‘The Night Diary’ is set around this time of partition when the Britishers finally leave the country and India gains its independence against British rule and is to be separated into two different countries. The book is written in an epistolary format where Nisha, the protagonist of the story, writes to her mother in a journal which she received on her twelfth birthday. Her Mama died during Nisha’s birth, so now, its only her, Papa, her brother and her grandmother. She writes to her Mama everyday and notes down every single incidence. Sometimes she questions her mother if things would have been different had she been alive, she writes to her expressing how her father’s behaviour towards her brother have changed over the years and asks her which side she is supposed to take. She also tells her about the kids who chase her and her brother and bully them. Nisha is innocent and has a lot of questions that are still unanswered even in today’s generation.
Along with her family, this twelve-year-old had to witness religious riots, people getting killed right in front of their eyes, hoping and praying that they don’t have to see the same fate. Even though fear and tension are in the rise, Nisha doesn’t forget to write to her mother even in this chaos. She notes down every change she sees with her innocent eyes—the grief, confusion, tension, fear, anger, distress; she writes about the horrors of the reality.
‘The Night Diary’ is a very powerful book and asks questions that are still left unanswered. Hiranandani’s writing style is lyrical and evokes a sense of grief and misery in the narrative told through the perspective of Nisha.
This book is so damn good! My heart got cut open; my tears could not stop till the last page. And I couldn't leave out a word. Yes, it is that good. The writing style is mesmerizing, simple and full of emotions. The story has been fictionalized as is mentioned by the author at the end of the book based on the real life events that happened during the time of partition in 1947. It is so beautifully written that I became aware of my own life so many times while reading the lines feeling so grateful about being here being able to read this book with all the comforts of being alive. I broke down many a times; had to stop myself from reading now and then in order to ease the pain I felt while reading the painful journey of survival faced by the family. I just cannot talk about the story and the characters without choking up. So I am leaving out that part. Kudos to the author. Easily the best read of January 2019👍
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani is one of the most poignant stories I've ever read. And the most beautiful thing is that it does it without you really knowing about it. It is a seemingly simple story that breaks your heart one crack at a time, but also has hope ready to make sure you smile through those tears.
The story is about 12-year-old Nisha, who starts writing a diary to her deceased mother from her 12th birthday in July, just before the partition. It charts how this girl, who is still 12 years of age by the time she comes to India, has grown up in every other sense.
The language is beautiful, effortless, capturing Nisha's innocence beautifully. The characters are beautifully sketched. The cover feels so beautiful and precious too.
The urge to reach out and hug Nisha and Amil increased with every page I turned. It will do that to you too, no matter how emotionally strong you are. And take my word, that is one experience you cannot miss as a reader.
Nisha, an agnostic, is a young twelve-year-old who believes that her dream of living a perfect life will come true shortly. On her twelfth birthday, her cook, Kazi, a Muslim, gifts her a diary and asks her to write about her experiences. Grabbing the opportunity, Nisha decides to write letters to her deceased mother narrating her daily routine. Religiously following the advice of her most loved elder in the family, she decides to write. It is through these letters that we get to know how complicated her life is. Being a child, she has little understanding of what is going on with her country. But her observation skill and the mature mind do not hold back her opinions. Her first entry in her diary is dated July 14th, 1947. She describes how chaotic her city has become. Gradually we get momentary access into the life of this little girl who deciphers some of the bitter truths of life. ‘The Night Diary’ is not only journal entry, but also a poignant tale of survival of a family. It throws light on the relationship between a father and a daughter, the relationship between siblings and the relationship with Destiny.
Fine-tooth comb editing, subtle yet apt cover and flawless print quality make this book a blockbuster for me. It has everything I had hoped for.
The Night Diary is a tragic yet beautiful book that tells you the story of the Partition through the eyes of a 12 year old.
It is told in Nisha's pov as diary entries written in the form of letters to her deceased mother.
The story begins at July 1947 just a month before independence from the British Raj, when Nisha receives a diary from Kazi, the family's cook as her 12th birthday gift.
