2021 was a year of self-discovery and self-exploration. Indeed, I had the chance to read more books, especially those written by South Asian authors, aka "brown" people.
For those of you who do not know, the term "brown" is often referred to indicate people mainly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and a few more. Often being a woman from a brown community is challenging because of the double standards and the expectations that come with it which sometimes can create toxicity when you are a girl.
This summer, I had a chance to read three books written by three South Asian authors and I wanted to share them with you.
What Would Aunties Say by Anchal Seda
What Would Aunties Say is a non-fiction book written by Anchal Seda, a British Indian Influencer, who shares her stories of what it felt like to be raised in a South Asian household while growing up in Western society. In her book, she tackles many topics that many brown girls face nowadays such as colorism, marriage, career, and so forth and how to best deal with them, especially when we are constantly judged by the South Asian Aunties, who typically have nothing to do but gossip about every kid's in the neighborhood.
I highly recommend the book for anyone who is trying to be the best version of herself and living life on her own terms.
Love and Lies of Rukshana Ali by Sabina Khan
The Love and Lies of Ruksana Ali is a fiction book focused on the life of Rukhsana, a Bengali Muslim teenage girl living in the States. She leads the typical Brown girl life: never allowed to go out, forced to lie to go to parties, and expected to help out at home on the weekends while her brother can sneak out and relax.
Everything was going smoothly in her life when one day her mother caught her kissing her girlfriend Adriana. Shocked and overwhelmed by what her mother has just seen, Ruksana is immediately brought to Bangladesh and forced into an arranged marriage with a boy chosen by her parents. Does she manage to escape?
The storyline goes on and narrates the struggle she is facing in convincing her parents to accept her the way she is until something terrible happens on her wedding day.
The story of Ruksana Ali is very common in the South Asian community and still taboo.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
This last book was by far my favorite. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is a book narrated by Nikki, the daughter of Indian immigrants living in London. While growing up, she spent most of her life being away from her own community of Sikh while living her life in the Western way. One day she decides to take a teaching job for a creative writing class and realizes that she ends up teaching to a group of Sikh widows, the same community she was being away from all her life. During one of the lessons, one of the widows finds a book in English full of sexy stories and decides to share it with the class. Nikki then realizes that beneath those white sarees, these women have hidden fantasies waiting to be shared.
The book was definitely humoristic, enjoyable, and spicy which shares stories of love, friendship, culture, and more.
Definitely recommend it for anyone who wants a light read, but is insightful at the same time.
And with this, remember - Readers are Leaders :)