Written on the Wind
Author: Anuradha Kumar-Jain
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Written on the Wind is a poignant tale of desires, love, hope and courage. Revolving around the lives of two women who are very different from each other yet a victim of somewhat similar circumstances, this work of Literature is set in the pre-partition era when women were merely meant to cater to the needs of the menfolk in their family. Whether it was their husband or father or brother, the job of women was to listen and follow their instructions like a dutiful child. They knew that their life was a compromise with destiny and they seldom had the thought of toeing the line.
While the first part of the book describes the family dynamics in Harjeet’s house, the second part focuses on Amiya. Unhappily married, Harjeet is a woman with dreams, a woman who lives in a cloud-cuckoo-land hoping that one day, her husband would sweep her off her feet. But that is a far cry! It is then when she meets Haider and falls in love with him. On the other hand, we have Amiya who struggles to come to grips with the truth about her birth, her tumultuous marriage and her desire to stand on her own feet. What is beautiful about this book is the use of imagination to its best. Using small details like the expressions on the face, the decor on the walls, the description of the rickshaw, etc., the author aces the test of capturing the attention of the readers. Both her protagonists are relatable and their stories, too, are very common. The author deftly penetrates the invisible fabric of our flawed society that judges women at the drop of the hat. It is painful to read what the characters go through. While at one point you might agree with what Harjeet does, the very next moment, you might question your own perspective because you fear being judged or being treated as an outcast.
I liked the narration; it is fluid and taut. The description of Lahore is fabulous. The characters sound authentic and their dialogues are not sugar-coated with flowery language. What I disliked about this book are its font and type-setting. I couldn’t help but struggle to read because of the small font.
Overall, Written on the Wind is a story that will touch your heart. I would recommend this book to all the readers who like reading about the plight of the women during the pre-partition time. Some of the practices are still prevalent yet it is imperative to sensitize the audience about those issues so that required attention is given to the plight of the women in the family.
Best wishes to the author!
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