Questions with a Qatari: Abdulla from Love Comes Later
By Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
For the Hero Worship week, hosted by Vallory V on her blog, the assignment was for all the writers to interview a character from a book they’ve written. Here we have 5 minutes and 5 questions with the protagonist from my latest release, Abdulla.
MR: You must get this a lot but, um, where exactly is Qatar?
Abdulla: (laughs). It’s a country the size of Rhode Island, on the top of Saudi Arabia and across from Iran.
MR: So do women have to–?
Abdulla: You don’t have to cover your hair, can drive, and go to as much school as you can test into. You can even drink the tap water if you want to. Perfectly safe.
MR: Wow. So that’s not the Middle East I hear about on CNN.
Abdulla: If that’s where you get your news, you’ve probably got a few other misconceptions about the world.
MR: If women have so many rights in Qatar, then why do they still have to marry their cousins in arranged marriages?
Abdulla: This has to do with society and family trying to protect women and men by assuming that those closest to them know best what they would need in a long-term relationship like marriage. The fact is marriage practices on the whole in Qatar are undergoing a major shift as more and more young people are getting divorced months after their very expensive weddings.
MR: Did you have an arranged marriage?
Abdulla: I had two of them in fact. I’m on my third now. And she’s not Qatari.
MR: Now that’s a story I want to hear!
Abdulla: You’ll have to read the book.
Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love.
A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.
Love Comes Later is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Comes-Later-ebook/dp/B008I4JJES
Author Bio: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion. She has since published five e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace. Most recently, From Dunes to Dior, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. After she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at www.mohanalakshmi.com or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.