Sunday 17 January 2021

Review by Asha Krishna of "How We Met" by Huma Qureshi

As the title suggests, this memoir is about Qureshi met her husband. But it is also about so much more.

As she states earlier on, it is not a tale of drama and oppression but more of a coming-of-age story.  She reflects on an upbringing where the houses were always full of guests, tables full of food and the mindset that girls who do not have a vocational career must marry young.

One may cringe at the way she puts herself through the matchmaking process. But we have all been in situations which in retrospect we would have handled differently. It takes courage to relive them again with transparency and that is where Qureshi wins hearts. 

Although marriage plays a pivotal part, the memoir also reflects on the personal trauma of losing a loved one – her father - around the time she was starting a new job at a newspaper office. Her experiences resonate as she battles grief and workplace bias at the same time, such that the reader feels triumphant when Qureshi finally begins to feel at peace with herself.  

The latter half of the memoir reflects on how she meets her now-husband and their efforts to convince the family. However, there is reference but no in-depth analysis about the cultural conflict. Perhaps that is where the appeal is. It is an upfront account of a woman relating her experiences and, in doing so, highlights societal stereotypes and pre-conceived notions. 

It is a feel-good story after all, and we know how it ends. The facts are neatly lined up like a well-planned fictional story, but the authenticity and the voice remind one that it is a memoir, and an engaging one at that.

About the reviewer
Asha Krishna hated homeschooling in the first lockdown and now does so even more. Her articles and stories have been published in print and online. Her twitter handle is @ashkkrish. 

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