The Middle-class Indian Life

Andaleeb Wajid, author of Kite Strings

Andaleeb Wajid would rather be identified as a story teller rather than just a writer.

Wajid, from Bangalore, India, has published one novel, her second novel is going to be published soon and is currently working on the third, all in English.

Her first novel, Kite Strings, was published in Sept. 2009.

“It’s about growing up, learning to understand yourself, finding your own direction in life, a lot of questions that young women find themselves faced with when they reach that threshold of no longer a child, but not yet an adult also,” she said.

The novel’s theme is about self-discovery, making it relatable to mostly anyone in that aspect. Readers can also learn about a “normal, middle class Indian Muslim family.”

“There’s a call for educating Muslim women because the main protagonist, Mehnaz, doesn’t receive any encouragement to finish her studies from her mother … she hates the idea of being rushed into marriage just because the time is right.” Wajid said. “If it weren’t for her father she would have found it very difficult to finish her education, which brings us to the whole matriarchal-patriarchal element in Indian society.”

Wajid was originally a technical writer, but began writing her novels on the side. She enjoyed it so much and became a full-time novelist.

“I call myself an impulsive writer, often not knowing myself about what will happen next,” she said. Let’s say, I finish writing my books just to know what happens in the end myself.”

Wajid, mother of two sons, said her father was her inspiration.

“He died when I was very young, but right from the time I was small he instilled in me the fact that I had to excel at whatever I did,” she said.

The upcoming novel is called Blinkers Off.

“It’s different from Kite Strings because it’s more contemporary and fresh. It’s a lighthearted read compared to Kite Strings because the protagonist is not assailed with questions of what she will do in life. Here, the protagonist knows what she wants to do. The novel is more of a huge episode in her life and there’s a romantic element in it as well,” she said.

Wajid encourages other woman, especially Muslim women from all around the world to continue doing what they love to do.

“I just like to think of myself as someone who has stepped beyond the boundaries of home and hearth without compromising anything on my religion,” she said. “ I just write because I like to write and I always tell others that they should do what they really like doing. I know it’s hard to follow that in a world where we also have to earn our living but nonetheless, we shouldn’t forget our dreams and what we were meant to do in our lives.”

Kite Strings is available at most Indian bookstores and online at Flip Kart and Indian Plaza. Click here for more information on Wajid and her books.

                                                                Aya A. Khalil

Aya A. Khalil is a freelance journalist and doing her M.A. in Education at College of Charleston.