A novel depicts changing times in Kashmir
Noted urdu writer-poet Tarannum Riyaz intertwines several narratives to reflect on women’s freedom, social mores, family intrigues, problems and the human condition in her novel “Barf Aashna Parindey”, which is about a Kashmiri Muslim family and has been translated into English.
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Titled ‘Birds of the Snows’ in English, the book traces the journey of Chowdhury Najab Khan’s family and revolves around Sheba, their youngest daughter who struggles to chart a path for herself. He follows her childhood years to adulthood.
Khan, his wife Suraya Begum and their three daughters Faheema, Farkhanda, Sheba and their extended parents tell the saga of their lives through Sheba’s eyes. The novel is about Sheba’s memories of her family, loved ones, and college life.
The social and cultural life of a wealthy class Kashmiri family was portrayed through the characters of the story and the beautiful landscape of Kashmir picturesquely captured through the poetic eyes of the author.
Overall, the book depicts the changing times in Kashmir, the interactions between the rural and the urban, as well as how a curator Cashmere A Muslim girl navigates life.
Sheba’s college years with her friend Mayuri and Professor Daanish are also an important part of the narrative. While in college, Sheba and her classmates take on the role of caregiver to look after her sick teacher.
She continues to take care of him alone while her classmates look for professional and personal projects. The novel, published by Thornbird publisher of Niyogi Books, depicts her compassion and resolve as well as her search for self-realization.
Riyaz, born and educated in Srinagar, is the author of over 20 books of fiction, criticism and poetry. She died during covid.