This is the story of a starving Spanish teacher in a fearful city of swirling rumors and innuendos, avarice and desire, plotters and political perfidy, ominous prophesies and palpable emotions brings Rukshunda Anandan to Kabul in 2012, to a continuing war that has not still ended, where the world knows that once upon a time love blossomed in this land of poppy flowers and a warrior-poet spoke of Sirat-al-Mustaqeem.
But there is no straight path before Rukshunda or her brother Raul. Nor for their mother Uma, a newly married 18-year-old, who had come to Kabul with stars in her eyes and left the city with a bag full of confusion, unable to distinguish the right from the wrong. This brings the daughter back to the city, searching for the backstory of her mother’s lover. And it also brings her son to this strife-torn land, chasing a long-ago happiness trail.
The story is about a time when Fear could be held in the cup of one’s palm, smelt and felt throbbing like a heart still beating. It is a story of Fear as a very young woman confronts a slowly dying city. It is a story in which all of the characters want to put the ‘halter on stars’ and the storyteller reads poetry, ‘O’ companion! May I tell you the secrets of my heart?’