The Woman Fencer

desf“There exist reasons, such as reasons for why the sun unveils itself above the horizon each time it is sent away by the sight of the Moon.” he said. Freya loved his stories and how soulfully he would narrate them to her. His name was Aegeus, meaning protector. He was a swordsmith and spent 13 years of his youth serving under the armored facility of the Kingsguard., yet still treated by them as a slave. He believed that the Sun shines each day and illuminates the Earth because it is commanded to do so by the 7 Goddesses who are pure of the 7 cardinal sins. He believed that each of the Goddesses was tested and each emerged victorious under the atrocities of the trial regarding their respective capital vice. Freya found volume and heaviness in his words but conflict in her soul. She stared in a distance as he spoke and her eyes met with heated swords taking a beating. It had been 2 years since she was captured by the Kingsguard when they laid siege on the enemy’s keep. Under Aegeus’s supervision, she trained her ability and body to wield and fight with a sword. All she ever wanted was to be the finest of the women who fight. So did her father. Aegeus also trained her because their Kingsguard captors could never be trusted. Her job in the  armored facility comprised of Iron and steel lifting and at the end of the day her hands resembled that of a gold digger. Which eventually worsened when she was ordered to carry heated metals, but a girl with a build like hers could live through it. At least that was what she told Aegeus everyday when she went to see her. One day Freya came running into his chamber and sobbed: “YOU ARE MY ESCAPE. From the beatings I take everyday before work by the captors and how many adversities I face. When I talk to you, I feel better; like you’re my escape. But they won’t let me talk to you anymore.” Aegeus was calm, even when this was the first time he ever saw a brave girl such as Freya in such a precarious and fragile state. “We’re going to run away today. When the bell sounds 3 beats at midnight, meet me by the waterstone area. I was born to be a blade smith, and I will die as one. There lies no chance in seven hells that I die a slave!” said Aegeus, fearlessly as he stood and the cloth of the Palestinian keffiyeh on his head, blew over his face. Later that night, Freya came to the waterstone stockroom and found him. They fled when the door watchers slept. and in the midst of the darkness of the night, when the desert loo blew against them, he held his wrist in front of her showing her his birthmark. She gasped and said: “I have a same one! Right here!” His eyes gained sparkle, but that sparkle soon gathered into tears for he knew what might come next. In that moment, Freya’s heart skipped a beat. “It’s you.” she said. “You’re my father…” She wept and wept and yelled “Is this why you sent me away? for a true swordswoman can only train to kill without mercy when she is away into the dark world no one as an ally? not even her own father!” He hugged her tight till she could breathe in the truth all over again. 10  years later, Freya Stoneheart, wife to Barius Stoneheart; the only skilled and trained samurai swordsman in the continent, was known to be the most renowned woman fencer of all time. She killed many enemies and disobedient subjects of the law, including the notorious Emperor Hirohito.

Micheal Robotham’s “Shatter”

RATING: 5/5 stars

GENRE: Crime, Suspense and Thriller.

REVIEW:  I had the opportunity of going to a book fair that had under-the-hood and local American and Austrailian writings on sale. I went on fingers crossed and took a leap with Micheal Robotham. This was my first ever crime investigation novel and boy, was it so very good. The story revolves around two men, both at the extensive limits of the human genius. One using his mental strength to code and dissimulate things, the other using his to decipher them. Clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin finds himself stepping into a puddle of quicksand when he is taken to talk down a woman out of suicide. The woman is perched on the edge of the Suspension Bridge, naked, weeping into a phone. It seems, the voice in the phone is the only audible sound that she could discern at the moment, and listening to it, she jumps. Joe O’Loughlin is shocked and now has taken the research of this case in his own hands only to find out that the man on her phone is a misogynist, sexual sadist and a psychotic tormentor. It’s a gripping read, that has the reader on the edge of his seat feeling like he’s part of the entire aura of the book. It has augmented amounts of suspense. Surely, it is a merger of thrill, fear of the unknown and psychological war. It is the best novel that I have read so far.

Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”

RATING: 5/5 stars

GENRE: Quest, Destiny and Wanderlust.

