Title: The Uncommon Memories of Zeenat Qureishi

Author: Veena NagpalThe Uncommon

Publisher: Tara India Research Press

ISBN: 9788183861199

Pages: 478

My review

Memories are an emotional link between two phases of lives, between two given instances, between two individual and between two births as well! Some memories are rosy and relaxing while some others are disturbing and turbulent. They are enough to make the person feel exhausted from present scenarios and prevalent conditions. In such a condition, the hunt for someone who hears the agony becomes a trivial matter. What if this person is not welcomed in present life? How will the events take shape and how the future turns out to be? Yes, the situation in grave and sensitive!

Veena Nagpal mam, has already earned her name and recognition in the literary world and I am not the person to introduce her and her work to the fellow actives. You all must be aware of her writings and her contribution to the learned community. Her works have already won accolades as I could find during my research about her (before writing this review). This is my first chance to have the privilege to read her work. My experience is miniscule in comparison to her existence in the wordy sea and I am all lost!

I experienced a certain sort of enigma in her writing that kept me glued till I read the finishing sentence of the book. I was all drenched with a mixed feeling of disturbance and relief; a mixed feeling of feeling like crying and being happy as if I have accomplished something and a mixed feeling of me being an experienced professional or just a naive reader of fictional plots. She has touched upon sensitive topic of social unrest build on the backdrop of Hindu-Muslim communal riots and love blossoming in such harsh barren land which is stained with blood!

Hindu – muslim communities have co-existed since years, even before history was being preserved within the words and literatures but with the changing governments at the time of closure of British Era on (then) Indian soil, this cordial relationship was tethered apart. Such was the magnitude of hatred that it continues till date and cross-cultural relationships are counted – taboo! Nevertheless, exceptions do spring up but not all get the blessings (even in disguise) and the price they pay amounts – life. Both the communities have become blood thirsty and this hasn’t been met with across generations.

She has carved a highly emotional drama thriller around this very guiding plot wherein, two individuals from two families fall in love but their love is opposed by all. But, there are certain ties that bind them beyond this cultural divide; surprisingly these are the uncommon memories of Zeenat Qureishi!

Who is Zeenat Qureishi? What are her memories? Why are they considered uncommon? What do they have to do with her present life? How does this agreement affect her love life? Many questions are still unanswered and deserve to have an answer. Read this story to appreciate the writing capability of the writer which keeps you hooked all through the path which starts from past and ends in present.

You will appreciate her attitude to maintain equilibrium between two very sensitive themes, as shared above i.e. social unrest and past-regression. Accompany her as she unveils who Zeenat is and what is this story about. To summarize, I will state – an uncommon story of the commons. It is a genuine effort to sensitize readers about the human values above the boundaries of cultures and communities. Blood and love do not identify and understand such boundations, they are beyond all these and so this involves high risks – which need to be averted at all costs otherwise it will only be transferred from one generation to another and continue to be uncommon amongst the commons.

About the Book

Two young cousins hell-bent on restoring Muslim glory, even if it means importing terror. An incendiary Hindu religious leader with one mantra, ‘Break-mosques, build- temples.’

Zeenat Qureishi has one question, “What’s my name? Why con’t you tell me my name?”

Traumatised in the aftermath of the London Tube bomb- ing, the phobic 20-year-old comes to India. Long before Zeenat was born, the eldest Qureishi brother, his wife, and six-year-old daughter Zainab were murdered.

Zeenat’s family believed the Mehras, their Hindu family friends, responsible and the friendship turned sour. Wild and impetuous Zeenat promptly falls in love with Ajay Mehra. Faced with proof that he was involved in the demolition of a mosque, she scorns him.

Disturbed, Zeenat undergoes regression therapy in an atmosphere of paranoia and uncovers memories so powerful that she can project them. Communal bitterness that has simmered for centuries threatens to explode around her and Zeenat tries to find answer in the past that will help her understand and heal the present.

About the Author

Veena Nagpal was ten when she was caught reading in the bathroom late into the night. Her mother banned her from reading ‘story books’ for a whole month. She decided if she couldn’t read, she’d write her own stories. That night in a naval apartment in the then city of Bombay, Veena Nagpal’s passion for writing was born.

The Uncommon Memories of Zeenat Qureishi is Veena’s third novel to be published. She has also penned four books for children and numerous short stories.

‘The Uncommon Memories of Zeenat Qureishi,’ ((ISBN 978-81-8386-119-9) is about a twenty-year old girl who, traumatized by communal conflicts, spontaneously regresses into memories of past lives spanning centuries. Memories so powerful they start getting automatically broadcast on television, blocking out all other channels.

Sucked into her reminiscences of power brokers manipulating love and revenge, murder and greed, an entire people finds itself at crossroads.

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