Arooshi Sethi reviews Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari (Published by Vintage Books, 2023)
No matter how much the subtitle may persuade you, Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari isn’t a book about feminism and misogyny. It’s a book of dilemmas, reality checks, and resilient hope. Yes, it’s a memoir full of instances of abuse, misogyny, and trauma, yet it’s bringing to its forefront some unadulterated and hidden illustrations of our society. It will make you feel deeply uncomfortable, but read it if you want a peek into how brutal and complex life can be. However, I recommend it with a pinch of salt as it is a long and slow read with inadequate rewards.
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Braving Through Discrimination in Aisha Sarwari’s World
“If you grow up seeing walls every day, at some point, you stop really seeing them.”Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari
Reading Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari was a good reminder that though our generation has become more accepting and liberal, the past isn’t that far back in our rearview mirror just yet. When the author talks about growing up in Uganda in a Konkani family, it does boil your blood to see how proudly people can parade their misogyny in your face. She was taught to be quiet, make close to no noise in her actions, and practically have a presence so faint to not even be registered. Because the opposite was just plain ‘batameezi’.
The Potential of Love
“Yasser and I were together to brave the forces of summers and hate and apathy. Thankfully, we never wanted to leave each other at the same time.”Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari
Love is a complex concept, made even more so after reading this book. Although the decisions and relationship of the author and her husband didn’t match with what I believe in, it provided a new perspective on what love could mean. The more I had a grasp on their relationship, the further it shifted in the next chapter. The sequence and timeline of the instances mentioned in this memoir could be more precise, as it makes for a confusing read. It makes the reader feel as if they’ve been thrown into a dramatic movie scene without any prior context of how they got there.
The memoir also contains many apologies from both; according to the author, both are equally guilty, though the book does not dwell a lot on the parts for which the author feels guilty. It pushes the boundaries of what love is capable of. Can it help you survive through pain? Through sickness? Through life?
“You can never be sure you will figure life out through love alone.”Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari
The Silver Lining of Really Dark Clouds
Although the book is a heavy read, as a reader, it can sometimes feel like you’re a therapist listening to your patient suffer and not being able to help. The author mentions in her epilogue that times weren’t always rough. There are always gaps in between routine life that let one breathe and ground oneself. Glimpses of hope and joy can be found in the darkest of darks, which ultimately help you carry on. Though the author’s depiction of her life may come across as disheartening, it does leave you with hope.
“Life isn’t as perfect as a movie, and you need multiple takes. Sometimes, you don’t always get it right in the final take, but it’s somehow poetic.”Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari
“Pain in adequate quantities is life, but pain in inadequate quantities is hell.”Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari
“Time duped me and confiscated my memories to help erase my pain.”Heart Tantrums by Aisha Sarwari
Have you read this powerful feminist memoir of misogyny and marriage? What do you think of it? Drop a comment below and let us know!