Parizaad is a different kinda book. As in, it was never in my TBR so I am going to structure the review a little differently. There will be no sections, just me ranting about the plot, the characters and Hashim Nadeem’s writing style all in one.
There may be a few spoilers. If you intend to read the novel; stop here, go away and read other stuff, like my books.
Parizaad’s Characters (roughly in the order they are introduced)
- Naheed Mirza
- Lubna aka Shehpara Begum
- Seth Abid
- Ustad Mastana
- Behzad Kareem
- Feroz Khan
- Laila Saba
- Kabeer Khan
- Seth Rehman
- Qurat Ul Ain
- Ustad Banne Khan
Plot Summary & Review & Everything Else
Parizaad, our protagonist is born with unfortune circumstances – a poor family of eleven people and darkened skin. We all know how obsessed with fair skin. Parizaad isn’t fair-skinned, but then his name, which means son of a fairy, is a stark contrast. Fairies, by stereotype would imply that the person is fair and beautiful, right.
Naheed: Parizaad’s first crush
These biases are deeply rooted in us, as a society and as an individual. Parizaad faces a lot of humiliation while growing up. But, the first big blow comes when he likes a girl in the neighbourhood – Naheed. Her parents ask Parizaad for a tuition. Despite liking his student, he keeps his gaze lowered and his feelings buried deep inside. Naheed uses him to her benefit. When things are out in the open, neither Naheed nor her beau Majid feel sorry for their acts.
“Nobody would have believed that a girl would fall for you,” Neheed says.
Parizaad learns that no girl will ever fall for him.
Lubna: Parizaad’s second crush
In college, Parizaad meets the first person who treats him well. Nasaaz, a budding poet who not only treats Parizaad as a person, just the way every person should be treated, but also tutors him to be a poet. Parizaad gains some fame and some respect, but people still do humiliate him for his looks. That’s when he runs into Lubna, a student who plays the heroine in Parizaad’s Urdu translation of Othelo. She’s nice, but she is married off to a rich man Seth Abid.
Her mother tells Parizaad: “You should always have money in your pocket if you want something.”
Parizaad begins looking for a job, any job that would pay him so he could give money to his greedy family. He works at a workshop. Luckily, the owner Ustad Mastana is a guy with keen interest in poetry and they get along well. Mastana also helps Parizaad to get to Dubai. Of course, to raise money for visa etc, Parizaad sells his poetry to Seth Abid. Tch!
Laila Saba: Parizaad’s third crush (internation, wink wink)
Now, Parizaad is in Dubai and he lives with Mastana’s acquaintance Rafeeq. He starts working for a hotshot Behroz Ibrahim, a rich and powerful Indian man involved with some legal and illegal businesses. Behroz tests Parizaad by torturing him but Parizaad passes the test with flying colours.
Behroz puts Parizaad as a bodyguard for his Turkish wife Laila Saba. Laila affects Parizaad just like other women in the past. He is willing to take all the blame for her escapades with her boyfriend Waleed, but Behroz knows better. He recognizes the goodness in Parizaad.
Behroz He also asks Feroz his right hand man to kill Saba and Waleed both. Arab police captures Behroz and Feroz and let’s Parizaad go. Before capital punishment, Behroz leaves his monies to Parizaad and Feroz asks Parizaad to go back to Pakistan and ask his brother kabeer Khan to work for him.
Back to Pakistan
Now, Parizaad is a rich and powerful man so others try to get benefits from him. When he visits his old mohalla, he runs into Mirza and naheed. Naheed is nothing like the beauty she once was and Majid is still unapologetic. Parizaad also meets
Parizaad is invited to many social gatherings. In one such party, he meets Shehpara Begum aka Lubna. She is now am actress and Seth Rehman. He offers to produce the movie for Lubna and also free her from Seth Rehman. What a noble man!
While making the movie, he also meets the musicians Ustad Banne Khan (such a typical name) and his singer daughter Sumbul. Sumbul and Ustad Banne take Parizaad to introduce to the ailing poet in their neighborhood. Guess who that poet is? Nasaaz, and the name is now so fitting.
Qurat-ul-Ain: The girl who makes Parizaad go “Ishq Hai…”
Parizaad meets another woman Quratul Ain who admires his poetry, a student at the same university. This time, Parizaad is in love, for real. When he learns that Aini can’t see, he sees their union as perfect match. He even plans to do a plastic surgery so Aini can see him as a handsome man.
Because Aini’s cousin Adnan also loves Aini.
For the first time we see Parizaad even think of something evil. But things stop just in time. Aini and Adnan take off for Aini’seye surgery and Parizaad takes off to wander about.
Parizaad: the wanderer
He meets Faqeera the gorkun and works with him in the graveyard. He spends some time at the station where people mistake him for some Sufi. Bothered by people coming to him for prayers he leaves to another village.
As it happens, whatever people seek from him (shirk, maazallah) Parizaad prayers are answered.
Parizaad isn’t eating well or keeping well. His health is deteriorating. He comes back to the station, now weaker and sicker. The new station master Aijaz tells him the story of her daughter who was married to a not-so-good-looking man who suffered from inferiority complex just like Parizaad. The result? A divorce.
One day, a girl with spectacles comes to seek Parizaad dua for someone she is searching for.
Yep, it’s Aini.
As it turns out Kamali had told them the truth about Parizaad’s true feelings for Aini and even Adnan understands that.
But it’s too late.
Alright, so that covers the story in broad strokes. Now that you know Parizaad’s story in summary, let’s move on.
Now, how do I feel about it?
I like how the plot progresses. Every girl Parizaad meets and like, becomes a stepping stone in his life. The heartache is always followed by a warm incident in which Parizaad finds another genuine friend – Nasaaz, Ustad and Feroze to name a few.
The story spirals out and takes a new direction and introduces new characters. It reminded me of Khuda ki Basti and Jangloos. At times, I felt that some of those events didn’t even contrinbute to the main plot. It seemed like randomly strewen about individual stories.
The narration was more literary than literal, though. Things happen fast and the narration is laced with quotable lines. There are so many that I didn’t even take a screenshot to share. Some good writing there but I don’t like this style of writing.
Parizaad character graph remains constant throughout the story. He has suffered a lot though hardships but he was always a noble man. Only once was he tempted to do wrong. Every person who has any positive influence in his life, he tries to repay them in kind, coz dude got shitload of money.
This book reminds me of a story my nephew used to tell. There was a young boy and he lived with his aunt. One day, his aunt went out to get some essentials, and she died. A couple saw her on the road. They went to check on her. The man died. The woman looked around for help. She called an elderly policeman for help. By the time the policeman arrived, the woman died.
It also reminds me of another story. Every time I tell the above story (where everybody dies), he tells me that I should watch final destination and that similar things happen in the movie. I am not going to watch it because he claims that my paranoia will shoot through the roof if I do. Also, everyone dies
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Remember in prayers.