Dubai: Dubai-based twin sisters Mariam and Fatima Masood attempt to help break personality codes through their work of fiction I Know Who You Are.
The novel spins its tale around the nights and days of a 12-year-old boy, Sultan, who stumbles upon magical powers while cleaning a closet, as his family prepares to move house.
What follows is Sultan’s journey to understanding the varied personalities of people, aided by his grandfather.
“Being human we have problems with humans,” 25-year-old Fatima said. “Actually, it should be the contrary. Every person has a character skin [type], which affects their manner of interaction and relationship with others.“
The book surmises that if you are able to identify the personality type, you can understand people better.
Mariam said that sensitivity and a keen observation of people helped provide the fodder for the story.
She said: “Just because people have physical similarities, they expect each other to think alike, believe or have similar opinions, too. The book broadly categorises the basic personalities.” She is quick to add that they “don’t claim that all personalities can be categorised“.
Employed as kindergarten teachers, it took the twins a year, endless cups of tea and countless “rain cheques” for family gatherings to finalise the book and its prime characters.
“When it comes to creating something from nothing there are quite a few things that have to be considered. The development of the character ‘skins’ was a challenging task as we had to make each character as powerful as the other and yet unique,” Mariam said. She added that no character had a negative side to it as “everyone has a good reason for doing what they do“.
Squint-eyed nights of research and belief in their story gave the twins the courage to push the envelope and mail it to the publishers.
Fatima said: “There were times when we used to feel stressed and disappointed, waiting for publishers and literary agents to respond. However, from the time of sending the queries to signing the publishing contract, it only took us three months.”
“Thinking of the time we started writing and to see the book published has been a rewarding experience. I feel like going to the bookstore just to see the book there!” Mariam said. Fatima added: “It was similar to seeing the harvest of a crop which has been planted, nurtured, protected and prayed for day in, day out. It is still unbelievable sometimes.”
The twins said they could not have written the book without each other – it was “a joint thought”. They said: “Though we are identical, little is common between us. We still understand each other the best.”
How has the book changed their lives?
They said: “It has simplified it. We know how to deal with people more effectively.“
The book is published by Olympia Publishers and is available at Jashanmal Bookstores.