Home » Up Close & Personal » Up Close & Personal with Dilruba Z. Ara, author of ‘A List of Offences’

Up Close & Personal with Dilruba Z. Ara, author of ‘A List of Offences’

Dilruba Z. AraDilruba Z. Ara was born in Bangladesh. Nurtured on Greek mythology by her father, and hearing Indian fairy  tales as bedtime stories from her mother, Dilruba had her first story published when she was eight years old. While in university at the age of twenty, she met  and married her husband, a Swedish Air Force officer, and moved to Sweden, where she obtained degrees in English, Swedish, Classical Arabic and linguistics. She now teaches Swedish and English in Sweden. An accomplished, exhibited artist, her paintings have been used as the covers for the Bangladeshi, Greek, and U.S. editions of A LIST OF OFFENCES.

Visit her website at www.dilrubazara.com.

Between the Covers 0

Dilruba Z. Ara

The thing about me is that …..I would rather spend time with my teen-age students than be in the teacher’s room. I can be hopelessly playful.

A List of OffencesFirst thing when I get up in the morning, ….. I thank God for letting me live another day. Then I go and get the newspaper.

The most important thing in my life is ….. my two children, Navid and Tania.

I love to travel to …..  well, different places depending on the season. During winter, I travel to warmer places, and during summer I prefer to go to places with a moderate temperature. But when I write, I travel inward, no matter what the season is.

In my spare time, I ….. paint, I cook, I meet friends, and I go to the gym

One thing I have learned from life is …..  that we take everything for granted. We’re always planning for the future. When the present has gone, we regret it. We should not forget to live in the present.

My only mission on this earth is …..  to bring about change in the lives of girls and women who are less fortunate than I am.

One little known fact about me that might surprise you is …. well, when my parental family were living in  Dhaka, Eden Girls’ College Campus, I together with some girls from the dormitory kidnapped the gardener’s daughter. She was only twelve years old, and was about to be married off to a fifty-year old man. We hid the girl in the hostel, and wrecked the place where the wedding was going to be.

My favorite time of day….. is when night segues into morning and the trees are all so still, and the sky is slowly taking up the morning light.

I love to write about …..  social issues, feelings and emotions. In three words ‒ love, loss and grief.

The most difficult aspect of writing is ….. that once it’s done, it’s no longer yours. Anyone can read it, and judge it.

My most favorite aspect of writing is …..  as long as you are at it, it’s only yours, and you can do whatever you want with the words.

When I became a published author for the first time ….. I really didn’t feel anything special ‒ the process of getting there had been more exciting. Up until the book was published, I always introduced myself as a teacher. But when the book came out, my friends began to refer to me as a writer, and gradually I grew into that new identity. My writing has not changed much ‒ I am probably more aware now of what the book market wants. As a published writer, I have easy access to other people in the same line.

The inspiration behind my book comes from …..  real events. When you live inside a society, you tend to be blind to its realties. But when I moved to Sweden, and I started to look at my society with different eyes. I began to evaluate it. I also began to question myself why Bengali/Indian girls allowed themselves to be black-mailed into accepting their lot. One of my friends from Bangladesh was in love with a Hindu boy, but her family forced her to marry her cousin. Ultimately, she stood up, divorced him, and now lives in Sweden with another man. Her family has disowned her. Then Fadime, a Kurdish girl, was murdered, in Sweden by her father, and it occurred to me that the main problem is the inherited mindset of traditional families ‒ it follows you wherever you go. This perverse trend is becoming a global illness. Girls from traditional families are bullied, beaten and, in the worst cases, even murdered if they try to break with accepted family patterns, no matter where they are. But it’s worse in developing countries, where the state is not concerned for your welfare. That welfare depends on your family, and very often families misuse their power. I wanted to highlight that, through the story of Daria.

The most asked question about my book is ….. what prompted me to write it? Well, I hope I’ve answered that.

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