Sadiqa Peerbhoy’s Marry Go Round will resonate not just with a true-blue Hyderabadi but with any reader fond of good writing and an interesting story
Sadiqa Peerbhoy’s wit and storytelling skills shine through in her first full-length fiction, Marry Go Round. Here is a book that is fun to read, yet deep. The story has layers to it that doesn’t weigh the reader down. The characters are real, believable, but marked by hilarious idiosyncrasies.
Set in a rapidly-changing Hyderabad, its landscape giving way to high rises and multi-national corporations, Marry Go Round is about Sartaj Jehan, mother of dashing Riaz, determined to get her son married to a girl of her choice. As the story takes hilarious twists and turns, the book is marked by nostalgia for a city in transition and a fondness for its people. “The people are crazy, but lovable. This book is also about a displaced people. A way of living has vanished before their eyes and they are trying to hold on to a past that is not there anymore,” says Sadiqa before the launch of her book at Windsor Manor.
Writing is among Sadiqa’s fortes, her column Swalpa Connect Maadi in a leading newspaper earned her loyal readers. She has written short stories for various publications. What, then, took Sadiqa so long to write a novel? “Before writing this book, I abandoned six books. Either I was bored by the characters or the characters were bored of me. I liked reading this book, it didn’t bore me, like some of my other writing has,” says a self-effacing Sadiqa.
Sartaj Jehan, a beauty in her younger days, is perhaps the most interesting character in Marry Go Round. And Sadiqa just loved crafting her character. “I started only with the character of the mother and everything fell into place. Everyone says characters take on a life of their own, it’s really so.” Every character, from the important to the minor, is rounded. “Each one is a memorable character, each etched differently.” The characters, says Sadiqa, are composites of people she has known.
Sadiqa has fond memories of Hyderabad.
“I want my mother to read it,” she smiles. “She is beautiful and was approached to play a role in Anarkali, but when they came to our house, they were shown the door,” she laughs.
Sadiqa has captured Hyderabad in all its glory; the lifestyle and language that only a true-blue Hyderabadi can understand.
“There is something very romantic about Hyderabad. People are caught in a time warp, but face a conflict in today’s world,” says Sadiqa, who has also written scripts for serials on national television.
Sadiqa’s hilarious descriptions and quirky characters define the humour in the book. Sadiqa has a natural sense of humour, there is nothing forced about it. She says, though, that humour writing for her really began with Swalpa Connect Maadi. “I had people threatening to break my windows. This book has humane humour. It’s understanding the human being inside out. I enjoy human beings with all their quirks, vanities and foibles,” she laughs and says.
A fan of P.G. Wodehouse, Sadiqa says people are interesting because of their oddities, which also makes them funny. “All of us aren’t perfectly ‘normal’. We are complex. It’s great fun getting into somebody’s skin and understanding what makes them tick.”
Sadiqa, who has had a long innings in advertising, says that the publishing industry could improve on some aspects.
“The biggies take eight months to say they’ve received your manuscript.”
Marry Go Round has been published by Jufic Books, priced at Rs. 145.