REVIEW: This book is about a boy who has embarked upon a venture in search of a treasure he has staunch faith in. It’s like a theatrical play which makes no sense at the start and has you intrigued for what will happen but the end makes all sense. The dense fog of dreams, hope, faith, betrayal, diligence, love, foresight and wisdom all clears up at the very end. It not only teaches you how you are bound to be translating God’s signs and omens but also that deciphering them is why we exist. Everything within our self is his way of speaking to us, it is just a matter of will, if we want to hear Him. A brilliant use of words, this novel. If you are lost, disappointed in chasing that one thing and distorted in your idea of who you are and need the divine light to illuminate your path…read it, my friend.

REVIEW: Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed”

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

GENRE: Ironic fortune and Drama.

REVIEW: This book is about a rift that drew between two siblings at a very young age. Both ended up spending their growing years in different places and living lives full of troublesome worries. At the later part of this beautiful novel, they reunite at a very feeble age. A beautiful story full of heart-gripping turnouts. It surely teaches one how fate and chance play a quintessential role in weaving the tapestry of life. I recommend this book to every reader out there and for sure they will mumble to themselves a ‘Thankyou‘ for having read it.

Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns”

RATING: 4/5 stars.

GENRE: War zone, Domestic atrocity and Survival.

REVIEW: This book is about the lives of two women who are brought together by destiny and how one helped the other to slip through the fingers of adversity and the clutches of death under the Afghan-Soviet war frenzy. When I flipped the last page of this novel, I found myself reading the acknowledgements as I was looking for more to read. I was still in awe of it being over. I thought to myself, if someone asked me how I was feeling after finishing it; I’d say: “Thank God for Hosseini.” Its an amazing book that has you feeling like a presence in the room amongst the characters. Every word that he writes further for the completion of his sentences has your soul on the brink of being called upon. It was the first book that made me cry not because it holds so much pain in it but how beautifully the pain fabricated into reality. I will recommend this to everyone but not those who are emotionally vulnerable and will connect the atrocities of their lives to the beauty of this book. The beauty I mistook as a heart-wrenching tale. In a nutshell, it is a vivid and heart-touching story.

The Connector

mad_scientist“In a land of extremist shape shifters, your father is the purest and wisest of souls I have ever come across with.” said Souzan in her usual shrieking voice as the turbulent wind blew in her face. The wind that usually blew in their area was not just turbulent, dissonant or harsh; but it was something cruel. At times, it brought the scent of blood and faded sounds of shrill cries. Makhdoum had usually heard this statement about Baba from his ailing mother quite alot of times. Usually after anything happened that his father had already predicted. By occupation, he was a scientist and so the people called him. Others called him a ‘ghabi’ i.e a psychopath. But he had always protested to these titles. He called himself a connector, and God knows what he connected! Mumbling numbers after numbers and names of politicians. He drew charts of various numbers and had the world map nailed to the already fissured main wall of the deplorable wreck they called a home. They lived in one of the suburbs of Damascus, Syria. Souzan told Makhdoum that when the terrorists attacked their lands in 1949, it had also been forseen by his baba. The year now is 1986. “So, you might as well live in this era, mother. Not in memories of some pagan hand-grenade invasion that baba saw in his dream and screamed of the next morning in 1949! Haha!” said Makhdoum in his haughtiness he called humour. Out came baba yelling: “The Muslim Brotherhood! The Muslim Brotherhood! You mark my words Makhiye, people will die.” Makhdoum left the room saying, “It’s not a normal day if he doesn’t get one of his pagan attacks.” Baba’s rage in inflicting his ideas to the general public became uncontrollable when he would go out on streets with and a loud speaker that he built; and would herald to the people of the commune to seek shelter of the attack the Muslim Brotherhood will execute here. He had it all connected, on his world map. A red line he drew, all the way from Egypt; crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Damascus. Nobody batted an eye and gave an ear. One day, it did occur. When the air had gone stiff at the dead of midnight and all the sound that was audible was the chirping of the night insect. The brotherhood commenced it’s raid and the blood of many innocents was shed. Makhdoum woke into consciousness with horrific screams as his alarm clock. He went out in the corridor and saw Baba with his throat slit and a parchment lying on his chest. Instinctively, he picked it up with eyes so watery that there was a collosal blur infront of him. It said: “We killed him first because he knew we’d visit and you we will kill last; because you least expected our arrival.” Makhdoum grabbed his mother as soon as he heard footsteps on the wooden floor of their house and escaped through the back window. They ran to a station and sat on a bus to Tartus. All the money they had were 80 qirshes and teary-eyed pleas to the bus conductor. At the coast of Tartus, they boarded a yacht and fled to Egypt; made a merry living there. Makhdoum lived to be a 35 year-old Egyptian National Resident with a son Mousa. Makhdoum was mercilessly killed in his sleep by Hozain Al Wahab, skilled incendiary assassin of the Muslim Brotherhood. In these brutal turn of events rose a wave of rebellion years later. Mousa Makhdoom grew up to the gorvernor of Cairo and became the first man of honorable political gentry to declare a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, namely terrorist organization.

