Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Sanober started writing for high-end lifestyle magazines worldwide in 2002. Her professional profile stipulates her experiences as an editor at a leading publishing house in Pakistan, a publicist for a music artist, and a publisher issuing two magazine titles in Dubai.
Besides priding herself as a documentary binging foodie and a crazy cat lady, she is also an active organiser of a few local community meetups. As such, I laid down a few questions about her book, Our Idiosyncrasies: a comic take on desi culture.
Tell us a bit about “Our Idiosyncrasies” and what inspired you to write it?
Sanober: Our Idiosyncrasies is a collection of twelve humorous flash fiction stories and essays. I had written three stories quite some time ago and they got published in a local newspaper. Initially, I decided to write more and compile a book, but life got in the way and after almost ten years, I finally finished what I had planned.
I wasn’t inspired by someone or something in particular. These characters are all around us. The cultural norms that appear normal to us are pretty unusual for the outside world. I just started writing, and one after the other, the ideas kept flowing.
Was highlighting socio-cultural issues a difficulty?
Sanober: I didn’t find it difficult at all. It felt like a casual conversation. It was more in my comfort zone. I wanted the stories to be easy to understand and a fun read without reaching out for the dictionary. It came to me naturally because I guess that’s how my friends and I talk.
Have you personally experienced any of the incidents mentioned in the book?
Sanober: Not just me, but everyone I know or who I have spoken to has experienced something or the other. But, unfortunately, these things are so common in our society that no one finds it impolite to interfere in anyone else’s life. So we need to take a step back and look at what damage these seemingly innocent quirks can cause in other people’s lives and then fix ourselves before we try to fix others.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Sanober: I am a board game enthusiast; I organise board gaming meetups, where I interact with many different people from various backgrounds, cultures and interests. Other than that, I love watching documentaries, listening to music, and learning languages.
Are there any other projects underway?
Sanober: Currently, I am working on something interesting to complement my book and future writings. After that, I have some story ideas, so I intend to keep writing and entertaining people through my work.
By: Khulood Abdul Hadi