Husna Mohammad’s debut work of fiction explores the cultural fabric of Malabar
Sometimes a single narrative isn’t enough to convey all those stories that we want to tell. Which is why Husna Mohammad, a dental surgeon turned author, decided to write nine of them. Through her newly-launched anthology titled Saudade, Husna is mapping the lives of nine diverse characters ranging from a sorceress to a closeted gay person, all living in the region of Malabar. To her, it all started when she came across the word ‘saudade’ through the English translation of Pablo Neruda’s poem of the same name.“It’s interesting how something as unusual as a word can have such powerful effect on us. Saudade kind of filled me with a sense of completeness—as if giving meaning to this expansive emotion I used to have, which I couldn’t quite express in any of the languages I knew. And the word has been my muse and inspiration ever since,” shares the writer, who hails from Thalassery.
Having started out as a poet—with her first collection of verses named My Lyrical Symphony published in 2008—Husna elaborates that her fascination towards fiction grew later in life.“My stories revolve around characters from different walks of life, bound by social and traditional conformism. Faultlines exist in the heart of every man. These are stories that we often don’t talk about or are reluctant to talk about, but they do exist. Saudade is the running thread in most of them,” explains the 45-year-old, adding that it took her about four years to complete the work. Referring to her writing process as a calling, Husna tells us that she’s hoping to pen a quasi-fantasy novel rooted in a socio-political narrative next.
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