- Publisher: Kitab Trinjan, Lahore, Pakistan
Javed Boota’s maiden book of seventeen short stories is the winner of the Sulaikh Chittar Award from Lahore. These stories explore the lived lives of ordinary people in both East and West Punjab, and the growing Punjabi diaspora around the world. The title story reveals the deep pain of partition and separation of those who survived the horror. The displaced girl who now is an aged woman living in East Punjab is hauntingly beautiful. The reader’s imagination is captured as she breaks down during a meal with a guest from West Punjab. Her trauma is so real and immediate as she has a flashback to the tragic moment when she was ripped apart from her Muslim friends in 1947 leaving an unfinished meal of rice.
Another powerful story is Ustad Shgird in which a young individual has an erotic experience. The vulnerable boy character upon seeing an indiscreet portrait of a woman becomes emotionally disturbed. His neurotic obsession with the female body leads to shocking behaviour. ‘Mardum Shamari’ (‘Census’) exposes the pressures of political correctness in the struggle over language and identity as both census taker and responder lie about their mother language in Pakistani Punjab. All the stories are lasting testament to human resiliency and the spirit to live with zest despite pain, trauma, and suffering.
“Boota’s way is so overwhelmingly sentimental that his reader immerses in the atmosphere he created. Some of these stories are also a reflection of his profound and entrenched nostalgia for Punjab.”-Shahmukhi Jury