Daastan’s Emerging Author Ummara Yousaf
Ummara Yousaf is a 35-year old, mother of one, upcoming author, who recently penned down her first ever book “Journey to an Ultimate Legitimacy”. Our team of editors was highly impressed with how Ummara had given shape to some of the most beguiling questions humans have ever asked.
So, we decided to sit down with Ummara Yousaf and have a chat about how she came about writing this book. And what was her journey like. What followed was an engaging discussion. So let’s dive into the interview for a dose of spirituality, finding the inner self and questioning the world around us!
Why don’t you start with telling us a bit about yourself and your book?
U: Hello, I am Ummara Yousaf. I am 35 years old and have a daughter, Duaa. Before I got married, I had completed my MBA and was working as a banker. I used to seek a career in banking but after my daughter’s birth, my life goals and purpose changed, completely. Initially, I was unable to accept the change that the baby had brought in my life. The time I passed alone with my baby was like a quarantine of its own. But it helped me explore my inner self and the meaning of life. I studied various books and explored the realities around me, trying to understand how people perceive their own and others’ lives. Different people see life according to their personal experiences, perceptions and key events.
I had been career-oriented since my childhood and had always been inspired to learn new things in my life. I continued my studies and did M-phil and Masters Economics side by side, which I completed in 2013. Currently, I am pursuing a Doctorate degree.
Another turning point was when I started teaching. It gave me a fresh perspective on life; different from a banker’s. I started writing about the things I learned in the form of essays. The essays gradually took the form of a book, the final product of which was ‘Journey to an Ultimate legitimacy’.
This book is about exploring one’s inner self. In the book, I have portrayed life through the lens of a group of friends who pose questions about life, existence and the world, in front of a wise, old man, Baba Ji. I have tried to answer those questions according to my understanding. This book is my contribution to the next generation who find it difficult to differentiate between right and wrong. The book takes help from key events in Islamic history to support my main theses.
What were your motivations and reasons behind writing this book?
U: In life everyone plays a role. Your positive contribution to society can be a stepping stone for the people after you. Hence, whatever your capacity is, if you leave behind some positive things, your life purpose is served. A book is not meant for everybody to read and gain guidance from. But for some, a particular book can change a person’s life and create a better understanding of it. Sometimes we are alone, depressed and find no one to share with. In such times, a book can become a great companion. I believe my purpose was providing someone with a companion and guide.
Writing a book is an investment in generations. This book may be for just that one person whose life may change after reading this. They might start exploring other such books which would make them a productive member of society. It is possible that this may be after many years of my death or it may be soon; it depends. But even if one person is benefited in any way by this book, then my motivations behind writing it will be justified.
What kind of message do you want to convey to your readers through your content?
U: This book conveys a message to the readers that life and career are two different avenues. We struggle to build a career and put all our energies in getting a formal education to one day fit into a profession. This, however, is a materialistic desire. On the other hand, a spiritual path or a path of wisdom needs recognition of one’s self and a spiritual guide. A spiritual guide can be in the form of a true person having great knowledge and wisdom, as portrayed in the form of Baba Ji in the book or in the form of a true book. Seeking spirituality in oneself is in fact knowledge of the Creator. We can only recognize our Creator if we follow the path of spirituality. The basic purpose of human life is the recognition of one’s Creator and one can only estimate the Greatness of the Creator, if he follows the path of spirituality and struggles to find the real truth or legitimacy of life.
Did you experience any hurdles when you were looking for companies to publish your book? If so, what were they?
U: Yes, for one year I kept on searching and sending my manuscript to different publishing companies– international and national– but after my various efforts, I could not find a good deal. I used to think why someone will be interested in publishing my book when I have no recognition at all. Publishers only seemed to be interested in representing a book written by a leader or someone famous or exceptional.
Most publishers I contacted were involved in course books or English grammar books’ publications. One day I found Daastan publishers in Pakistan through a google search. The name was so appealing: Daastan. Over the website I came to know, that this publisher is promoting new and young authors. I uploaded my book over the website and to my surprise I got a reply. I called on the given number and Mr. Ommer responded. I was thinking it may be a cheat again as who can be so nice to publish my book. But soon, I was convinced over the explanation of how he planned publish my book and get it edited. So, I made a contract and found all my editing services online. I didn’t once step into their office and got each and every thing online. My experience with Daastan remained satisfactory as I think Daastan is one of the reliable publishers in Pakistan.
Tell us a bit about your journey with Daastan.
U: My journey with Daastan remained a memorable one. Initially, I was told the whole process will take only three or four months but the editing was delayed. My book was given to an editor first but after a delay I was told that they had left. Then Daastan’s team handed over my book to Miss Summaiya. Now, she is a great fellow. She took the book very seriously. She read, analyzed, made suggestions at each point and made many corrections. I learned a lot from her as well. Daastan is a very good platform for young authors as the services are reliable and good. Even though the work was delayed, I’m still happy that it has been completed. Further, I am happy my first book is going to be published through a renowned publisher.
U: Soon, Insha Allah, Journey to an Ultimate Legitimacy will be available in print. I am so happy. I hope it helps give a fresh perspective on life to its readers. For next year, I am busy in writing my thesis for my doctorate degree. Soon after, Insha Allah, I will be publishing my second book with Daastan, which I am also working on currently. The new book will be more philosophical and spiritual and will have much for my readers to ponder upon.