!!> Reading ➳ How It Happened ➬ Author Shazaf Fatima Haider – Writerscompany.co.uk

How It Happened I really liked this book ALOT Despite the fact that everything was pretty much all known from the start, the plot and stuff but I am awed by the narration and the style of this beautiful writer I have always wanted our regional novels to be respectful of our culture and not just make fun of everything about our cultural and religious values under the stupid guise of wearing liberal glasses and being all I m sooo cool, in a display of western kiss assery She did point out all the weird and h I really liked this book ALOT Despite the fact that everything was pretty much all known from the start, the plot and stuff but I am awed by the narration and the style of this beautiful writer I have always wanted our regional novels to be respectful of our culture and not just make fun of everything about our cultural and religious values under the stupid guise of wearing liberal glasses and being all I m sooo cool, in a display of western kiss assery She did point out all the weird and horrible things yet she also showed it in a very balanced manner, which emanated love and respect and altogether it was all very adorable I think this is the message of our society I would want to send out to the world, to portray something sweet and light headed for once This book actually made me laught out loud, and I think this author deserves all our duas and blessings for that Shafaz for Nobel Prize giggles Simply Hilarious How It Happened The interrogation of title is itself dramatic and suspicious Now let s number those suspicions Roughly my own 1 How Haroon Got Married 2 How Zeba Will Be Wed 3 How Will Dadi Ever Come Round 4 What Will Happen In Case Of Saleha It is a story about arranged marriages with a blend of humour and wit There was perfect relation in between me and the story Every Pakistani reader will find certain amount of affliction with it for the plot is homely Stunning Im Simply Hilarious How It Happened The interrogation of title is itself dramatic and suspicious Now let s number those suspicions Roughly my own 1 How Haroon Got Married 2 How Zeba Will Be Wed 3 How Will Dadi Ever Come Round 4 What Will Happen In Case Of Saleha It is a story about arranged marriages with a blend of humour and wit There was perfect relation in between me and the story Every Pakistani reader will find certain amount of affliction with it for the plot is homely Stunning Imagery I fell in love with characters They are all richly supplied with ample elaboration It looked like Shazaf knew well when the reader is bored and is waiting for some action to happen rather than mere elaborations A perfect combination And onedeclaration You cannot put this book down It s addicting Too much There is almost nothing to criticise about except some exaggerations in Dadi s case Dadi, who don t want her Laal grandson to go to Amreeka haha and who wants him to get married in an arranged way, at last became convinced for a girl Haroon liked But things became harder and harder in Zeba s case Dadi was rigid and firm in her decision followed by her Bandian traditions and was not ready for a love match in case of Zeba her granddaughter The old soul s dialogue were very emotional somewhere a little exaggerated Her character was like warmth and life to the novel So close to reality I mean really it s so difficult to convince grandparents esp about the idea of abandoning some sort of tradition But on the other hand these traditions make us real humans and solid values are really important in maintaining a sound societyobliged to religion I think Dadi deserves an Award for her acting as if it were a film or a tv series Haha Girl 1,2,3 That was amusing PPhuppos played a great part but I didn t like Fati Phupps Although she was the one who saved everything at last but she islike an adult bigriwi Hell Urdu influence This book is responsible Saleha s storytelling marvelled This islike 4.5 stars One won t need a highlighter to carry along because there are no heavy deep far from reality lines There is just a story going on But who is that girl on cover Zeba or Dadi herself at her wedding A question still unanswered Anyway, I am glad I read a book change from others, a story of an ordinary household broken somewhere in between due to fallen off traditions but then recovered in most unusual circumstances Dadi, The Imperious Matriarch Of The Bandian Family In Karachi, Swears By The Virtues Of Arranged Marriage All Her Ancestors Including A Dentally And Optically Challenged Aunt Have Been Perfectly Well Served By Such Arrangements But Her Grandchildren Are Harder To PleaseHaroon, The Apple Of Her Eye, Has To Suffer Half A Dozen Candidates Until He Finds The Perfect Shia Syed Girl Of His Dreams But It Is Zeba, His Sister, Who Has The Tougher Time, As She Is Accosted By A Bevy Of Suitors, Including A Potbellied Cousin And A Banker Who Reeks Of Sesame OilTold By The Witty, Hawk Eyed Saleha, The Precocious Youngest Sibling, This Is A Romantic, Amusing And Utterly Delightful Story About How Marriages Are Made And Unmade Not In Heaven, But In The Drawing Room And Over The Phone It s a scandal Why, a woman only has two things in this society her ability to bear sons and