Jameela Alter, local author, ‘On Clipped Wings, supporting CHAI

Jameela was born in Calcutta, India and was raised a staunch Muslim, but was sent to an equally strict Roman Catholic

Jameela Alter, local author and CHAI supporter

school run by Loreto nuns from Ireland. Her best friends, however, were neither Muslims nor Catholics; they were Hindus. Was she confused about Gods and religions? Somewhat.
Jameela left India when she was 26, and has lived extensively in the United Kingdom, Libya and in Saudi Arabia. She now lives in Bowie, Maryland, U.S.A., with her husband and two daughters. She recently retired from teaching young, energetic, enthusiastic, and impressionable 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students at a Montessori school.

“I have met so many wonderful people from all faiths, castes, and creeds, that I have evolved into what I hope is a well-balanced, spiritual person who firmly believes in a Creator, in divine order, and in the fact that laughter is the best medicine. A pill we need to take in large doses if we want to keep our sanity!”

November’s Book Club Selection, ‘On Clipped Wings’

Jameela has a Masters Degree in Education from Loyola College, Baltimore and also majored in English at Bowie State University, where she received awards for best fiction and for Excellence in Writing. While Jameela dabbled in writing shorts stories and poetry, On Clipped Wings’ is her first novel.

‘On Clipped Wings’ was nominated Book of the Year 2007, by Foreword Magazine

Jameela’s other interests include reading, writing, traveling, making inspirational hand-made booklets, and teaching crafts.

“As a child, when I questioned religion and why I had to do certain things, I was given an answer I was never able to refute — “When the doctor gives you medicine, it does you good even though you don’t know why. It’s the same with religion.” I ended up doing what I was told. I had a wonderful Islamic upbringing by the best-meaning parents in the world but, alas, many unanswered questions simply burned inside me. They were raked and rekindled from time to time as I traveled, got married, had children, and now teach at a Montessori school in the United States of America.

The raking, the rekindling, and the burning metamorphosed into On Clipped Wings — a novel about Komli, a Hindu beggar girl who spends the first few years of her life on the streets of Calcutta. (I saw those beggars day in and day out as I trotted off to school and to work on my stiletto heels and fancy handbags. I handed them a pittance from time to time, but never really did anything to alleviate their many hunger pangs. Komli has been resurrected from memories I didn’t realize I would carry all my life). Komli’s search for truth and beauty in religions and cultures span India, North Africa, and the West.

The first person to confuse Komli is Father Michael, a Catholic missionary in India. He nourishes her with full fat milk and baptizes her. She can’t have enough of the free milk, and since words can be taken in from one ear and let out through the other, she ends up listening in fascination to all the many stories she is treated to — from the Bible, the Gospels, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Tusneem, a gentle, wonderfully raised Muslim girl she meets in college adds to her confusion because Tusneem’s family firmly believes that they alone hold the tickets to heaven. To compound matters, a Libyan in Tripoli, Libya, has no compunctions about stating categorically that “There are no true Muslims in India!”

Although On Clipped Wings is a serious novel about a young woman’s search for truth and beauty, it should bring laughter and tears to your eyes, and raise many questions about the plethora of rites and rituals with which man sprinkles a dash of spice into his life, and sets himself apart from all other living creatures.

I hope, in a world torn with senseless violence, On Clipped Wings will help one to view other cultures understanding and compassion.”

Jameela will be joining CHAI at our Annual Awards fundraiser as a guest and supporter, her book will be for sale at the event.  Get YOUR tickets today!  Jameela will also be joining CHAI at our upcoming book club on November 10 to discuss our selection, her book!

If you would like to participate in book club, please email board.chai@gmail.com to RSVP, get the address of where we’ll be meeting, and place your order for the special book club discount of ‘On Clipped Wings’.

Hope to see you soon at all our upcoming, exciting events!

Annual Awards Luncheon Information

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