Wound Collectors
Nuzhat Aziz

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Synopsis

Wound Collectors is a compilation of short stories talking about the rights of women, their interpretations and significance in the modern world. While Saira is shown as a woman blinded by her first love, in spite of being a victim of the triple Talaaq system; it also reveals the deep understanding of the meaning of talaaq and khulah as is explained in the Quran. The short stories are woven in a way so as to interpret a woman’s stand in Islam, where her rights are misrepresented and in a way misinterpreted by a section of the community claiming to be the flag bearers of the religion.

The other stories speak about inheritance as accepted or opposed in Islam and the conflict between the modern and the old school of thought. There is also a constant conflict with the meaning of Jihad and the misinterpretation of the same. At a time when the global scenario is changing, where Islam is being portrayed as a religion of hatred and terrorism, where to speak your mind or take a religious stand labels you as a bigot; the stories of these young people will reflect a religion which is practical, scientific and liberal.

However, it is important to point out, that all the stories are a work of fiction — but have been inspired by people with whom I have interacted with at some point; or others who have touched my life in some form or the other. The issues are also not spoken in isolation but are woven through events and incidents through stories. So where you meet Shahid who resorts to the triple Talaaq system to divorce his wife on the night of his nikaah; you will also meet Saira who exercises her right of Khulah — a not so often discussed right of a woman in Islam.

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Reviews by the community

Navya Yedavilli

Makes an absolutely good read because there are no redundancies -- language or usage. No extra flab of verbosity. Simply written so that it strikes a chord with the reader with using simple vocabulary. It is here that the author impresses the reader -- how simple words are woven together into a gripping and thought provoking story

Oct 13 '14
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Naveen Gupta

Fabbbulous!! Gave an entirely different viewpoint.. keep up the good work Nuzhat. All the best.

Sep 12 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you Naveen.

Sep 12 '14
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Suman Ghosh

A beautifully written set of three stories. The prose is elegant and the narrative simple, direct and nuanced. The characters come to life through traits and gestures that show the author's gift of observation. The stories display a remarkable ability to handle difficult subjects without emotional excess. These stories are important because they are stories of our time. They display an understanding of the most basic of human feelings, love, hatred, jealousy, fervour, loyalty and so much more, and communicate simply, movingly and without judgement. Publishing a full set of stories would bring new life to Indian writing in English.

Aug 06 '14
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Aug 01 '14
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Jahnavi Chintakunta

Nuzhat Aziz, the stories are wonderful. Loved all of them. But I found some conversations in Urdu, which were difficult to read. If you had provided some translation below the dialogues, it would have been better. However, the content,creativity and story telling are awesome.

Jul 24 '14
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Ayesha Aziz

This young lady's work seems to be very sensitive and creative which brings a tear to the eye or a smile to the lips.Your work reminds me of Gulzar Khushwant Singh and M.J.Akbar.Your characters reveal a very profound feeling which enables the readers to incult the interest of Urdu literature its Tahzeeb and Tamadun which is very close to Zindagi. Truely speaking this piece is bold and well written in modern times.

Jul 21 '14
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Ambreen Aziz

A well constructed piece with great characters.Looking forward to more of such stories.

Jul 19 '14
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Divya

Heart warming and thought provoking. First thing that comes to my mind is the strong individual ladies in all the stories. These are passionate for love and life and are unapologetic for what they want. I was reminded of Sharat Chandra stories with strong female lead and raising social issues like strong fanatic fundamentals, patriarch systems.

Jul 09 '14
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Kalimur Rahman

Something different and very thought provoking ! Entertaining and simultaneously bringing forth facts worth reflecting upon.

Jul 03 '14
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Shriela

All the stories unveil sensitive human beings, who are living examples of courage.They embody what Ernest Hemingway had
spelt out - "courage is grace under pressure".
The women are faced with different situations, very believable, very real-lifelike, which we may have experienced ourselves.
Story 1 introduces us to a startling new meaning of 'jihaad' which is - "smiling in tough moments, struggling for good deeds,
keeping patience,taking care of the old, forgiving". We learn that jihaad is all-consuming, yet non-violent and super-constructive.
Story 2 portrays Saira's longing for Shahid, even though she says "Kubool hai" to make Gibran the man in her life.
The trials and tribulations that she faces are real, as she made her final decision.
Story 3 elaborates on "life being snatched away in one brutal blow" and as Jameela escapes into a better world, we can trace
the battle in her mind, and we can fathom how difficult it was for her to make that final decision.
Being stories they do have a beginning, a middle and an end. They spark off our interest and wind up at the right time,
iI would say, so that we do not have to strain ourselves. But it does set your mind ticking...and there are learnings too....
Mustering up courage is tough and, taking a deliberate, calculated decision is tougher....