her reputation Zeba s reputation will be what She will be labelled fast and what will happen then There s something about reading a book that describes exactly what your life is like Exactly I m not kidding around here I m a twenty something Pakistani Muslim currently drowning in the drama that is the process of getting married This book is about twenty something Pakistani Muslims drowning iIt s a scandal Why, a woman only has two things in this society her ability to bear sons and her reputation Zeba s reputation will be what She will be labelled fast and what will happen then There s something about reading a book that describes exactly what your life is like Exactly I m not kidding around here I m a twenty something Pakistani Muslim currently drowning in the drama that is the process of getting married This book is about twenty something Pakistani Muslims drowning in the drama that is the process of getting married It s like this book was written for meI don t want to get married for the sake of producing children I want a companion I want love LOVE gasped Dadi No one in our family has married for love for generations This book is about marriages in the Pakistani community, and the ensuing tug of war that is bound to follow between those who are fierce proponents of the arranged marriage path against those who believe in choosing their own spouse Dadi, the matriarchal head of the Bandian family, has particular opinions about any and every thing in the household, which include very strict ones about marriage This comes into conflict with her grandchildren s desire to stray from tradition Haroon, the apple of her eye, can seemingly not find a single suitable match until the girl from his office catches his eye, and Zeba, our protagonist s older sister, starts dating a guy of her own choosing, sending their grandmother into paroxysms of terror at even the vague idea of a love marriageShe love married Shameless creature she wasHer mother tried to commit suicide and her father couldn t show his face in public again Such shame she brought to her family Viewed through the eyes of Saleha, the youngest daughter in the family and the main narrator, we watch as mindsets collide, age old traditions against a newer,mordren way of thinking, as their Dadi puts it Shazaf Fatima Haider spares nothing and no one, talking about the whole process from the beginning to the end the proposals, the meetings, the events, the post marriage dramaIt s a bad idea to give your daughter in law too much of a choice in the matter What was this idea of inviting her along anyway A good Eastern bride didn t participate in the wedding with the eagerness that Saima was exhibiting What kind of girl brazenly went with her in laws to choose her own wedding dress While the book leans towards comedy, presenting the marriage process as an ultimately painful farce that one can only live through by laughing at it, a number of important issues manage to hide beneath the funny veneer We encounter child brides and how it was the norm in olden times to get girls married at a ridiculously young age We see brazen sexism and misogyny and how ludicrous the process of choosing a life partner based on a girl s complexion and weight is The book talks about intolerance and gender discrimination and how daughters were and sometimes still are considered a burden while sons are revered and loved My grandmother took upon herself the role of the matriarch, the mother of three eligible sons, whothan made up for the disadvantage of six daughters who would need to be married off one day.Probably the best thing about this book is the fact that so much of it is written purely for the eastern reader This book has a specially for Pakistanis vibe which means that even though desi people everywhere, from India to America to East Asian countries, might be able to relate, it still retains its innate Pakistani feel The numerous traditions during the wedding process are those that every Pakistani reader will have encountered time and time again, from the Ar see masaf to the battle against wearing a Sehra.Ultimately it is the weddings that one enjoys most during the reading process For every desi kid who has had to suffer through a super long wedding, complete with seven functions and ten post wedding parties and three pre wedding dholkis, this book provides a slapstick version of our experiences It s a personal account of every Pakistani girl s marriage proposal horror story, presented in a manner that makes it funny, and thus, bearable The wedding functions that followed were nothingthan a display of wealth, so necessary for the maintenance of the girl s respectability in the eyes of her in laws.This book is, if nothing else, at least a starting point for a much needed discussion about gender politics And one could argue that other Pakistani authors have tackled the manner in asophisticated, mature manner, but that is precisely the reason why this story is so muchimportant Its exaggerated comedy and whimsical tone are what make it perfect for younger readers, who will be mucheager to pick this up than, say, Bapsi Sidhwa s The Pakistani Bride or Nadeem Aslam s Leila in the Wilderness, both excellent stories in their own right That still doesn t change the fact that