Little children and their parents were left awestruck on Thursday evening when Rukhsana Khan arrived at the One up Library and Experience Centre in Amritsar to speak about her latest novel and life. In fact, this also happens to be her first visit to India, which made her all the more ecstatic.
Wanting Mor is a fiction by Khan that is inspired by a true story coming all the way from an orphanage in Afghanistan. When Khan came across a report about a young girl staying at the orphanage, which she also sponsors, she decided to write a book on it.
"The novel is set in Afghanistan and is about a young girl whose mother dies. Her father then remarries, but her stepmother does not want to accept the child and so, her father leaves her all alone in a marketplace to get rid of her forever. How the girl struggles in life is the pith of the novel," shares Khan, 51.
The writer says it took her a year to write the novel, which was released in 2009. Ever since, the author has received many awards by organisations from across the world. After US, Canada, Italy, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Wanting Mor was published in India in November this year by Duckbill publishing house. In the coming months, the book is set to be published in the UAE as well.
"My family and I feel happy that my novel has received so much love from readers in different countries. It has actually connected people from different cultures, which makes me feel contended," she says.
Rukhsana was born in Lahore and was three years old when her family took off to Canada to make a better living. Her father played a vital role in bringing Rukhsana close to books by bringing her books and ensuring that she read them. By the age of seven, she was steeped into reading. The writer says she began reading on how to write books after she passed out of school. Finally, in 1998, Rukhsana came out with her first book and thereafter, rolled out many picture and storybooks for children.
"Had my father not inspired me towards reading and had I not taken interest in them, my life would have been very dull today," shares Khan, adding, "Books have added a charm to my life. If I am successful, it is because of these."
Rukhsana points out that despite living in Canada all along, she is connected to Islamic culture. Therefore, most of her books present stories that are set in Islamic cities and when readers from different cultures read them, they understand the culture better. Rukhsana says that she "aims to shed the negative perception about Islam from the minds of people belonging to other cultures through her writing".
"Books are our best friends. They will always take us up and will never let us down. So, parents should keep their children connected to books as my father did. Books silently offer many fruits," she signed off.