In the wake of the Partition, a new country is born. Millions of refugees pour into Pakistan, torn from the lives they have left behind and reeling from the horrors they have witnessed on their hazardous journey. In this welter of chaos and deprivation, Sajidah and her father find their way to the Walton refugee camp, uncertain of their future in what is to become their new home.
Sajidah longs to be reunited with her love Salahuddin, who has promised to find her. But her journey out of the camp takes an altogether unforeseen route and she is drawn into the lives of another family—refugees like herself. She is wary of the men in the family, particularly Nazim, the eldest son who talks about a people’s revolution and whose gaze lingers over her. But it is with the dynamic women of the household in whose lives she becomes intertwined: the passionately beseeching Saleema, her domineering mother Khala Bi, the kind but forlorn Amma Bi, and the feisty young housemaid Taji. The dreams and hopes of these women have been severed, just like the land they live in, but their spirit still sparks with life despite the societal strictures that threaten to bind and crush them altogether.
With subtlety and insight, Khadija Mastur conjures a moving portrait of women navigating their way through a society that feels threatened by them.