those stories are what one could categorize as literary fiction, somewhere in the veins of class room syllabi, and this book ischick lit, something you could recommend to your best friend and talk about in terms of how much you related to itHow long have you known her Since I joined PG And how long have you known known her interjected Dadi.What also helps is the comedy Unlike other Pakistani books, this novel has perfected the art of not taking itself too seriously, which basically amounts to a lot of exaggerated hilarity There are some actual laugh out loud scenes a compliment I find I can t give to any other Pakistani book I ve reviewed so far and a fair amount of mirth is injected in the proceedings Even when the topic is a sensitive one, it s handled mostly in a funny manner, ranging from the subtle In those days, the moisture of unshed tears in a girl s eyes was a sign of beauty It proved that she was too delicate for the roughness of the tough and wicked world and therefore quite useless and overwhelmed when it came to accomplishing practical matters at hand This, in turn, proved that they were true nobility to the over the topWhen I bent to serve your Dadi, she took the glass and said, Yes, yes, she s very fair We ll have her Just like that Can you imagine As if I were a goat they were buying for Baqra Eid Unfortunately, while it elicits actual laughter in some scenes, in others it fails miserably, giving one the uncomfortable feeling of having to fake laugh at a joke just because it was so desperately delivered Moments such as these usually occur when the humour slides deftly into areas of blatant body shaming, with various characters engaging in disturbingly vicious commentary on everything from body shapes to hair texture, the biggest proponent being, of course, the grandmotherShe s pretty Not beautiful A little too thin Haroon, you should tell her to gain some weight Men like women with a littleflesh on them But while that s done for a reason, meant to bring into the limelight the Dadi s sexist mentality, a direct result of her upbringing in a patriarchal, image obsessed society, it becomes much harder to swallow when the person involved in the vehement criticism is the protagonist, Saleha It s possible that Shazaf Fatima Haider was attempting to give Saleha what she assumed was a true teenager vibe, but it s hard to tell when there s no clear way of distinguishing between what is meant to be a rejection of said practises implied through humour and what is in fact an endorsement In fact, one could argue that the protagonist is possibly the most ill portrayed character in the whole charade, one who functions as nothingthan a mouth piece for the novel s events Saleha is quite possible the least self obsessed teenager to have ever lived, because no person in that age group could ever spend so little time talking about themselves and spend so much time interested in their sibling s love lives We Bandians from Bhakuraj were proud of our collective identity, but maintaining this identity could sometimes become a struggle, especially for someone like my sister who had a mind of her own While she, too, loved to hear the stories of Bhakuraj, she treated them as obsolete anecdotes merely meant to amuse, but for Dadi they were a code of life.The immaturity verges on awkward she s fifteen years old, and dances the Scooby Doo dance Teenagers are self conscious and gauche, and generally don t act like they re five when they re really fifteen She introduces all her relatives through a bullet list She has no friends to speak of, doesn t seem to ever actually go to school, and is allowed to sit in on all the important family discussions Her passage of developing a crush is described within five pages where she frets, declares eternal love, and then promptly forgets the guy Where does this happen, I ask you What teenager isn tworried about grades, pimples and the cute guy next door than their brother s marital bless or sister s love affair Pakistani elders discuss marriage matters in private, upper class children don t only have school but generally have tuitions as well, and friends are pretty much the most important social circle during one s teen years The fact that this book gets these basics so wrong brings other,worrisome aspects, into the limelight Such as the lack of subversion, a concept that the book keeps at complete arms length In terms of questioning the status quo, the story represents, but does not probeHaroon should have the freedom to marry someone he likes You be quiet Listen to you Hussain, look at what your daughter is saying Good sons let their elders choose their wives for them This book clearly pits the idea of the arranged marriage la older generation thinking against the idea of choosing your own spouse as presented via the younger generation There s a certain stereotypical theme that runs throughout the vein of the book The childless, unmarried, sleeveless kameez wearing, red lipstick flashing aunt who works as a fashion editor is the saviour of the young, unlucky in love ones The sister who rebels against arranged marriages reads Lolita and quotes English literature The grandmother is an ultra controlling matriarch, the older female relatives are nosy and ill mannered, and the