Start reading The Dust Beneath Her Feet (The Purana Qila Stories Book 1) on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.
Read for free
with Kindle Unlimited

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

The Dust Beneath Her Feet (The Purana Qila Stories Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £2.22 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Kindle Unlimited Read this title for £0.00 and get unlimited access to over 700,000 titles. Learn More
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Book Description

Safiyah's husband Aarif has worked as a servant, first for the British and then for the wealthy family living at Purana Qila. After a robbery leaves him under a cloud of suspicion, Aarif moves to north India to find work, leaving his wife behind with their two young daughters and no money. It is 1947: the British are leaving and Partition is looming, as tensions between Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus break out all across the country. Political riots escalate to mass murder, making neighbors distrust one another and travel perilous. The division of India and Pakistan places a border between husband and wife, just as Safiyah hears some gossip about Aarif that makes her question whether her family will ever be whole again. She has a difficult decision to make: whether she will allow a rumor to tear her family apart or risk embarking on a journey from which she may never return.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 314 KB
  • Print Length: 33 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00APBSO52
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #660,010 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed is the author of A Deconstructed Heart. She is also writing The Purana Qila Stories, a collection of interconnected two short stories about a family living in a compound in India. A Change in the Weather and The Dust Beneath Her Feet are the first stories released from the collection. Shaheen won a national essay competition about life in India held by the Indian High Commission in England and has had her poetry published in the Cadbury's Book of Children's Poetry and Tomorrow magazine. Shaheen lives in Chicago.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small Lives - Big Times 21 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
At the time when history's defining events are taking place they aren't always recognised as such. It takes hindsight to realise how significant they are. The Dust Beneath Her Feet is a short story set at a significant time but not directly about that time. The book is set in northern India when India was preparing for Independence. Independence and the Partition are essential elements of the story and create the context in which the book evolves but these two events are not the focus - merely the setting.

The Dust Beneath Her Feet is the story of a poor Muslim family whose lives are lived in a rather small way. They have little in material ways but they have each other. The two daughters Laila and Henna live with their mother Safiyah and their father Aarif and their lives are those of poor servants. Aarif finds himself homeless when his British employers head home to England but finds a job with a wealthy Muslim family. Aarif is impatient, he does something that it's hard to believe his employers can forgive and runs away to the Punjab to get a new job, to make his fortune and to change his destiny once again.

I'm not sure whose feet the dust is beneath in this book since interestingly the three female characters are quite balanced in their page time. Is our heroine young Laila, viewing events through the eyes of a small child, or is it Safiyah, striving to survive and protect her daughters with her husband far away? It's not clear and it doesn't matter. There are some horrible people in this book - there's an evil landlord, there are spiteful children in the playground and Aarif himself is hard to like. In the background hundreds of thousands of people are killing or being killed but it's the small cruelties that impact directly on the lives of the family.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lyrical, economical, poignant storytelling 21 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The Purana Qila Stories

The Dust Beneath Her Feet

A Change in the Weather

by Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed

Some stories rest in the margins.

Some are always just past the rim of our glasses, and we turn pages, squinting, trying to improve our view.

The Purana Qila Stories: The Dust Beneath Her Feet and A Change in the Weather, by Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed are pearl-like, almost glowing from their own light, suggesting, but not telling all they've seen.

Purana Qila is the oldest known structure in Delhi, and it was also the locus of Muslim refugees trying to leave India and move into the newly formed state of Pakistan during the Partition. The stories themselves are refugees. In some instances, the fleeing is physical and divisive; in others, the flight is ideological or emotional. Ashraf-Ahmed asks us not only from what do we run, but towards what, and with whom?

Each story laps the ankles of one man and the people associated with him. They are fluid in time and geography and point of view, moving shamelessly like memory. Ashraf-Ahmed pushes at the notions of honor and loyalty, shifting points of view and time. Roti-like, they wrap around the binding decisions of common men, containing bites of lives. The dish, however, remains largely outside of one's hands.

`If the eggs spoil in their shells, it is because of something we did.' Safiyah tells her daughters, as she tries to navigate the whims of her husband, his employer, and the increasing danger of being an unprotected individual in 1947. The Dust Beneath Her Feet is an observation of those who may only react to the decisions of others. The action, the movement, in the story is all committed by second-tier characters.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent and worth all the *5 Stars brilliantly written and exceptional story line congratulations to the author strengths in writing a biography from rags to riches, and survival too
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The dust beneath her feet. 8 Feb. 2013
By Diane
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A short story about the children Laila and Henna who live in poverty with their parents. When their father leaves them things only get worse. I wouldn't want to give too much away as this is a novella and I read it in one sitting. It is well written and I enjoyed it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice read but lacking drama 18 Feb. 2014
By Sati
Format:Kindle Edition
The Dust Beneath Her Feet is a short story about a family living under the shadow of Indian Partition. It touches upon class divisions and family relationships and the terror of the religious riots etc., but I felt that none of these things made enough of an impact.

The tension of the political climate was more of a backdrop. This would have been fine if the story of the family had been full of tension and drama. But even this had no resolution. Perhaps the story should have been told from one character's POV to focus the perspective.

I understand Urdu so it was nice to see some words and cultural references which I recognised.

Overall it was quite a good read because the writer is talented but nothing much happens and considering the setting, that is unfortunate. Perhaps if it was a novel length story I would have got more into it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category