Book Review | HUMSAFAR | By Farhat Ishtiaq

A short review of this book was posted on Goodreads. This one is more detailed.

Note: This is based on my memory of the novel that I read several thousand years ago. If I misquote something, please forgive and comment; so I can correct it. Thanks!

Humsafar introduced me to Farhat Ishtiaq.

Umera Ahmed surprised me when I read her the first time in Abhi Toh Maat Baqi Hai by introducing one heroine who does not shy away from avenging when she or her family is wronged. Similarly, my first read of Farhat Ishtiaq, the novel under discussion, surprised me for a few reasons.

Heroine & Mathematics

In one scene, Ash’ar is struggling to calculate how much profit he’d make. He is on a phone call and cannot find the calculator. Khirad Ehsaan, our very own heroine calculates it for him; a multiplication by 2.5, no less. Needless to say, it impresses our hero, who until then, hated his wife.

This scene breaks the ice between them. But, there is more that this scene achieved.

It introduced me to a heroine who is good at studies. Correction, who is good at a dry subject like Mathematics. Earlier, every heroine, barring a few exceptions, would only do Fine Arts or Literature. There is nothing wrong with those majors. But why restrict women to literature and Fine Arts? Can’t she study Mathematics? Can’t she be interested in Economics like Aiman from Mere Humdum Mere Dost? Can’t she aim for business, do MBA like Sani in Thora Sa Aasman?

Yes, she can.

Heroine Puts Her Foot Down

Unlike usual reluctant-to-marry-to-head-over-heels-in-love, this one doesn’t literally does that. Ash’ar and Khirad come close, but Ash’ar’s mother poinsons their relationship. Khirad moves out; only to return when their daughter Hareem has a terminal disease. She does not hesitate to seek help for the treatment, because it is his child, too.

An Amazing Retelling of An Cliched Story

Ash’ar and Khirad are cousins who are forced into a marriage for sake of a dying parent. Ash’ar and his mother aren’t happy. Sounds familiar? We have read dozens of such stories and the couple eventually falls for each other.

On its surface, it is a cliched story. Right? Again, as I mention in my reviews; some writers take a cliched story and take it to a different level by their amazing story-telling skills. Farhat specializes in that.

And, Abundance of Romance

Farhat is the queen of romance. There is abundance of cute scenes between the lead couple making it a guilty pleasure read.

That’s my take on the novel  Comments?

Shabana Mukhtar

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