Journey back in time and experience the refugee spirit as Priya Hajela's "Ladies Tailor" (HarperCollins) captures you with all its romance, adventure and one mans iron will to not just survive, but thrive with new beginnings.
This is a story that captures a setting and a group of characters that represent the immigrant spirit, the refugee spirit, the spirit of never giving up on what you want and a spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship that to this day is the driving force in Delhi and Punjab.
"Ladies' Tailor" is a book about Gurdev and his cohort, a group of refugees who travelled east from Pakistan after Partition. It is a story of falling apart and coming together. It is also a story of that which was torn asunder and will never be one again - a marriage, a country, a friendship.
The story will take you back in time and catch you by the scruff till your uncertain feet hang off the floor. It will also bring you back to the normalcy of fit and fashion, and of fabric and style. It will let you settle in and get comfortable with Gurdev and Noor's romance and then take you on a speedy adventure in fast American cars behind enemy lines.
"It's not what sets us apart but what brings us together that's important. How we resist the forces that are intent on separating us is what defines us. How we recover from past transgressions is what carries us forward. Ladies' Tailor takes a resolute look at stumbling and making amends, at holding close and letting go and at turning back in order to move on," says Hajela.
This is a gripping and deeply moving story about reviving humanity in inhuman times and it keeps you floating in the emotions.
Priya Hajela is a fiction writer who lives in Pune and Goa with her husband and two dogs. Her son is a journalist and her daughter is in college in the US. She graduated with an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College in Vermont in 2017 after a 22-year career in the corporate world.
She has written and published several short stories - "An Affair", "The Tattoo Artist" and "Daughters' Revenge". She also writes regular lifestyle features for The Daily Guardian, Delhi.