Book Review: How It Happened

When one becomes so filled with fear that one cannot breathe the free air that God gave us without cringing about the consequences, then to hell with the consequences! I say inhale with all your might!

51cPRYjwWALI’ll be honest; I started this book with ridiculously low expectations. I’m not one of those people who buy a mediocre book by a Pakistani writer and rave about it, just because it’s by someone from my country. Plus my past experience with books by desi authors has made me wary. I’m looking at you, Karachi you’re killing me and Half-Girlfriend!

I loved this book! Not only was it witty, relatable and hilarious; it left me with a smile on my face. How it happened is a ghareloo story that every desi girl who has reached right age will be able to relate to.

Have your relatives started making comments about how there’s a right age to get married?

Has your mother started setting things aside for your jahaiz wedding?

Have your phuppos started mentioning how much they want to hold your child in their arms?

Have your elders started guilt tripping you by statements like ‘humari zindagi mein shaadi karlo’’

If yes, then you should probably give this a read.

It’s the story of a Shia, Bandian family based in Karachi whose 80 year old matriarch Gulbahar bibi (Dadi) swears by the virtues of arranged marriage. A strict grandparent hell-bent on getting her grand-children married off into perfect Shia families, meets her match when the kids rebel and find matches for themselves. And to make it worse, her granddaughter Zeba commits the ultimate sin; she goes ahead and falls in love with a Sunni boy. One can only imagine the tears, fights and theatrics that follow. The author has managed to accurately narrate the theatrics and drama associated with arranged marriages and Pakistani weddings.

For me, the clear favorite is Dadi. Her hatred for all this love shove business perfectly represents the elders in our families, who ultimately want the best for their children but can’t help clinging to tradition. As demented and dramatic as she may seem, but by the end of it you’ll end up loving this old lady who’d do anything for her family.

Belonging to a Sunni family myself, where inter-sect marriages are frowned upon, this was a refreshing look at how youngsters feel torn between tradition and following their heart; and their struggle to take both along.

The book was witty and hilarious in its depiction of how most Pakistani households work. Kudos to the writer for being able to making the entire ordeal seem hilarious, relatable and genuine. If you’ve ever been stuck in the ‘drawing room meeting’ or are dreading the day, you’re going to love this. Happy reading!

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