Quiet girl Nisha, starts filling it up regularly at night when everybody went to sleep. She starts adding even the most small events of her daily life, like what she did, where she went and what she cooked with Kazi. She in her dairy, also describes how the world around her has started to change as the date of Partition draws near.
Nisha's father was a Hindu and her mother was a Muslim but now they were considered to be a Hindu family. And as the day drew near, the violent incidents increased against Hindus. It was no longer safe for Nisha and her twin brother Amil to walk to school. It was no longer safe to even stay at home. And At this point finally her father and grandmother decides that it's time to leave. Leave the only place they have ever known as home. Leave Pakistan as a refugee to the New India that came to be.
The diary entries were innocent and heartbreaking. It was tragic to see how the very people who once lived in love and harmony could drastically be so hateful to each other. Above all the book explores the search for home and identity of an young girl in a world that has been divided into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
The character development of Nisha is fundamental to this book and it is very well done. The writing is easy and the descriptions are vivid to keep to engaged to the story.
(I voluntarily reviewed a physical copy of the book for For The Love of Fictional Worlds)
Its the year of Partition – the greed and the selfish needs of the powerful leaders have displaced millions of common men, women and children who instead of celebrating the freedom from oppression had to leave not only the place they were born but also most of their wordly posessions. But the most severe effect was the fact that every human being came to be identified with their religion. People who were once friends, close like family turned on each other just because their religion and customs weren’t the same.
The Night Diary is the journey of one such family; told in the POV of the daughter – Nisha. Her parents were the exception – her mother, Muslim and her father, Hindu. They married against the society’s wishes, though they lost the mother when Nisha and Ami, her twin brother were born.
Nisha and Amil live an almost carefree life – their father is a a well respected doctor in Pakistan and though there are some issues with the kids in school & their relationship with their unapproachable father, life is rosy!
Accompanied by their cook, Kazi, a man who is family and their grandmother, they are coasting through life when slowly but surely they start to see dissent, hear whispers and rumours about having to leave their home for the new India and all because their father is a Hindu!
Written in Nisha’s POV – this is a fresh and innocent look at a time in our country’s history that is not only rife with religious riots, but also led to the displacement of millions in this country! Nisha’s POV is rife with innocence, confusion and dismay – the changing of the world as she knows it is jarring and at times difficult to read.
This is a book, where the author has done a commendable job of putting forth the agony in the voice of a child who hadn’t yet learnt the cruel reality of the world.
August is India’s Independence Month, and I do believe that this a book that every millenial should read, if only to never forget the blood and gore that lays the foundation of the country we walk free in.
The Partition – the word itself sends shiver down the spine. Till date it has been the largest, biggest and the most sordid mass migration in history displacing more than 14 million people comprising of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.
While adults can try to repress and forget, the children in all their innocence find their world turned upside down in a single day.
How did they cope?
What thoughts were running in their mind?
Did they think about the future?
What were their feelings about home?
All these and more were poignantly put in the form of diary by a young girl who keeps writing down her experiences of the day in the diary at night. The author Veera Hiranandani has beautifully captured the child’s mind (ie. Nisha) and feelings in her book ‘The Night Diary’ published by Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Books for Young Readers Group). Ideal for middle year readers and young adults, this book is a subtle way of talking about history and it’s political impact on people. Many questions would emerge out of reading this book for readers making it an ideal companion for teaching history by the educators and the parents.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani is unlike any other partition story I have come across. The story is a Half-Muslim, half-Hindu 12 year old’s view on partition and her constant need to know why a line through a piece of land requires bloodshed and hatred.
Nisha lives with her father, grand mother and her twin brother Amil. On her 12th birthday she receives a diary and decides to write about her everyday life in form of letters to her mother, who died during childbirth. But these letters of happiness suddenly turn painful and emotional and they are forced to take a journey to modern day India as they are Hindu and hence can’t live in Pakistan.
The writing has been kept simplistic, but the message stands strong. Nisha wonders what fault it is of her and her family to be forced to leave her home in such a cruel manner. She is terrified and needs her mother to tell her that it is all going to be okay. The plot is full of innocent yet valid questions on the crimes associated with partition and whether or not the bloodshed was absolutely necessary