Jul 03 '14
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Uday Satpathy

One hell of a good book. Keep writing... you'll go a long way.

Jul 01 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Uday... Do ask your friends to read and comment as well :)

Jul 02 '14
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Aman Ali

of course this should be published ..and I will be the first one to buy a copy..one of the finest books I've come across .. very nicely dealt with delicate topics...

Jun 29 '14
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Intikhab Ahmed

Enjoyed reading the stories....eagerly waiting to read many more.

Jun 29 '14
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Swasti Chatterjee

Four women - While I wept with Khurram's sister and his wife, I was taken aback by the love that Saira had for Shahid. Jameela's Metiabruz shanty and her escapades with Imran made me pity her. Why did she have to marry that old fanatic? The author brings to you a sister, a lover and a wife, who desire for a certain kind of freedom - a freedom that might not be something that you and I desire for everyday. Theirs’ is a different fight, a different world. And it impresses how the author has gone beyond that burqa clad woman to discover her desires, her aspirations, her love and her deep and dark secrets. Also, the subtle mentions of ghararas, ittar, zarda, shalwar kameez and muhallah tell you about a faith that is so beautiful and aesthetic.

Jun 29 '14
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Zia-ul-haq

Nice work.

Jun 29 '14
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Yashasvi Mishra

Her stories paint a world beyond the boundaries of diverse belief systems, far away from the world where you & I experience the mundane plane of life unfold and see her "the perfect woman" around us, in different roles doing the same old things, we see them like how we wish to see, sometimes far far away from their real, imperfect, identity…and their desires….yet as we get closer and the plots in the stories unfold, we see the layers in the characters slowly setting in, we see the world Nuzhat paints is perhaps not so far away…its somewhere there in the intimate space between the dilemmas and decisions of a woman…every woman…or perhaps most of them.

While there are three stories…about three different women...woven within the frame work and grammar of a conservative Muslim social design… I was left with an impression that Sitara, Saira and Jameela…somewhere converge into a single universal thought…of breaking free…where somehow being free means so different to each one of them and they live it in their own little ways.

The idea of breaking free from a pattern of behavior that conforms to a certain conservative social framework and exploring the space beyond norms, beyond expectations, beyond how the world around her wishes she should be, is prominent and grows as the stories unfold. It makes the reader admire these women for their instincts for their real imperfect identities, and sometimes love them for who they are and not who they should be.

They are imperfect like you and me, not a princess, not an angel, not a fairy. The stories give a glimpse into the intimate worlds of these women, into their conflicts, contradictions, fears and intimate desires to make us see there's so much more to them beyond the roles they play…or they're expected to…Sitara, Saira and Jameela are not three but just one .

All three of them represent those diverse, contrasting and sometimes conflicting personas that coexist in a weird harmony inside a woman, rural or urban, beyond geographies, beyond languages, beyond cultures.

Jun 28 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Yashasvi... I am humbled. Thank you for understanding my characters so well.

Jun 28 '14
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Yashasvi Mishra

All three of them represent those diverse, contrasting and sometimes conflicting personas that coexist in a weird harmony inside a woman, rural or urban, beyond geographies, beyond languages, beyond cultures. So in a nut shell, Wound collectors bring out the conflicts, contradictions and imperfection in a woman...which makes her so real...so human...and so liberated even in an apparently restricted social design within a conservative community. While the author has chosen a certain community …their ways...their grammar and their belief system... their world where sometimes the beliefs become larger than humanity, larger than life...but the true spirit of the protagonists in these stories show a strong departure from all of them...towards a more liberal universal thought of breaking free...beyond the confines of the community where these stories unfold. It's a strong metaphorical departure from anything that requires a woman to surrender or conform...towards a world where she could be human...be imperfect...live her desires, her instincts n dwell in her contradictions beyond fears…where her intimate smell is more prominent than her perfume...where her existence beyond the veil could defeat norms...defeat fears and exist freely...effortlessly…Nuzhat’s references to the interpretation of Islam and how the meaning gets maneuvered to misguide and mislead give us a glimpse of the conflicts inside these young men who have the passion but lack the purpose. The misrepresentation of religion and religious ideology leads them to extremist ways and take them away from little joys of a life.

