Love in a Headscarf


Author: Shelina Zahra Janmohamed
Publisher: Amaryllis
(Pp 288, Rs 295)

‘Love In A Headscarf’ is one of the finest non-fictions I have ever read. It is being the ‘best’ to me because I am fascinated by the grand storytelling technique of the author—a beautiful Muslim lady who lives in North London, knows every norm of high (western) society, grew up with romantic fantasy of John Travolta would come someday to propose her… everything under her pink headscarf. Though I am not the kind who judges a book by its cover, this Indian edition having a pink cover, neon blue embossed fonts didn’t attract me at the first place. But it was the first few lines in the author’s introductory note that dragged me into the whole eight chapters of the book without a wink of boredom.

The book is a first-hand report of the journey of Shelina—the author, the protagonist—looking for a right kind of guy who would match her, a well-qualified and straight forward British Muslim woman of Asian origin. This book is a bold attempt to reveal the reality of all odds sprouted against the civilization-old traditions in this so-called modern era or the 21st century, particularly in the Muslim society.

One day Shelina found it quite hilarious when an Asian radio aired a programme on mothers looking for someone who’s is 18, fair, homely, from a good family for their sons. But in her early twenties she faced with the same demands in a series of marital introductions at her home. Sidelining her Oxford graduate, she was judged more on how she served samosas in front of would-be groom or in-laws. Jumping out of the scene of sunset samosas, Shelina hit the roads, recounting how Prophet Mohammed’s first wife sent the prophet a marriage proposal herself. But things turned up sourer than her expectations as among those men she dumped on the ground that they are not fit for her, one eccentrically asked her to stop wearing headscarf.

Shelina keeps her faith rather important; her pink headscarf (more precisely hijab) was both a lovingly arranged gear as well as part of a simple dress she chose to wear. Witty and page turning, grab a copy of Love In A Headscarf, a memoir that outpoured from the heart of an Asian Muslim diasporic lady. – Jyaneswar

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