Author Fatima Bhutto came to Delhi last week for the launch of her memoirs, Songs of Blood and Sword. Belonging to Pakistan’s most famous political dynasty, Fatima lives in Karachi. While she spoke to HT City, we couldn’t help but notice her blood-red nail polish, a designer handbag and a copy of The International Herald Tribune.
On wearing a saree at her book launch
It seems Indians are unaware that Pakistani women also wear sarees. But the same ignorance is on other side too. We’re so curious about each other but don’t have access to each other’s nations. So when people said that what a nice Indian dress I was wearing, I said, “My grandmother wore sarees all her life. My mother, too, wears sarees. You see,Pakistani women put on shalwar kameezes during the day and sarees in the evening.”
On hating Facebook
The idea that this company owns everything you put on it is ridiculous. I don’t know why it doesn’t scare more people. And then for people to spend hours looking at other people’s pictures, reading other people’s messages and looking at other people’s friends... scary.
On the best thing about Karachi
I love our Sunday bazaar. It’s held near Sea View (beach), in Defence (a posh neighbourhood). Every Sunday, Itvaar Bazaar pops up at a place where there is nothing through the week. The booksellers arrive to sell old New Yorkers and Vanity Fairs and if you’re lucky you can get rare old books for Rs 100! While I go straight for the books and magazines, my mother looks around for handicrafts. I recently got a first edition Graham Greene. In first-hand bookshops, you only get Kite Runners.
(Laughs) I’m boring that way. Because Karachi is a bit of schizophrenic city… you know, it’s a very large city but you are limited to certain neighbourhoods… so if you go to a party, you see the same 200 people, and after about three of such parties, it gets dull. I prefer having friends over dinner.
On her writing schedule
I was writing this book for two years. I would wake up at 8 am, write till noon, take a break, go back to it at five or six in the evening and write till eight in the night. Sometimes I would be in front of the computer the whole day. The thing is, you have to write everyday. You have to sit there. You need to have the discipline.
It’s my second trip here. I went to Khan Market. I saw the Humayun’s Tomb. Now I want to hop onto the Metro train. They say it’s great.