The meaning of Jihad unfolds as we walk with Khurram through his journey only to empathize and feel sad for him and his loss and feel happy at the same time about his retrospective thought process where he discovers what Jihad means at the cost of a happy, peaceful life. There are so many Khurrams in the no man's land between the POK and Indian boundaries. I wish they get to meet Khurram someday or he comes out of the fictional world of his story and reaches out to them. The return of Shahid in the second story made me smile…for I could somehow believe in some surreal world…in a superior reality beyond human thought…where Khurram might have met Shahid and many more Shahids…I am sure about one of them our Shahid who returned.

Jun 28 '14
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Yashasvi Mishra

The meaning of Jihad unfolds as we walk with Khurram through his journey only to empathize and feel sad for him and his loss and feel happy at the same time about his retrospective thought process where he discovers what Jihad means at the cost of a happy, peaceful life. There are so many Khurrams in the no man's land between the POK and Indian boundaries. I wish they get to meet Khurram someday or he comes out of the fictional world of his story and reaches out to them. The return of Shahid in the second story made me smile…for I could somehow believe in some surreal world…in a superior reality beyond human thought…where Khurram might have met Shahid and many more Shahids…I am sure about one of them our Shahid who returned.

These stories leave us with questions more than answers, I wonder if 'Talaq' is just a word as millions of Sairas and Tanveers come to my mind and I wonder if we could ignore their disappointment and grief. There's a Rehmat and a Jehangir inside some of us men and we need to look at the mirror and see if we could find them, check if somewhere they’re still alive and make them fade away…to make way for a new Khurram to return back to life with a thought to make this world a better place…a free space…a world without fear…a world for the real… Its indeed a brave first effort Nuzhat, I could see glimpses of women I met in Manto's and Chugtai's worlds… the three stories have a sense of honesty and innocence in the way they’re told which makes me ignore the possibilities in the structure and form…I’m sure in her journey into the world of stories she’ll reflect and see if making a few plots crisp while detailing the others could transform the rhythm somehow….or may be not…Wish you all the very best…we shall wait to see what you paint next…

Jun 28 '14
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Samiksha Gupta

Firstly, Nuzhat you've got a beautiful name. Now, this book is just so...... ( i'm sorry but i lack appropriate words so as to describe your brainchild ). Gives something to empathize with. Wholly absorbing.. Would love to read the rest of it... You do not get to read such books very often.. Truly fab! Congo!!

Jun 28 '14
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Samiksha Gupta

i just wish the rest of them are available at the earliest possible !!

Jun 28 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks so much Samiksha.. really hope you enjoy the rest of the stories as well... as and when they are available

Jun 28 '14
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Shamya Dasgupta

I liked my old friend Nuzhat’s ‘Wound Collector’, starting with the name of the story and then, mostly, the point she is trying to make, rather successfully. I like the non-judgmental tone, maybe honed by a fair few years as a journalist, and the sense of melancholy. At the same time, I hope she will allow herself to express her thoughts more freely as she develops as a writer, without worrying about the dos and don'ts that journalism has clearly taught her.

Jun 27 '14
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Jun 27 '14
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Abid Hasan

I completed the first chapter and recommend everyone to read it, and especially for those who misinterpret the term 'Jihad' and also for those who wants to know the actual meaning of 'Jihad'. The author has used all the words in a very effective manner and represents the thought process and objective behind using all these lines. In a day to day life we always meet persons like Khurram, Sitara and Akbar but it’s heartbreaking that we are unaware about what they are going through. May, this story provide us with some sense to understand the people and society we are living in. ALLAH BLESS

Jun 26 '14
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minu

I really liked the stories - they are intense and let us peek into the private lives of common women that we may come across in our everyday life. Although it is fiction there is a sense of real-ness in them. The characters in the stories have a hint of hope, some despair and a glimpse of defiance that breaks the cliches that Islam and Muslim women are surrounded with in the recent times. Looking forward to reading the rest of them soon :)

Jun 24 '14
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saif

Nicely written , waiting for more stories from the author. helps clearing a lot of questions unanswered....way to go Nuzhat ..

Jun 23 '14
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Kumar Siddharth

Awesome

Jun 17 '14
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Parvesh Naini

Very Nicely written. Very engaging & good read indeed. I am sure Author has great potential & lot to share/write in days to come.

Jun 16 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks so much Parvesh..

Jun 17 '14
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Sohini Samanta

All 3 stories are interesting, easy to read and at the same time has emotional & social turmoils woven beautifully. The Author has a power to make readers visualize each and every moment, surrounding, reaction & emotions on the face of her characters so clearly. Would really wait for more stories from her.

