Book Review: Love across borders


Stories of love, connection, and friendship that transcend the physical divide .

Compiled by Naheed Hassan and Sabahat Muhammad, the book contains tales of love, connections, and relationships across the Indian –pakistan border. Every story tugs at the heartstrings in one way or the other, and aims at reviving the days of that shared past, shared history and shared territory. The stories by the Indireads authors, aim for a better tomorrow bringing about a conscious effort to empathize with emotions and sensibilities of people on both sides of the great divide, and understand sentiments beyond the borders. Words here are aimed to create that vision, bring about a change- in both perceptions and perspectives.

One Stupid Commment’ by Shuchi Kalra and Sabahat Muhammad takes on a journey with Aryan and Jahaan in their world of post nuclear disaster. As a peace negotiation of their respective tribes goes on, fate has them abandoned in a desert with no way to return. They learn to trust each other, ignoring the fact that their tribes have been enemies over a century. But, will peace finally prevail?
Anjum’ by Andy Paula is a very warm tale about Vandana’s friendship with Anjum, and how Anjum by her simplicity and good nature broadens Vandana’s perspective of things, brings her out of her preset notions, and opens her up to be able to accept help from others and give in return. From ‘gupshups’ over ‘chai’ to parting for years together, to finally reuniting with their larger-than-before happy families, this is one must read tale on friendship, and is one of my favorite in the collection.
Dressed to Kill’ by Parul Tyagi takes us through the experience of two brides-to-be from either side of the border. When they try their dream wedding dresses, the custom made lehengas; the anticipation and excitement is the same for both, which goes on to be sheer joy for one and heartbreak for the other.
Best Friends Forever’ by Naheed Hassan and Shweta Ganesh Kumar narrates about a love of friends across the borders who lost contact with each other owing to family, transfers, and lack of proper means of communication. When Tara finds her once best friend Saira in Facebook, she is thrilled, but after exchanging some messages she realizes that things had changed. Separated by distances and so many other things, were they still the friends that they used to be? Or had time and fate affected it?
Read the complete review at Half Baked Voices.


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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