mother is a warm beacon of comfort and sympathyYou mustn t blame him He s done things in a certain way all his life All of us have, and to change that doesn t come easily for us And if it is so hard for us, imagine how difficult it must be for your grandmother, who is so old that she can t imagine doing things differently We re all trying to protect you, in whatever way we think best You must understand that This book doesn t even bother attempting to create characters that might be a bitmulti dimensional, instead moulding them all in the same old caricatures of older tyrannical grandmother and younger mutinous feminist This presentation of figures does a disservice to the multitudes of Pakistani women who struggle to balance their religion and culture with the modern times, both old and young alikeWhat a question to ask Why, you girls these days know no shame Asking your grandmother what she talked about on her wedding night I can tell you, though there were no love poems Sensible Bandian women know that this love shove business is all nonsense We must do our duty to please God and our husbands That s it It s entirely possible that this expectation of the representation of subversion is too heavy a responsibility to place on the arms of a book that, after all, only seeks to entertain But that s the problem with such limited output of literature from a country with such diversity in terms of opinions we then expect that literature to represent all of us, from all shades of life, with all sorts of backgrounds and thinking In terms of depiction, the book does an accurate enough job of describing, even if it verges on hyperbole, what the process of arranged marriages is like That Dadi was also racist and had a well developed paranoia of all dark skinned individuals was also well known to all who knew her.Only once throughout the novel does an issue like racism get addressed head on, while mentions of fair skin, light coloured women and references to a milky complexion get mentioned again, and again, and again a constant reminder of the mentality of the majority of Pakistani society But while it s all well and good to talk about such things, the book fails in ever properly addressing these concerns The local midwife, who also procured proposals for girls in our village, said it was because I wasn t fair like milk.All in all, one can, and I think one should, read this book for the amusing anecdotes, the funny commentary on the marriage process, and how much one can relate to certain parts of the story Maybe time and a greater quantity of novels will get us to the point where we will be able to say, with confident authority, that our literature is now effectively changing mindsets, and should be charged with the responsibility to do soEk toh I do t understand this obsession with contradicting everything I say Good girls should be seen and not heard That is how their in laws like them RecommendationI had an absolute blast reading this book, but then again, there could be some bias involved For all I know, I could be bringing my own twenties female aspiring bride partiality to the recommendation, but that doesn t mean I think anyone would be any less entertained by the material, even if they can t relate The book is both hilarious and horrifying See list of required characteristics of the prospective bride on page 32 Must be fully qualified to get a good job but must not want to get a job because what are men for , and a must read for anyone thinking of getting married, or,importantly, thinking of getting their child married Absolutely recommended I review Pakistani Fiction, and talk about Pakistani fiction, and want to talk to people who like to talk about fiction Pakistani and otherwise, take your pick To read this review completely, readreviews or just contact me so you can talk about books, check out my Blog or follow me on Twitter Every Pakistani girl of the marriageable age can relate to this book It is so true to our lives and that s what made this book an interesting read because it felt like I was reading about my own life or my cousin s Starting from the showing off your daughters at others wedding to the typical drawing room meetings and ending with the buying of dowry, everything was so real How relatives compete with each other to get their children married of first as if there is a race going on and how some g Every Pakistani girl of the marriageable age can relate to this book It is so true to our lives and that s what made this book an interesting read because it felt like I was reading about my own life or my cousin s Starting from the showing off your daughters at others wedding to the typical drawing room meetings and ending with the buying of dowry, everything was so real How relatives compete with each other to get their children married of first as if there is a race going on and how some girls are never asked their opinions because oh its bad manners to think about your own personal wishes This book talks about every experience a girl goes through when she reaches a certain age and everyone will be able to relate to this, that oh this happened with me or someone I know Loved reading this book, although I think the character of Dadi was too much at some points, but other than that