Jun 16 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Sohini... and I hope you enjoy the rest of the stories as well... as and when they will be available to public

Jun 17 '14
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Jun 14 '14
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Shankar Kumar Chatterjee

Nuzhat is a story born teller. She has captured the intricacies and depths of human emotions of nondescript folks who become victims of unforeseen circumstances and are drawn into a vortex of events on which they have little control. Her protagonists are intensely human. During her narrative and through her words you can almost hear them breathing and feel their heartbeats as you can feel your own. Her writings need to be read in solitude.

Jun 12 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you so much doc!

Jun 13 '14
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Sanjana Parikh

Read the first story. A very interesting beginning and an even more interesting end. However, as a reader, the change in the tense made it difficult for me to keep track. One paragraph was in the past tense and the very next one was in the present tense. I would prefer to read it in the past tense but otherwise really enjoyed the story.

Jun 09 '14
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Sanjana Parikh

As far as the third story is concerned, I just love it. It is extremely interesting

Jun 10 '14
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Sanjana Parikh

I like how well the characters have been described in the second story. The imagery is fantastic but I wish there was less from Ahmed and Zoya's point of view as that reduced the pace of the story and made it extremely long to read. Other than that, I like it.

Jun 10 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Hey Sanjana.. Thanks for the read... Would like you to read the next two stories as well and give me your feedback...

Jun 09 '14
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Uttam Sengupta

I inadvertently clicked on the icon saying I would not like to read further !! Actually I would. I read all the three stories and the author managed to keep the interest and suspense alive. They have a haunting, disturbing quality which linger long after you finish reading. They are fine stories waiting to be told. But in print, I would suggest, more detailing of the place, surroundings, the drudgery, the loneliness etc might make them even more powerful. While the women are the principal characters, a little more attention to the men--chiselling the features to make them sharper--might also help. Overall, a very fine attempt, I would say. I enjoyed reading them.

Jun 08 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you Uttamda... Means a lot to me.. Will definitely look at the detailing that you have highlighted. Need your support always :)

Jun 09 '14
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Mihir Bhanage

Words flow very easily on paper through the author's mind. A sister, a lover and an unfortunate wife caught in the cobwebs of her own doing, take you on a journey of truth and revelations. The play of words is poetic and the build up to each story is brilliant. You find yourself in place of the protagonist complete with the surroundings that the stories take place in. My pick would be Khurram's story for its Gulzar-esque style of unfolding. Waiting for many more of such stories.

Jun 07 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Mihir... humbled!

Jun 09 '14
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Inderjit Singh Paintal

There are muffled voices of suffering and injustice and this other voice in our head that constantly sing an urging chorus...your stories are the chorus the world needs to hear. Look forward to the remaining tales of triumph, grit and gumption...the world needs it now more than ever! Kudos!

Jun 07 '14
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Inderjit Singh Paintal

Nuzhat, two of my stories here would interest you as they touch upon the same subject.

Jun 10 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Cannot agree more... I have always thought we are all one and there is nothing which divides us.. having said that.. there are so many instances which breaks my heart... Through my writings I have tried to break the myth/presumptions people have... I am sure the rest of the stories will reflect the feelings more clearly... Need the support of people like you... :)

Jun 07 '14
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Inderjit Singh Paintal

My humble suggestion is to deny the feeling of being 'us'...the greatest of souls have only taught the oneness of all, the day the divisive and separatist thought disappears, the need for clarifications and creating awareness will also become redundant...good writing is the most effective and sane way of dealing with it

Jun 07 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Inderjit... I really hope the stories make a difference.. in how people perceives us...

Jun 07 '14
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navedanjumh@gmail.com

The injury to all the protagonists in Wound Collectors hurts you too. You keep thinking about the characters and would want to look back over. It haunts you. From the moment you read you know that this story (thats for all the stories) is one of those that I would devour in one sitting…Intense ! Where were you all this while...you are a winner!

Jun 07 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you Mr Anjum for your kind words... :)

Jun 07 '14
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Jun 06 '14
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zeenat ahmed

A very well written piece. Would love to read many more stories. Hats off to the author.

Jun 06 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you so much... Need your support.. :)

Jun 07 '14
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Gunjan1982

An excellent piece of work.Eagerly waiting to read some more stories. Thumbs up to the author.

Jun 06 '14
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Saquib Shahnawaz

looking forward for the next set of chapters

Jun 05 '14
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Poulami Mukherjee

Wounds Collectors is a wonderful read. The stories paint a very realistic picture. The author is successful in providing a different perspective on Islam and the often misunderstood notion of Jihad. The women characters in each of the stories stand out in their own way and leave behind an everlasting impression. You keep thinking about them even after you have finished reading. Would want to read more such stories.

