It wasn’t until 2012 that my mom gave me a copy of Peer e Kamil that I started taking urdu novels seriously. I have read peer e Kamil twice and both times I got emotionally charged. After that, I read several novels, many of them by umera Ahmed herself but nothing came even close. Peer e Kamil was just extra ordinary and incomparable to anything else that I was reading. I realized that most authors were using Islam to attract the readers and were unable to really incorporate it into the novel. Then someone recommended nimra Ahmed to me. I read a lot of her work and I figured she was merely a teenager or just barely out of her teens when she wrote them so a lot of them were quite immaturity in terms of story line but I could see that she wrote with brilliance with lots of details.
Then I decided to read Jannat key Pattey. something that I wasn’t too keen on as it too had Islam at its core. I was pleasantly surprised.
MAJOR SPOLIER ALERT
Haya belongs to a rich business family. she is pretty and takes special care of how she looks. her make up and clothes are always on point and she gets lots of attention from everyone every where she goes. while boys can’t get their eyes off her, all the girls are jealous of her. she herself has never taken advantage of her looks in any way and is a ‘good’ girl.
She was betrothed to her cousin (phuppo ka beta), Jehan Sikander (yes another very handsome sikander but a little irritating unlike salar sikander) when she was 1 and he was only 8. Haya has always known about it and is very sincere to her husband but every one else thinks that as the Nikah was done when they were only children, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. her parents have started looking for a rishta for her and they also have Waleed, haya’s dad’s business partner’s son, in their mind. however, Haya is not thrilled and tells him about his Nikah. Waleed tries to take ‘advantage’ of Haya and a Khwaja sira, Dolly saves her. Haya is petrified but still doesn’t want to befriend Dolly.
One of her videos, taken secretly by a mobile phone, gets leaked and she contacts cyber crime cell for help. Major Ahmed from cyber crime cell contacts her and helps her in removing the video.
Haya has recently received a scholarship from a Turkish University and she is very keen on going as she thinks it will be her only opportunity to meet Jehan, get to know him and also finally decide how their relationship should proceed. At the same time, she starts receiving bouquets of white roses from a secret admirer who seems to know pretty much everything about her.
She travels to Turkey with Khadija/Dj and the two become very good friends. she continues to receive bouquets from her secret admirer in Turkey too. however now he has told her his name, ARP or Abdul Rehman Pasha who is an underworld Don. Haya gets scared for her safety but doesn’t know who to confide in.
She meets Jehan too but is severely disappointed because she felt that Jehan hardly knows about her. she goes back to her dorm thinking that continuing the relationship with Jehan would be useless however she runs into Jehan the next day on underground train and he helps her in such a way that she decides to give him another chance.
Over the course of time, she gets closer to Islam and starts understanding underlying meanings of various commandments. some horrible incidents bring her close to hijab and as it is her own decision rather than something imposed on her, she does everything she can to protect and honor it in the best possible manner.
Meanwhile, she visits Pakistan and receives a puzzle box from Dolly. on opening the box, she finds out how and why certain things happened in her life for the past few months. she also finds a lot about Dolly, major Ahmed, Abdul Rehman Pasha and also about Jehan through this puzzle box. the truth about Jehan makes her respect him a lot and ultimately they do fall in love too.
Overall, the way the novel has been written is quite good. as the story is mainly told from haya’s perspective, we find more about her personality than any other character and how she views things in general. the portion which tells jehan’s story is a little too verbose and I ended up skipping some portions and not losing anything. I would have liked Jehan to be a little more expressive than he was because that was something that I loved about salar sikander and found it lacking in Jehan Sikander but over all I liked him more than Haya. I quite liked that they both had a life of their own and shadi was not the ultimate aim of their lives. of course I loved how nimra Ahmed tried to explain some of the verses in the Quran and of course visiting Turkey has become one of the things in my bucket list.
So, have you read Jannat key Pattey? if so, who was your favorite character?