Untold Secrets

Waking up to a glaring beam of radiant light that projected from the disjoint curtain of his window, he heard his mother yelling: “Get up, Mustafa. Your uncle has dropped in for lunch.” Honestly; Mustafa was exasperated over the fact that he had to leave his comfortable bed and converse with a man, namely his Uncle about business relations and all the boring stuff. When he went out, it was Uncle Sherdil. After a mild discussion with him, Mustafa came to know about his astounding success in the field of Real Estate that was the first this family had ever seen. He was a man living a merry life with his wife and three children. A life every man dreams of, with money, love and luxury. He departed after lunch. Now was the time when a series of unknown events were disclosed to young Mustafa. How his mother told him that behind the dazzling and pompous smile of Uncle Sherdil, lies an untold secret of one of the darkest hours of their family’s history. Long ago, almost 20-25 years; when Sherdil a boy floating in the skies of youth. He and Sharmin, his first cousin were head over heels in love. She was pretty and her skin had a natural glow that God had gifted her. They intended to get married but on a series of unwanted actions did the Sharmin’s family tie her in the knot of betrothal to a person she would never have thought of getting married to. She had such courage and bravery that she fearlessly heralded to her family that she would end her life if she ever got married to her unwanted fiance. Sherdil loved her but never fought for her or cleared his position in front of her family to terminate her enforced engagement. She was devastated. Even her fiance knew the fact that she had given her heart to another man and she can never be his, completely. One day, her fiance came over to her house for dinner. Sharmin cooked a luxurious meal for everyone and served it all on the table. After they all had eaten up to their appetites, the power went out. She was sitting in the kitchen with a lantern kept near her, starving. But she never knew the fact that somebody far away was watching her with the hungry gaze of a viscous monster through the window. As the wicks of the lantern burned, it illuminated her face. She used her fragile fingers to construct a bite of grub for herself and as soon as she placed it in her mouth for mastication; A bullet with an impulsive and air-tearing motion pierced her in her throat before she could even swallow. The killer was now on the loose and it was none other than her fiance. She died at the spot and her corpse was taken by the Police for a forensic autopsy usually called a post mortem. The doctors then pulled out her grub bite out of her mouth. Sherdil rushed to the hospital and saw her corpse disrespectfully dashed on the floor with a brick kept under her head for support. He took her head and placed it in her lap. Her parents didn’t even take a legal action against her fiance who physically fled from the moment of impact just because they might be ‘disrespected’ in society. She gave her life for a man who now lives his life in oblivion of an incident that ever took place. Or maybe he hides it behind his smile of worthy credence. To this Mustafa commented: ”Mother, I want to be an activist  for Women’s rights in primitive tribes.” and to that his mother replied: “Dear Son, It’s not about social work but being humane. And after every hurricane that spreads it’s catastrophe, comes a replenishing rainbow.” The above extract is inspired by true events.

“Fall” by Anonymous.

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She had herself chained to the unanimous flow of the world. Her eyes, reckless, hopeless and yet, thoughtless, gazed the least glimpse of the string of love. Deceived by every sun that rose up her days, she thought of herself. What she was, and she had been doing. Wiping of the perspiration of her forehead, she laid down to prostration. She cried of her sadness to make a river of the tears. Yet, supported. In the midst of her betrayers, she noticed her radar, blinking and beeping a beacon of hope in the range. The chance was seized and the smoke of her heart, somehow, condensed. Featured by compassion, support and optimism, she climbed up the staircase to success. Keeping the rule of not hurting nobody, she got hurt a million times. Yet, rose up after every fall like a star in the dark night. The sluggish regret, was like always drained. Stipulating every  move of the opponent, she WON.