the characters are very real HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Do you have grandmother a brother a sister a father and mother a sister in law a brother in law are you a Pakistani teenager do you have relatives do you belong to a Pakistani Muslim family are you a girl do you have a village where your ancestors came from a caste are you syed are you shia are not thin are you really good looking are you not good looking have you studied arts or science If you do have half of the given traits in you or a quarter then you HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Do you have grandmother a brother a sister a father and mother a sister in law a brother in law are you a Pakistani teenager do you have relatives do you belong to a Pakistani Muslim family are you a girl do you have a village where your ancestors came from a caste are you syed are you shia are not thin are you really good looking are you not good looking have you studied arts or science If you do have half of the given traits in you or a quarter then you can relate to this and laugh at this cunningly crafted satire of our good, weird and sometimes quiet senseless culture even if you don t support any of those traits laughs are granted.You can find a way to make this about you and even if you don t you might know few people in it Shazaf haider writes this book in easily crafted English which i term as desi english which all the subcontinent readers or people who once belonged to this region can easily understand and enjoy Sit back and be ready to be entertained by this 300 some pages of really bold writing The family in this book has an uncanny resemblance to my own family Like, it actually made me wonder if the author is a duur ka rishtaydaar or something The relatability is probably why I liked this book The whole rishta scene was spot on It was quite cliche though, and there wasn t much to the story Some things I felt were left lost in translation you just don t get the feeling across in english sometimes But overall, it was a very nice read Gotta pick upPakistani literature. What a legacy you have given us, to suppress all natural emotions and that loving someone is impure How can you expect me to be quiet and let you decide my future when you absolutely have no regard for what I want Sex, love, affection, marriage, family politics and Dadi the narrative revolves around everlasting tussle between orchestrated marriages and the ones that just happen Shazaf has very lively tackled the issue of love and arranged marriage, especially inter sect, Sunni Shia marriages What a legacy you have given us, to suppress all natural emotions and that loving someone is impure How can you expect me to be quiet and let you decide my future when you absolutely have no regard for what I want Sex, love, affection, marriage, family politics and Dadi the narrative revolves around everlasting tussle between orchestrated marriages and the ones that just happen Shazaf has very lively tackled the issue of love and arranged marriage, especially inter sect, Sunni Shia marriages Coming from a family where I myself bear witness to four such events, it makes me confess that she is an avid observer of the social reality around us Skilful and amusing details about the characters of Zeba, Fati Phupoo, Haroon Bhai, Qurat dadi, and Saima Apa leave the reader with a satisfying smile throughout Narrator has heavily relied on lexical and morphological appropriation to generate humour and bring authenticity to the discourse One thing that intrigues me is the sweet sisterly connection that is there between Saleh and Zeba why how it antagonistically has taken the form of rivalry in elderly Qurat and Dadi another duo of sisters in the novel The delicate feminist touch in the plot is brought in through Fati Phupoo who is a single liberal fashion designer based in Lahore and makes Dadi forcibly despairingly accept Zeba and Haroons love marriage Whenever there was hate, the family conquered it with love Enjoyable read Abdullah This book was so disappointing First of all, the plot The plot was so utterly boring and predictable By the first chapter, I knew Zeba would be dating a Sunni boy I knew Dadi would make a fuss over that etc etc resulting in a happy ending for all And because the plot was so predictable, the plot dragged on and on until, by the time i was on the last few chapters, I wanted to tear up my beautiful hardcover copy just out of sheer frustration.And then there were the characters Saleha Saleha This book was so disappointing First of all, the plot The plot was so utterly boring and predictable By the first chapter, I knew Zeba would be dating a Sunni boy I knew Dadi would make a fuss over that etc etc resulting in a happy ending for all And because the plot was so predictable, the plot dragged on and on until, by the time i was on the last few chapters, I wanted to tear up my beautiful hardcover copy just out of sheer frustration.And then there were the characters Saleha Saleha Saleha is supposed to be fifteen Really I am a fifteen year old and I think I know how developed a fifteen year old mind is Judging from her mental capacity, I would guess Saleha to be around 8 Maximum 9 Because to tell you the truth, kids stop playing with salt and