Skinless Goat in Somalia
by Awes A. Osman
Awes A. Osman, a Somali residing in Sweden, has written Skinless Goat in Somalia, a novel inspired by his student days in India.
Strange things remain to look strange to the society, even if it is severe case of the savage action of peeling live goats skin, but only for two days and after that people get used
These lines from the novel, Skinless Goat in Somalia, hold the clue to the title of a book that was seeded many years ago, when the author was still a student in India.
He had jotted down his random thoughts then, and now many years later, he has dusted memories, gleaned long-lost ideas, and put them all together to publish his first novel.
However, the writing of the book is only part of the Awes story. His tale spans two distinct continents, two varied cultures and many different time zones.
Jabalpur where the writer started his first year of university education triggered off the writer in Osman. Indeed, his novel is initially set at the Jabalpur University campus.
The hero of the story in Skinless Goat in Somalia is Omar, a Somali student, meets Sunita, the beautiful daughter of his professor, and the two falls in love and it takes an interesting event that jeopardizes the lives of many African students in India.
Osman's stay in Jabalpur offered him interesting insights into India. He would tour the villages, interact with the public and share thoughts. In Jabalpur, a Somali student still had curiosity value. That wasn't to be in Pune, where he transferred after one year.
Osman remembers the regular get-togethers with the foreign students. Here, he also nurtured an academic interest in Indian politics. He still remembers and narrates in the book the aftermath of the assassination of the Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1984, and the emergence of her son Rajiv Gandhi from the ranks to lead the nation in crisis.
He also studied the differences in the cultures and lifestyles in India and Somalia, and observed the steady decline of joint families in India, though the tradition of large families living together is still a norm in Somalia. He was also impressed by the Indian democracy. The public have a big say in the political shaping of their social life and what role the government should play; he observes.
Skinless Goat in Somalia, a multicultural story love-story of an Indian girl and a Somali boy, the repercussions of their romance and insights into the Somali and Indian mindset vis-à-vis the relationship. The novel also portrays the India as understood and witnessed by Osman.
The message is that love is border-less. No boundary, no politics may stand in the way of true love. It is an experience every foreign student in India might encounter one day or the other. It is not just about love; it is about two different personalities and the sharing of cultural experiences between Africa and India.