Windows in the mind

Recently, I read a very good and interesting book , ‘ A Life in Words’ by Ismat Chugtai. It has been translated from Urdu by M Asaduddin. Ismat Chugtai, (1911-1991) is Urdu literature’s most courageous and controversial writer. This book records the events of only a couple of years of her life. She writes about her days in Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow and tells us about one of her teachers, Dr Tucker, who taught English and according to Ismat Chugtai she was like a river overflowing with knowledge. Dr Tucker could speak on any issue under the sun and little windows opened in one’s mind when one listened to her.

Windows in the mind, such a delightful expression and so expressive.

This reminded me of a book of short stories by Arthur Gordan called ‘ Through many windows’. He tells us about his aunt who had been the founder of Girls Scouts of America. She had told him, ‘ Each of us looks out on Life through windows of our own choosing, and each of must try to interpret the scenes and images that come into view’.

Ismat Chugtai’s book opened a window to a different world in a different time- the life of girls and women in those days and their struggles to achieve their dreams- a life so different and so same.


3 Replies to “Windows in the mind”

  1. Ismat Chugtai sounds like a very interesting woman. Your post inspired me to look up more information about her. Chugtai certainly seems to have been prepared to talk about the lives of Indian women in ways that challenged the male-dominated society in which she lived. I love the “windows in the mind” expression – it really does encapsulate so well the notion of understanding in a learning context, of things falling into place. I shall look out for this book 🙂

    1. Thanks Peggy, I loved that expression. We learn something every day. It is fun, now with the internet we can find out something about anything we are interested in. I too look up about anything I find interesting.Chugtai wrote in Urdu, I hope there are English translations. Lakshmi

      1. Oh, indeed the internet is marvelous for our ongoing education, isn’t it! I thought I saw an English translation of the Chugtai book in a list … I hope I did! – I shall take another look 🙂

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