I have come to a conclusion. While English novels give a broader view into life, and (I must confess) make you an attractive nerd, the impact of lessons in Urdu novels is more deeply felt. Its like if your mom gave you a lifelong advice in English, it wouldn’t be as effective as in Urdu. Sarcasms are sharper and humor is more ridiculous. Hence everything that needs to be felt is more penetrating and decent in our native dialect.
Sticking to the theme of this Blog of promoting what belongs to Pakistan, I decided to review a novel that I began reading in a hospital lounge with utter disinterest but by the time I finished it, a pile of unattended tasks awaited me.
Never misconstrue seemingly odd books in a doctor’s waiting lounge. I must have read around 5 pages but they had me grasped so strongly that on my way back after the appointment, I stopped by a book store and bought it.
Bachpan Ka December by Hashim Nadeem sets the story in Quetta where Decembers were thought to be very beautiful once upon a time, with conifers covered in snow and moonlight peaking through the clear frosted ice.
The impersonal aspect of the book covers late 70’s through a little boys point of view and then late 80’s through a mature man’s.
Its about Ebad, a kid who belongs to a mediocre background, his best friend “Raja” who was always thought to be a bad influence to him (we all have that one best friend who our parents don’t approve of) and “Wajjo” a crush bound to stay a crush forever.
The writer’s choice of words is so illustrative that (if I was a painter) I could have painted down every page and If a drama is made on it, there would have been less input at recreating scenes from the book. The word-sketch is so definite and clear. Unlike most romantic novels, this one is pretty humorous. I was amazed to see how the speaker connected so well with his childhood memories and remembered every meticulous detail of his perception. There are immature sarcasms which make you laugh spontaneously over Addi’s innocence.
The book talks about parental control, family politics and nosy neighbors. It then slowly evolves to the point where Addi wants to cling purposely to these irritating things, but finally its time for him to grow up and go to a cadet college.
That’s where the second phase of his life starts. He shares with readers the reminiscence of this crucial chapter of his life. From the discouraging behavior of seniors to that one supportive teacher who helped him get over his drawbacks, every word sinks you deeper in the speaker’s character. Despite every high and low one thing stayed constant throughout, his crush Wajjo.
When we are kids, there is always some one older we look up to for inspiration. We contemplate over how they do things and regard their personality as impressionistic. But what if I tell you, an admiration sprouting from childhood and staying constant throughout, till you have life figured out, is actually love? And what if I tell you that love is regardless of age. You never know, a girl in neighbor you called ‘baji” turns into a romantic interest later in life! Apparently all real things are unpredictable, like true love. like Death.
The book has a rating of 4.1 on Goodreads. I hope that the narration is in a simple language which makes you want to read more. Middle aged people will be able to relate more to it because it will take them to their springing youth.