history

Book Review: Their Language of Love by Bapsi Sidhwa

The stories in Their Language of Love are rich and languid, told in a fashion that is engulfed in an affluent and graceful historic aura. Bapsi Sidhwa’s work is not new to me but I fall in love with her writing even more every time I read her. Her short stories are as much witty and sarcastic, vivid yet baffling as her novels. She portrays her characters as people you would meet in your everyday life, and yet they are powerful and inspiring, offering an unpretentious exuberance.

The most attractive part of her work which keeps bringing me back to her is the realistic portrayal of the sub-continental history, before partition and the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s, and the depiction of ease with which the local diverse communities would mix. Similarly, Sidhwa’s reminiscence of the roads and streets of Lahore, its nooks and corners, old gates and shrines, with a colorful paint of historical pallor makes one want to go back to the old city and see it with the author’s keen eyes time and again—it never tires you out.

Bapsi Sidhwa’s short stories are based on the theme of reconnection to roots—of culture, background, language and the commonality that brings the sub-continent together—whether it’s Feroza the spoilt American-turned kid, Roshni, the dark Parsi bride on the American soil or Sikander and his family who are trying to adopt the American ways.

The Language of Love (Short Stories) by Bapsi Sidhwa

Rating: 4/5 

Musings

History is bizarre. When you start reading it, you don’t understand a word- since it’s never the beginning. Even if you think you started from the beginning, it never is. The beginning has its own history, and so it takes you long to identify the real beginning of history. But when you do, it begins to unfold itself, like an untold tale. It unveils things that you know and things that you don’t. And then it connects to make sense for you. And slowly and gradually, you don’t even realise and you become one of the characters of history. Reading, rereading, investigating, connecting, going back and forth to make sense, until it takes you along with itself—something you came to know about, you became a part of it; so much so that you loved it and it became your life.