Author(s): Azhar Abidi
In Karachi, Bilqis Ara Begum, matriarch of the Khan family, prepares for the wedding reception of her only son Samad. The family has gathered and the servants have been given their instructions. All is in order, but Bilqis's heart is heavy. Her son has married Kate, an Australian, in Melbourne, where they both now live. They have returned to Karachi only for a visit, so that the family can meet Samad's bride. And although Bilqis finds herself liking Kate, she knows she is losing her son. She longs for the traditional wedding that might have been-to the Pakistani girl of her own choosing. Change is afoot in Pakistan. It's 1985 and the mullahs and the military are in control. Russia has invaded neighbouring Afghanistan and a freedom movement is beginning in Kashmir. Outside influences are eroding traditional ways. And many upper-class families are emigrating or sending their children overseas, drawn to stability and opportunity in foreign lands. Bilqis visits Samad and Kate in Australia after the birth of their baby. But while Samad tries to persuade her to come and live in Melbourne, he finds himself yearning for the life he left behind in Pakistan. Bilqis knows she can never leave her home. But when she discovers her servant girl Mumtaz is secretly meeting Omar, a freedom fighter from Kahmir-in a tryst that threatens to destroy the girl's honour, and possibly her life-Bilqis faces a dilemma that forces her to examine her own convictions. Azhar Abidi brings to life the fabric of upper class life in Pakistan in Twilight, a story about tradition and change, about maternal bonds and loss, about beliefs and convictions, and about true love.