A Talibanized mujahideens love child with his Christian lover is being brought up by a Hindu vegetable vendor. A globetrotting professor and a mushaira-loving Urdu editor cope with cultural and ideological barriers in a tale of star-crossed lovers. The first and second wives of a businessman hatch a diabolic plot to prevent their husband from taking a new wife. A painters unusual bond with his dead mother plays havoc with his personal life.
In Irshad Kadirs debut collection of stories, these and other tales, set in modern Pakistan, represent the diversified social cluster of the country and puncture the unidimensional idea of it in the non-Pakistani imagination. These tales explore themes of ambition, iniquity and individual yearnings. The characters range from feudal landowners and conscience-stricken Taliban to metropolitan beggars, frustrated housewives and women defiantly striking out on their own. Violence in pastoral surroundings, a providential encounter on the Net or in a Victorian market, the vagaries of an unequal love bond or a rare moment in a Karachi slum Clifton Bridge: Stories of Innocence and Experience from Pakistan offers a fascinating glimpse into contemporary Pakistani society and of the people who inhabit it.