pepper shakers when they hit 13 And Saleha was doing just that when she accompanied her family and Gullan, or whatever that guy s name, was for coffee Most fifteen year olds are not at all oblivious to the world around them and if they are school going, then they are fully aware of what happens at the wedding night Another thing that got to me was that Saleha, throughout her narrative, hardly ever spoke of her own self most fifteeen year olds are highly self absorbed they are constantly thinking about school, about people they know, about themselves However these things are the least of Saleha s concerns Saleha never once mentions her own school life Readers remain, throughout the book, unaware of Saleha s own worries or problems This was distinctly odd.Then there is Dadi Dadi is supposed to be the typical Dadi of every pakistani household Stubborn, at times just plain mean, and unable to accept new ideas However Haider, aiming for a foreign audience exaggerates the typical dadi so much so that she transforms her into someone who is overly stubborn, overly mean and overly narrow minded Sure, most Pakistani grandparents can, at times, be annoyingly old fashioned but they also tend to be very wise They also tend to be experienced in matters concerning the world Sure, sometimes they act almost childish, but they can be very intelligent too Haider, however, presents Dadi as almost bordering on someone completely mad Dadi is one character who most readers will I believe find a tad unbelievable.Zeba is also an exaggerated form of The Liberal Free Thinking Pakistani Woman , as is Fatty Phupps Zeba is frequently seen reading novels such as Lolita and Wuthering Heights Haider obviously emloys this literary technique to make sure readers fully understand how liberal Zeba really is Of course, we wouldn t have understood that otherwise Though it does strike me strange that a girl with a masters in English is only just reading them Odd.All in all the book was unbelievably bad I beg for the forgiveness of any of those people who thought this book was a delectable, laugh out loud family tale because seriously, it wasn t I was inclined to read How it Happened for a long time out of curiosity because it is written by a Pakistani writer, Shazaf Fatima Haider.I m always extremely delighted to read books by our very own Pakistani authors Therefore, I did not want to miss out this one at any cost How it Happened is a purely gharelu story that we observe in every other s family based in Pakistan It is the story of a Shia, Bandian family based in Karachi It revolves around Gulbahar Bibi commonly known as Dadi i I was inclined to read How it Happened for a long time out of curiosity because it is written by a Pakistani writer, Shazaf Fatima Haider.I m always extremely delighted to read books by our very own Pakistani authors Therefore, I did not want to miss out this one at any cost How it Happened is a purely gharelu story that we observe in every other s family based in Pakistan It is the story of a Shia, Bandian family based in Karachi It revolves around Gulbahar Bibi commonly known as Dadi in the novel, who plays the most ardent and strict grandparent in the house It is the story of how she believes in arrange marriages and how she arranged marriages for her children and her grandchildren She is an imperious matriarch of her Bandian family who believes only in inter sect marriages.The story in the novel is being told by Saleha, who is a grand child of Dadi She narrates the story and tells her ardent Dadi fixes arrange marriages for her two elder siblings Haroon and Zeba Dadi is highly against love shove business and wants her grand children to stay away from it as not a single family member in the Bandian family has ever tried to get into a love marriage before Despite of her old traditions, Haroon and Zeba find matches for themselves Zeba crosses the family traditions as she falls in love with a Sunni boy To find out how Dadi is outraged with this horrifying news, you have to read the book I believe this book will berelatable to the readers belonging to the Shia sect as they will understand the depth of their sect in a much better way Moreover, the parts where drawing room meetings are set for a girl when prospective suitors come to see her with his families.I can somewhat relate to that misery as I ve experienced those drawing room meetings myself This book completely justifies to how actually arranged marriages are done in Pakistan Beginning from the first meetings and till the rukhsati, each and every event is well expressed.It was a typical story that depicts the realm and depth of a Pakistani household Most of the segments of this book were witty and exciting There was no point when I felt bored reading this book The way Shazaf has managed to express the viewpoints of our elders is quite agreeable Dadi s role steals the show as she s the center of the story One would surely laugh like riot and will not regret while reading it Happy reading,Sara Naveed


About the Author: Shazaf Fatima Haider

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the How It Happened book, this is one of the most wanted Shazaf Fatima Haider author readers around the world.


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