What happens when you finally achieve something (or someone) that you’ve cherished, coveted, openly desired and prayed for all your life? What do you do when you’re still not happy after getting that very person?
Zoella, a 20-something girl, was head-over-heels in love with her best-friend, Swaba’s elder brother Fardeen. While Zoella and Swaba have been friends since kindergarten and she has been in love with Fardeen since she was 10, she had not confessed her love. Although it wasn’t really necessary for the rest of the world, Fardeen was totally oblivious to her feelings and ignored it mistaking it to be a mere crush or puppy-love.
Fardeen was to get married to Neha, the sophisticated, petite, charming, beautiful and urbane girl that made Zoella feel inferior, short, fat and nice. And ‘nice’ in other words meant ‘boring.’ Zoella knew that Fardeen was never going to even look at her when he had Neha in his life and so she didn’t even try to express her love or win over Fardeen.
Zoella also came from a strict middle-class background and her family barely made ends meet after the demise of her father. She was a burden for her single mother who always favored her son. Her sister-in-law was equally tyrannical and her life was made hell by the trio. Yet Zoella was that martyr who still loved her family immensely and always sacrificed for their happiness.
Call it tragedy, irony, karma or destiny, Fardeen met with a terrible accident that left his face disfigured. A ‘marriage of convenience’ happened and Fardeen and Zoella ended up getting married.
While Zoella was readily accepted by his family, Fardeen always made her life difficult and never acknowledged her as he always thought that she was sympathizing with him. While Zoella thought that Fadeen was still in love with Neha and that he would never accept her in his life.
Rest of the story is about both discovering other’s love for them and how they overcome the boundaries and walls that they had build because of some things said and situations occurred.
A homely, traditional, well-mannered, romantic, loving yet modern, witty and sarcastic female protagonist is common in Zeenat’s writings. From Chandni or C in Haveli to Shahira in The Contract to Zoella in He loves Me She Loves Me Not.
Her writings are in sync with today’s times in most of Pakistanis (and Indian) middle-class families where girls have to sacrifice so much and are under house-arrest most of the times. Zeenat has a flair of creating extra-ordinary heroines out of ordinary families and stories.
The inner turnmoil of Zoella of being unwanted and unloved by her own family to not being loved by the one she immensely loved to getting married to her love and get shattered by his arrogance is nicely described. As a reader, you get into the psyche of Zoella and feel the pain she feels in her journey through the words. And that, as a writer, is very hard to do and Zeenat has made it look so easy.
All other supporting characters are also nicely created and make the setting feel more real.
The novella is filled with humor and tragedy. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you sad and it will make you happy and most important of all, it will make you fall in love, with love, all over again.
Makes for a perfect valentine gift and an immensely enjoyable read.
Connect with the author here : Zeenat Mahal
The novella is published by Toronto-based publishing house Indireads, which exclusively publishes e-books and was started with the aim to revolutionizing the popular fiction genre in South Asia.