Memories Gone Bye
Giribala Menon
KICKING UP DUST by Azra Abbas Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2018, 126 pp., 595
February 2018, volume 42, No 2

Azra Abbas is a renowned Urdu poet whose writings reflect the feminist uprising in Karachi. In 1981 Ms. Abbas had compiled a prose poem, Neend ki Musafatain, in the stream of consciousness style and since then she has published a compilation of short stories, a novel, her memoirs and a collection of poetry. Kicking up Dust is based on Abba’s childhood memories. The very title suggests that Azra was a non-conformist and thereby the centre of chaos and confusion.On reading through the fragmented episodes that are written in a non-linear style, we find that most of her early playtimes with her friends and neighbours were in the dusty road that lay in front of their houses. And did they kick up some dust!

The happy times of childhood lay out there in the dusty road with a motley group of friends who joined her during the various hours of the day. Quite frequently Azra was dragged back home at odd hours of the day and even night! We find that she was the object of prolonged family searches as she got caught up in various events like a students’ protest, a visit of mourning, awaiting a witch with her feet back to front under the jujube tree—to mention just a few.

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