I love reading books, be it hard covers or kindle, but I cant write about them even if my life depended on it. This will remain a mystery, I love writing about many things, but when it comes to art and books my brain gets jumbled up, perhaps too overwhelmed with the thoughts which seek to take form through words. In the end, I have noway of expressing myself, or to explain how I feel about that book or piece of art, even-though my mind remains tremendously inflated with impression.

When I was called by my dear friend, Erum Masood, for tea with Shireen Talat Maqsood I must confess I was nervous, and a little bit reluctant. However, meeting Shireen was memorable. Her aura is charming and being at her place felt like home.

Who is Shireen Maqsood? She is a writer and an artist or an artist and writer… sometimes other things, too. What struck me the most was her individuality, an artist is nothing with out that and she had plenty. The art, hers and others', that occupied her space also personified her own artistic sensibility. This very trait lead to the encapsulation of her life in a book which she wrote as a gift to herself on her 50th birthday.

Shireen didn't just write for her self, she knew that this book is not just her story but the story of almost every women in Pakistan. At the core, with all our differences, we are the same. Her book is a sort of transformational log from her first memories to her very current experiences; how she grew into the woman, the person she is now. I just read a chapter but the simplicity of the words amalgamated with the relatability of feelings and situations hit home.

This book is something one should experience. To grasp it you can read a few lines and it will be hard for you to let go. There is no drama, just true simplicity and at some point nostalgia, that made me feel warm. It also vaguely reminded me of Virginia Woolf, though I do feel Virginia's autobiography was quite complex compared to Shireen Maqsood's.

The late afternoon tea with Shireen Maqsood was nothing less than delightful. She is a lively woman with a spark we all wish to attain in some point in life. The book is yet to be published but I will make sure I grab a copy before I regret not reading the rest of the captivating stories. The book is titled "Reflections of a Pakistani Woman" and is scheduled to be released in September 2016.

I want to end with a beautiful thought by Pablo Neruda:

“There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. This other reality is always sending us hints, which without art, we can’t receive.”