‘Heart Tantrums’ – You are who you are despite your battles; not because of them

‘Heart Tantrums’ is a ferocious, piercing, and powerful narration of a Pakistani woman’s struggle with misogyny, abuse, identity, and patriarchy. Published by Penguin Random House India, Aisha Sarwari, a public speaker, writer and women’s rights advocate, narrates her life from childhood to battling the complicated layers of love and relationship. Written in three parts, Heart Tantrums is about turning the lens inwards into the dysfunction of families, led by disease and death, but also fault-lined by rigid gender-roles.

In order to be able to survive, Aisha Sarwari was told, love and devoted acts of service will always light the way. These, however, become the very reason of her complete unravelling. Heart Tantrums artfully describes the scatter of catastrophic losses – the loss of her father in early adolescence; leaving behind her family home in East Africa; and trying to fit into a completely different culture in Lahore after marriage.

In 2017, when Aisha first held her husband Yasser Latif Hamdani’s brain MRI against the light, she began to also lose the man she loved to a personality-altering brain tumour. She could not have imagined Pakistan could become like living in a state of self-exile for the couple that married for country – Aisha Sarwari, a proud Pakistani feminist and career professional, and Yasser Latif Hamdani, a human rights lawyer turned internationally acclaimed biographer of Pakistan’s founding father, M A Jinnah. Often, they both failed to play for the team, but their fight for belonging was sometimes punctuated by the warmth of parenting and the joy of extraordinary friendships.

Oscillating between being a good and a bad woman, Aisha has been adamant that the hard knocks of life would not define her. She is who she is, despite of all the battles and struggles she has had and how she has overcome them.

Heart Tantrums rejects the idea that love and domestic servitude saves the day. It is a captivating memoir of an immigrant woman finding her way in the dark through a raw and magnificently well-told story of grief, hybrid identity, immigration woes, systemic family oppression and caregiver fatigue. It is a necessary work of art calling out the frailty of human psychology.

Editorial Desk
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