“Shehla swerves the car into their driveway and closes the gate behind her firmly, grateful that neither the Aunty’s guard nor the neighbor herself are anywhere in sight. A folded paper stands perilously balanced between the beams of the gate. Shehla snatches it, inspecting its contents. It’s the same invitation she receives every Tuesday except this time there’s a new line that she’s never seen before. ‘Assalam u Alaikum Mrs. Saqib, you are cordially invited to the weekly recitation of the Qur’an at Bungalow 99 tomorrow at 4:00pm. Together we shall pray for the Hidayat of our families and the success of our nation to bring change.’
Hidayat. Guidance. As if Shehla has lost her path. Shehla crushes the paper in her fist, realizing too late that someone may have seen her. She throws the crumpled ball into her bag and runs inside.”
Change is A-Coming
The paths of a submissive housewife and a radical columnist collide on the pages of a weekly magazine, transforming a simple woman into a threat to her new employer’s reputation.
When Shehla accepts a job offer against the wishes of her scrupulous mother and without the encouragement of her passive husband, change is in the air. Pakistanis rally to overthrow a corrupt political administration and restlessness furrows into Shehla’s dull existence.
The letters she secretly writes to a radical magazie columnist begin as an innocent quest of self-discovery but soon become a way to expose social injustices. As Shehla awakens, so does a country. But when her actions threaten the reputation of her employer, has she gone too far?
Ayesha lives in Norway with her husband and two beautiful daughters. She was raised in Pakistan and worked for several years in Islamabad before moving to Norway, where she currently has a day-job as head of a product team. She steal snippets of time to write at her kitchen table. Earlier this year she won a bursary for Jericho Writer’s Self-Edit Your Novel course. Her work has been longlisted in the Bath Novel Award 2021 and 2022, and shortlisted in Jericho’s Pitch Perfect competition recently. Her short story THE FLY also found its way in the top 7% of 2022’s Bridport Short Story Competition.