Hana Khan is a hijab-wearing, young Muslim woman who lives in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. She is interested in radio and storytelling and is one of two interns at a local radio station. She hopes that it will get her a job in radio. As a young Muslim woman, she wants to tell stories that value her culture and experience, stories that challenge existing stereotypes. She has started doing that to some extent with her podcast Ana’s Brown Girl Rambles, where she explores the big questions of life, anonymously and free from judgement.
Since the release of her first podcast episode, Hana has had a loyal fan, StanleyP. They went from conversing in comments to texting multiple times a day, and Hana debates revealing her true identity to him.
The Khan family run a restaurant, Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, in Scarborough. Her mother’s cooking, especially the biryani, is incredible. However, the restaurant is struggling. The family can’t afford to renovate the restaurant and do no advertising. However, the Khan family is very dependent on the restaurant with Hana, her mother, sister and brother in law working there. Her father is unable to work after an injury in a car accident.
One day, a young man and his father show up at Three Sisters. The father is very rude, him and his son not bothering to hide their disdain for the restaurant. However, the son returns to the restaurant later that night and asks for more biriyani. Delighted that he loves her mother’s food, Hana shares some with him.
Soon after this incident, Hana finds out that the boy, Aydin Shah, and his father are opening a competing halal restaurant nearby. Her response is to create an anonymous Facebook account to start a smear campaign, spreading doubt as to whether or not the burgers will be halal.
Hana and Aydin keep finding themselves together and have an undeniable attraction. However, neither of them want to give up their competition.
On a trip downtown Toronto with a cousin visiting from India, Rashid, Hana, Rashid and Aydin were attacked. As the cousin was making a video of their tour, three men approached them and accused them of being terrorists who had ulterior motives for making a video. They managed to escape the attack with Rashid’s quick thinking.
Rashid had a video of the incident and posted it online. It got over a hundred thousand views and attracted both supporters and anti-Islam troublemakers. The troublemakers learned of a planned community festival, which they touted as a Halal festival. They planned to show up to protest at the festival. This prompted an anti-protest demonstration from supporters.
Friends or Enemies
Days before the fair, Aydin invited Hana to his restaurant for a meal. He served her her favorite, biryani poutine, a dish that no one else seems to like. The purpose of the meeting was also for him to express his interest in her. He also confessed that in order to secure funding from his father for the restaurant, Aydin’s agreement with his father was that he had to put her family’s restaurant out of business. Upset, Hana stormed away.
Despite their fight, Hana attended the opening ceremony for Aydin’s restaurant, Wholistic Burgers and Grill. There, they got a chance to talk. Aydin explained that he had paid his father back for his investment and would no longer be indebted to him or susceptible to his machinations. He once again expressed interest in a future with Hana and apologized for hurting her family’s business. They parted that evening on friendly terms.
Future Career Plans
Hana had a lot going on in her life. In addition to the family struggle to make ends meet, she was also trying to win a job over the other intern working with her at the radio station. They were supposed to be working together but he betrayed her by pitching a stereotypical show that she had no interest in making. At first she agreed, but then she challenged him and her boss. Finding little support for her ideas, she quit the internship.
Inspired by the stories of her fearsome aunt from India, Hana started a new podcast about family and personal secrets. She had the support of one of the hosts from the radio station where she used to intern and the other intern from that job had also quit and wanted to work on her new show with her.
A parallel storyline throughout the book was Hana’s connection with her listener, StanleyP. They were getting closer after months of being in touch virtually. He revealed that he had a new project he was working on and he told her he’d send her a photo when it was complete. Hana got excited but was also nervous as the project neared completion.
At some point, StanleyP asked Hana what business her family was in and she said tech. However, he was slowly putting the pieces together and realized that the podcaster, Ana, was the same as his friend and competition, Hana.
The time came for StanleyP to send Hana a photo. He sent it on the day of the community festival and to her surprise, it was Aydin.
Day At The Fair
Aydin didn’t get to the fair until later that day but his participation in the planning saved the day, diffusing the tension between the protestors through a dancing troupe. Then it was time for him and Hana to talk; he wanted to start over. She told him that he needed to talk to her aunt first.
Hana’s aunt, Kawkab Khala, and her friend, Afsana Aunty, were waiting nearby to talk to Aydin. They told him that Afsana was his mother and his father had kept them apart.
Later that date, Aydin messaged Hana about his mother. She had found out days earlier and the whole community knew his mother was alive except him. His father had told him that his mother died when he was five.
When Aydin came to Hana’s family’s restaurant two days later, the two had a chance to talk without any secrets for the first time. He forgave her for not telling him that his mother was alive and they committed to a future together.
There are some other side love stories as well. One of them involves Hana’s two best friends, Yusuf (a Muslim man) and Lily (a Hindu woman). Their families do not support their relationship and they end up eloping.
The Ending of Hana Khan Carries On
In the end of Hana Khan Carries On, Hana shares who she is on her podcast and her new podcast project. She also shares that her cousin, Khalid, has taken over the family restaurant and her husband owns the competing one.
And the story continues in life.