Andaleeb Wajid’s novel My Brother’s Wedding is told from parallel perspectives

Andaleeb Wajid looks poised and confident at the launch of her latest novel, My Brother’s Wedding (Rupa India, Rs. 295). The writer from Bangalore has come into her own. As the moderator Ranjeet Raj observed at the launch, held at Oxford Bookstore, Andaleeb is a prolific writer. In four years, Andaleeb has written three books, five more are in the pipeline. Her books include Kite Strings, Blinkers Off and More Than Just Biryani.

Although My Brother’s Wedding is set around a Muslim wedding, it is not based on the author’s experience. Neither is it about Andaleeb’s brother’s wedding — her brother confirmed that at the launch. It has traces of Andaleeb’s experiences of weddings in general.

My Brother’s Wedding is written from the perspective of a 19-year-old girl who writes about her brother’s wedding through a series of blog posts. “It depicts the behind-the-scenes, orchestrated chaos of Muslim weddings,” explains Andaleeb.

The presence of RJ Darius Sunawala, who was in conversation with Andaleeb, livened up the evening. Darius praised her book saying that he “flew through the book like a knife through butter. A good book is loved for different reasons. This book changed my life, because it was the first book I read in two years. The book is captivating. It’s an insight into a different kind of family life. A family that is wealthy, urban and orthodox. The book is a window into a world that very few people have seen.”

Another aspect that caught Darius’s attention was the structure used by Andaleeb. “There are two sides to the narrative. One is from the perspective of an anonymous blog and the other is from the experience of the family that is truly being felt.”

Andaleeb and Darius read out excerpts from the book, of which particularly endearing were the interactions between the sisters. “The elder sister is confident, diva-ish, she walks into a room and heads always turn and she always gets her way. The younger sister, in contrast, is coming of age and innocent. She is envious of the attention her parents shower on her elder sister,” says Andaleeb.

Writing comes easily to Andaleeb. When asked if she ever suffers from writer’s block, Andaleeb says: “Writer’s block is a myth. Writers get stuck temporarily, but we mustn’t view it as writer’s block.” As a writer, Andaleeb likes to play with structure. “The plot comes first to me. I need to tell myself what the story will be about.” She likes to write about things she enjoys. “I write about things I know well,” she concludes.