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Author Andaleeb Wajid On What Shaped Her Writing And The Need To Be Vocal About Issues Muslims Are Facing

  • IWB Post
  •  August 12, 2019

Andaleeb Wajid is a Bangalore-based writer who has published 19 novels, written on topics like food, relationships, and weddings that represent the Muslim community in India.

Her first book, Kite Strings, was released in August 2009, which was followed by Blinkers Off, My Brother’s WeddingMore Than Just Biryani, and No Time For Goodbyes, to name a fewJoining the list of books is her most recent work, Twenty-nine going on Thirty, which is about four friends who are brought together by family drama, boy trouble, and their fast approaching 30th birthdays.

Named after an Urdu Novel Andaleeb, Andaleeb found different worlds within books and enjoyed the glimpses that she got into various lives. Having grown up in her grandparents’ house in Vellore, which was a treasure trove of books, Andaleeb shared with She The People how that time shaped her reading and writing.

“We spent some of our summer vacations there, under the cool tiled roofs, flipping through comics mostly. I read several Phantom, Mandrake and Richie Rich comics there. Reading books there was not very easy because they were often hardbound books which didn’t give much clue about the content and it wasn’t easy for me to pick up one of those and spend time with those books. There were so many books there! In Urdu, in English, dusty books with silverfish crawling away rapidly from some of the pages. As a child, it seemed that there was a lifetime hidden in those books.”

Andaleeb got married at the age of 19 and she once mentioned that she found it liberating. Talking about how marriage and motherhood have contributed to her journey as a writer, Andaleeb shared, “Getting married at 19 wasn’t liberating as such and it’s not something I recommend to anyone! The liberation I mention here is that there is much more allowance for a married woman to do certain things than there is for an unmarried woman especially in my society. More than marriage, I would say the family I married into gave me the freedom to be myself. Motherhood gave me a respect for time. Time was no longer my own and I was bound to another now. When my son was born, I was pretty sure this was the end of my life as I knew it. But I was only 20 then and obviously, it was all very overwhelming and scary. But as the years passed, I learned that being a mother was not my only identity and I had to make one for myself outside of it.”

It was at the age of seven when Andaleeb realised that she wanted to write, but being a full-time writer isn’t easy, she shared. “Currently, this is the third time I’m trying it and I’m hoping third time’s the charm. The first time I gave up my job to write because I felt I couldn’t do both together. The second time, I had a better understanding of my ability as a writer and as someone who held a job. Right now, I’m doing some odd jobs for content writing but my heart is in writing stories, full time, so planning to plunge into it again but with a better plan.”

Andaleeb’s books have stories with a Muslim milieu and characters, and when asked if writers today need to be vocal about the issues that Muslims are facing, Andaleeb shared, “A majority of my books do have a Muslim setting, simply because it makes the writing easier for me. I feel that my stories which are set in Muslim households are already doing the job of presenting Muslim lives as they are to the world at large. I’m showcasing the very normal lives of Muslim people as they go about doing their work. Unfortunately, in a world where othering is common, normalising day to day lives is actually something that needs to be done.”

H/T: She The People 

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