Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed

natasha ahmed

‘Butterfly Season’ by Natasha Ahmed is the story of Rumi- an unmarried Pakistani girl on a vacation to England, visiting her married younger sister Juveria, after dealing with her mother’s sickness for years and her eventual death. It is also the story of Ahad- handsome, charming, perfect Pakistani bachelor settled in England. When their mutual friend Mahira sets them up, they get along well without complain. But as likes match and getting to know each other the intimacies increase, Rumi’s conservative family, especially her sister closes in on them. Along the journey of over a couple of months, we follow Rumi and Ahad from England to Karachi, as they understand their values, their worth in each other’s lives. We see the love that transcends all differences as they make sense of their own mistakes, handle their present, and choose the happiness that they most rightfully deserve.

I liked the story, and empathized with the characters. Even though I disliked some of them, at the end I was left feeling nothing but pity for them. I’m more of a characters-oriented reader. The story may or may not remain with me, but the characters surely will. And Rumi- I saw her grow emotionally, take the reins of her destiny in her own hands, and be the captain of her own fate. I applauded when she took the steps to live her life in her own terms. This desi Pakistani girl is bound to win every reader’s heart.

This Indirom novella, published by Indireads gave me a second glimpse of the middle class Pakistani lifestyle, their beliefs, and the values that they stand by. The first glimpse was through the serials ‘Zindegi Gulzar Hai’, ‘Daastan’ and a few more. :) I liked the way the author infused the Pakistani feel through ghazals, urdu poetry, urdu quotes, idioms, fashion and pop culture. And time and again it reminded me of our shared roots, how similar we were in our sensibilities and ideologies. I should confess it removed certain assumed misconceptions too. I’ve already made a mental note to read ‘Dunia Gol Hai’ if a translated version is available as I can’t read Urdu, and to listen to the song “Kabhi Hum Khubsoorat Thay” -a ghazal written by Ahmed Shamim and performed by Nayyara Noor. And I realize I’m in the process of falling in love with Urdu.

‘Butterfly Season’ is only about 120 pages, so qualifies for a quick read. It has an indulging, engaging, yet easy going narrative that doesn’t become too descriptive even for an occasional reader. It is available as an ebook only. I received the ebook as a part of the Indireads Review Program.

Natasha Ahmed is a pen name. In real life, Natasha is a graphic designer, a sometimes-artist and occasionally writes art and book reviews for publications within Pakistan. She has dedicated a website to this character that she created.

Indireads was started with the aim to revolutionizing the popular fiction genre in South Asia. It showcases vibrant narratives that describe the lives, constraints, hopes and aspirations of modern South Asian men and women. Indireads’ books are written and customized for delivery in electronic format, and are only published online.


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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