and expressing feelings, can less the sourness of the same at various extent. A lot of incidents seems taken from different time segments and tried put together. So it is a fusion of tales from various times in a single time threshold. It works in both (in favor, and against) the interest of the story.
The brotherly relationship between a Hindu and a Muslim family and its transformation to bitterness due to various incidents like partition, terror acts, communal riots, changing economic situations, family value problems and other facts; is explored well.
Some descriptions seems lengthy and you start moving pages. Some incidents are gripping as well. The book actually presents some unspoken thoughts running in the minds of various communities bluntly. The ties to the extremists are harmful to the society overall. But one must remember that when living together everyone should have tried to be compatible to the other. The background story of Chashmaa devi have its own significance as well. The political aspects are also weaved intelligently.
Just remember this is not the light and entertaining story. Also it is not for the minors. It is heavy story and you have to read it with open mind. If you like those kind of literature you can go ahead with the book. And remember not to come to conclusion till the last chapter. To avoid spoiler what we can say is “love is better than hate by all means – does real life follow this ideal path?”.
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