Interview with Arissa from Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah
Shaila: Thought I’d never see you again.
Arissa: You’re never going to get rid of me. I will haunt your days and nights!
Shaila: But I didn’t kill you in the novel.
Arissa: Yeah, but you told someone there is no sequel to Saffron Dreams.
Shaila: There isn’t but at least you are in one of my books. Many characters never see the light of day.
Arissa: That’s true. Now that I have you here, I do have some questions for you.
Shaila: Shoot away.
Arissa: Why do you hate me so much?
Shaila: What do you mean?
Arissa: You were cruel to me in the book. Killed my husband, had me attacked, and gave my child a rare abnormality. To top it all off, you gave me a demon for a mother.
Shaila: I also gave you two divine parents-in-law and a great husband for three years.
Arissa: Granted but still my character had her fare share of burden to bear. You created me but I had to endure it all.
Shaila: True, but I have been told, your character bore the brunt well.
Arissa: I could have had a better life.
Shaila: Yes but lessons that were told through your life could not have been effective any other way.
Arissa: Can I ask you for a favor? Next time, can you be a little bit gentler to your character?
Shaila: Can’t say I can keep that promise.
Arissa: Why not?
Shaila: The next book is about the street children of Pakistan and promises to be a real tearjerker.
Shaila: How about I ask you a few questions now?
Arissa: Ask away.
Shaila: Why were you such a freakish planner in the novel?
Arissa: You gave that trait a big boot, didn’t you? Didn’t follow any of my plans.
Shaila: No, I didn’t. I decided you needed some unexpected twists in your life to throw you off kilter. Was losing the veil hard for you?
Arissa: It was a tough choice and made me realize that my decisions were larger than myself and were dictated by my unique circumstances.
Shaila: Is it a good choice, leaving the veil behind if you opt to live in the West?
Arissa: I am not certain it is the right choice for all veil wearers whether they live in the West or East. It is not about how hard you want to fight your battles but also which battles you want to fight. Ultimately it is every individual’s personal decision. I did not fight that battle hard enough because I had other factors in my life to consider. That decision did not come without a price tag, though.
Shaila: What else would you like to share with the readers about Saffron Dreams, Arissa?
Arissa: Saffron Dreams is an important novel to read to understand about the changed identity of ordinary Muslims in post 9/11 America. It is important to understand the working and mindset of Muslims by filtering out the extremism carried out by a small group of people who happened to be followers of the same faith. Condemning all followers of Islam on the basis of the actions of few misguided souls is a grave injustice to society.
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