38 Bahadurabad

by Zeeba Sadiq

Read this in about 3 minutes

Well, what do I say! In a an awfully funny and equally ridiculous instance in my life, I decided to pick up this book. Hear me out.

One day, not so long ago, I was going through the archive list on my blog and realised that a number of letters towards the end had no books listed below them. It felt unjustified and I immediately decided that I need to start filling these up.

I decided to pick up my next reads by the first name of the authors starting from Z going backwards. Completely disinterested in reading from my Kindle, I picked up this tiny book from my shelf. The author, Zeeba Sadiq, now finds a place in my archives under ‘Z’. As for the book itself, I am not very pleased.

Cover: 38 Bahadurabad

Cover

The cover which is otherwise meant as an artwork, just looks like a sloppy design as a whole. It is dull and amateurish. The font does no good to the artwork either. I picked up the book on a whim to which cover had no part to play.

Characters

It is the story of the author. Zeeba has a happy family, her father being the epicentre of it. Dr Sadiq is a well-educated liberal man. ‘He had no stomach for war, especially a war between his adopted country and country of his birth…’. He is married to Zeeba’s mother who is a little silly but made of sterner stuff than Zeeba. The grandmother is the one Zeeba is most attached to. They have a happy small family with its own distant past, dirty laundry and some cosy moments.

Content

The book is about this little girl Zeeba and her life in Pakistan in the 1960s. Zeeba belongs to a reasonably privileged family. This book is her account of the life she led there before her father died. She recollects all the small funny incidences that made her life.

The incidences are funny and cute, but somehow, gets monotonous after three chapters. These are barely funny towards the end. The thrill dies away when the secrets of the family are slowly taken off as peels. There is nothing to look forward to after a certain time, and even when there is something interesting, you do not find yourself caring. Story of Laxmi falls flat completely. As excited as I was to be reading another Pakistani author, this book just disappointed me throughout. I just kept at it waiting for something to turn around but it died midway and refused to resurrect.

Language

The content does not disappoint you as much as the language does. The writing is dull. Laxmi’s story is uninteresting. It lacks the authenticity that should come with the writing about native. Some of the sentences are direct translations from Hindi/Urdu for example ‘Zeeba! My heart, my liver, my child’. The language throughout is monotone. There are no troughs and crests in the book, and that’s made worse by the writing.

Good points

If I had to pick something, I would say the setting. The book is based in an Asian country and I would have loved to know more about it but it did not come through very well.

Bad points

Everything else. The cover is dull. The characters are interesting but somehow do not hold the attention very long. Too many names to remember too. The content is boring. The language is monotonous. It was a waste of time; the entire book.

Overall

I did not like the book at all. It shattered my impression that all the Pakistani origin writers write well. I think I just read a few great ones before; it is not a rule.

Whom do I recommend this to

No one. Absolutely no one.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com