Jun 05 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Poulami for understanding my characters... and yes hope you enjoy the other stories as well :)

Jun 07 '14
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Sudha Menon

Riveting, compelling and intense, Nuzhat Aziz's Wound Collectors offers fascinating insights into the world of Muslim women, their hopes, aspirations and their dreams, often unspoken and unrealized. The women in her book could be anyone- your child's best friend's mother or the woman who sits next to you in the train on the way to work, only her fingers and eyes visible through her burka. She could even be the girl from your college days who arrived in a burkha but emerged within minutes in a short mini, the burkha safely kept away in the locker. If you have ever wondered about the lives of these women, their realities within their own homes and families, this book offers you a look in that world. If you have ever felt uncomfortable walking past a group of bearded Muslim youth hanging around in the dark alley near your home or if your heart has gone out to Muslim women mourning the death of their children in "encounters", you will identify with the women in Nuzhat's stories. Part melancholy, part stoic, part hopeful and part defiant, Wound Collectors is a Muslim woman's take on her religion , the way she thinks it was meant to be, as opposed to how it is being interpreted or viewed in a world fractured by intolerance and suspicion.

Jun 05 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Sudha for understanding and believing in the characters... Hope I am able to shatter the myth people have... Need all your support for the rest of my stories as well :)

Jun 07 '14
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Hetika Sanghani

Lovedd each and every line mentioned in the book...All three stories are heartfelt and make you want to read more and more....Superbly written....Superbly thought of...Nuzhat-You are truly a gifted writer....There are books and then there are heat enticing "WoundCollectors"....Amazingly written...Nuzhat-you have found an admirer in the name of Hetika Sanghani....

Jun 05 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you so much Hetika... just inspires me to write more often

Jun 05 '14
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B S Krishnan

Its a very thought provoking effort especially in these troubled times in our country where there seems to be very little understanding of Islam. It would do a lot to help the Non Muslims gain some insight into this Faith which has added colour and beauty to the diversity of our wonderful country.

Jun 04 '14
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Sarmad

Beautifully written. It feels as if there's another world that co-exists around us, and we're totally unaware. Please continue writing. All the best!

Jun 04 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you so much!

Jun 04 '14
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Anil Sadarangani

Wound Collectors is a "Bloody Good Book!' In the first story, Khurram's angst and his sister's unrest reminded me of the opening of 'Lajja' by Taslima Nasrin. Nuzhat's prose is poetic. The images painted through the words reverberate - you are pulled into the story from the word go. The women are as different as can be yet all are similar. I want to know more about each protagonist and their antagonists. One might not have met or known these women in real life but they exist. The author has tried to capture the spirit of these women in as authentic a manner as possible. In the second story, the ending surprises you and you question the qualities you ascribed to Saira. But she has every right to exercise her rights. its a world that is so different, so alien for me yet so known, so real. the women in these sketches are empowered yet they don't know it. the world revolves around them yet it doesn't. Like Jameela in the last story. So, more power to the author. Keep these coming.

Jun 04 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Humbled!

Jun 04 '14
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Aslam Memon

Very deep and thoughtful! a very interesting take on today's society view.

Jun 03 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Aslam.. and a big thank you for making the cover look so brilliant!

Jun 03 '14
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Meenal Sanjagiri

What an intense read... What an eye opening experience... How simply put by Nuzhat! Love it.. Totally recommending this!

Jun 03 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks Meenal.. Would love to know which ones you enjoyed the most... :)

Jun 03 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks so much Meenal... Would love to know which story you liked in particular

Jun 03 '14
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Shyamsunder Regunathan

Really enjoyed reading it.

Jun 03 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thanks so much Shantheri. Hope you will also like the other stories which will be available soon. Do let me know which story touched you

Jun 03 '14
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Ridhvig

The feel of melancholy as one experiences post reading the poem 'Solitary Reaper' emerges especially after reading the second chapter. Well constructed and the message has been delivered well. Rather than comparing the sayings/thoughts in Holy book as right versus wrong, it allows oneself to give a think on the same. All the best:)

May 30 '14
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Ridhvig

Most welcome!

May 30 '14
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Nuzhat Aziz

Thank you so much for the feedback. Hope the other stories equally deliver the subtle message that it is meant to...

May 30 '14
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About the author

Nuzhat Aziz Follow

I am a journalist by profession and mommy to a 6 year-old hyper boy. This book of short stories reflects the world I come from... It's a journey I started, where I met people and heard their stories. It's a part of me which I now share with you...