In the end, the joy, the ecstasy of her falls, pulled her up at every fall. She owned the glory of success, with hope, dignity and steadfastness. The key to her success, was failure, a mandatory part.

A Touch of Destiny

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Having been sailed on the turbulent seas of the Arctic regions, The Buccaneer’s Serpent was the only ship amongst a fleet of ten more to do so. The next ocean where her compass needle pointed was the ungovernable Red Sea. She was the most gallant vessel of her kind. Captain Argon Gibbs was the former revolutionary war patriot who stole her from the possession of Commodore Seavey. He had a soul deep relation with the Serpent. Gibbs started off in this way after being a legendary militia for Great Britain. It was the treachery The Royal American Navy had done in confiscating his property and lands that compelled him to be a buccaneer. His blood was now wicked and it was something so viscous that it reached the point where they call it “The Pirate’s Blood” which only existed in myths. His sole purpose in life now was sailing to the Red Sea on the serpent and raiding the banks of East India to revoke the American loot there and go Anti to the King’s order and monarchy. His rough ties with them were now deep and obvious. One morning when the tides were pacified and the fish was ripe, Gibbs had a set plan to overpower the East India Trading Company. In close vicinity to the Indian ocean he saw a fading image of a vessel nearby. He was flushed with anger because he didn’t want his ultimate plan to fail at this very second. Such rage that he took out his sword and started attacking the mast of the serpent. In this state of confusion, he heard a voice from above saying: ‘The mast is not a worthy opponent, young Gibbs.’ As he looked up the starboard, It was Commodore Seavey. One legged, One eyed and prominent. He said: ‘What I want is not possible without this ship and what you want is not possible without me. Savvy?’ Gibbs knew what this was. He got lured into the persuasive words of the wise Commodore and they both teamed up their ships to form an enforced fleet against the Americans. Seavey wanted ownership of the Trading Company and he needed more men. They reached the banks of East India where they waited for the Americans like thirsty hounds. Bombs went away as soon as they saw a hint of vessels on the horizon of their binoculars. They suppressed the Americans valiantly. And in this situation of fighting till the last breath for oneself, did the Commodore avenge the raid on the serpent by piercing his 100 men hammered blade through the beating heart of Gibbs. The blade that came out of its leather scabbard once in a blue moon.

National Irony

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Born to and raised by Semi-Pakistani parents, Ahmad Melchizedek lived a serene life in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. On an abrupt change of events did the family decide to move to their native motherland, Pakistan. What he didn’t understand was the perception of ‘Irony’ the 21st century had. He never knew what this word meant. What Irony really means is that A situation that is quite different from what is expected or something that is quite different from reality. When he landed on the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad. His life of observation began. Since that day, the frame of reference through which he saw things became different. His frame of reference was Pakistan now. Of course, he didn’t fit in and he had no plans to, either. For years, he saw speeding cars on the road with different messages imprinted on their windshields. He never understood the life less logic behind them. It was so peculiar to Ahmad that a man from the lower middle class, with a distorted wreck he called a car; was on the same road as a Mercedes Benz. What Ahmad found hollow was the fact that a Mehran’s back said: ‘Ye sab meri Maa ki Dua hay’ and at the same time he saw “SELF MADE” written on the Mercedes. He pondered and pondered that a man with so little to celebrate and so less to cherish about exalted his Mother by thanking her for her prayers. On the other hand he saw a narcissist who heralds to the world that all he has achieved is by his own moral self and no one else. Not even Allah, not even his mother. At this moment he understood what Irony is. Irony is when he saw a woman mercilessly warding off a beggar by abusing him but then going to a mosque to pay her Zaka’h. Irony is when he saw large masses of people voting for a leader and then cursing him after he comes in power. When rustic children in tattered clothes eat “Rayt wali Challi” and at the same time children of a Bureaucrat eat Corn in a cup. When a politician becomes an Angel for votes and then peels off his fake mask like an orange, after the Elections. When people in rags smile at lame jokes of their own and enjoy life but the Elites don’t even enjoy it with an 80,000/- Rupee phone in their hands. This is National Irony. An imminent identity crisis. This was the verge of an incisive deduction where Ahmad came to know that Pakistan is beautiful. Pakistanis make it ugly.