Originally published in Urdu as Barf Aashna Parindey, this sensitively written novel traces the journey of a family in Kashmir and primarily the life of their daughter, Sheba, as she studies and discovers her own path. Sheba wishes to be free, just as the birds that she likes observing, but understands the need to live within social conventions and accept life’s responsibilities.
Exploring women’s freedom, the mother-daughter relationship and social mores, the author skilfully interweaves several poignant narratives. While studying at university, Sheba takes on the compassionate task of looking after her professor, when he is afflicted by a stroke. She engages in this humanitarian role with her college batch-mates and continues alone after they move on, in pursuit of their professional and personal goals.
This deftly translated novel depicts the changing times in Kashmir, from a rural to a more urban life, the impact of modern thinking, and through its portrayal of female characters explores their compassion and resolve, as well as their search for self-fulfilment.