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A selfless friend and a realisation

Memories came alive as I held my forgotten friend in my hand. The remarkable friend to whom I had cried like a baby when the world had seemed to turn its back to me and also with whom I didn't forget to whisper out and share the most enchanting moments of this journey of life. With a half angry and half baffled thought I asked myself: “How could I forget such an altruistic old pal who has been so loyal and kept all my secrets safely all my life? Keeping the anger at bay, I flipped through my days left behind, letting myself get lost in my own forgotten days. 'Gosh! Did these things really happen?' was my expression after fingering through every alternate page.

The dark, arduous nights and the golden days of bliss were all there right in front of me asking me, 'Hey girl, how could you forget us? It hasn't been that long after all.' With a smile on my face I took hold of their hands and took a tour of the astonishing life, which I somewhat gasped to call my own. Like every other teenager I had ups and downs in my life; bumps, which had made me, feel I can never stand again. I had fallen harshly, not with broken bones, but with a broken spirit. But little do I remember it had been so severe. As I turned on the bedside lamp, and curled inside my warm blanket, almost unknowingly I let myself run away in the stories of my past. Stunned to see the extent of difficulties I had encountered in my short life, I concurred to the old saying: Life is not a bed of roses. The struggles, fights and endless tears are nothing but words scribbled on an ocean of pages as an evidence of one part of a simple girl's life. But before long my dear friend led me to visit a new day where I have made a new beginning.

It was spring once again, just like every year; all the goodness of this universe was there. Days full of lustre, joy and tranquillity embraced me with open arms. A smile unknowingly formed on my lips as I realised how lucky I was to get the opportunity to live the life I did. I realised that although there are thorns in the roads, it is still worth the walk for the beautiful surrounding scenery. If we choose to focus on those thorns, we might lose the chance to appreciate its beauty. We all have had to pass some heart-tearing moments, sometimes as a direct consequence of our own deeds, and sometimes unreasonably, unfairly. We cannot change what had already happened, but maybe we could still accept it and try to change the way we perceive the days ahead. Wrapping ourselves into a mechanical life of I-pods, laptops and digital electronics, we don't get much time to relish the old things.

But this diary, which had been left covered in a pile of dust for God knows how long, has opened a new window for me to tell me to slow down, and listen to the music before its over. It has showed me that I had not only succeeded in passing the storms but also had been gifted with never-ending blessings every now and then. Hey, life is not that bad after all.

Thanks buddy, thanks for making me realise that maybe its time for us to have a little conversation with The One. Not for asking for something more, but rather for thanking Him for all that he had already given.

By Samiha Khan

Book review
Crystal Gorge

If you've seen the old Japanese flick Rashomon, you'll know what I mean when I say that a story depends a lot on the narrator's perspective. Last week, we had Efad Huq telling us Snow White's story from the point of view of her stepmother, and although the outcome of the story was the same, it made a lot of difference, didn't it?

The third book in the Dreamers series by David and Leigh Eddings, plays around with this concept a lot. In this book, Crystal Gorge, we get a lot of different narrators looking at the progress of the battle between the humans and the servants of the Vlagh, and each new voice brings a new insight, a new depth to the story, so that when you finally roll towards the climax, you have a rich canvas peopled with complex characters with interesting backgrounds.

A quick recap for the benefit of those who haven't read the reviews of the prequels to Crystal Gorge. The land of Dhrall is under attack from That-called-the-Vlagh, a weird bug-like entity that spews out nasty mutant creatures by the millions. The four gods of Dhrall aren't permitted by the laws of nature to kill any living creature, and so have hired outlander humans to fight the war for them. The first two battles, carried out in goddess Zelana's Domain in the West and god Veltan's Domain in the South have yielded decisive victories for the humans, victories that have, to a large extent, depended on factors beyond their control.

This book starts off with the humans now trying to predict their enemy's next move. Will the Vlagh attack Dahlaine's Domain in the North, or Aracia's Domain in the South? Will the 'unknown friend' that helped them in the previous battle take an interest in them in this one. Will they finally encounter the Vlagh this time? To find out the answers, you'll have to read the book, of course.

Some adventure stories hurtle forward like Ben Hur's chariots, rushing the reader at breakneck speed towards the end. Others take it slow, building the suspense, and then letting it go in a final spurt of action. The Eddings have taken a different approach to their story. After having established the setting and premises in the first book, and developed the relationship between the principal characters, in the third book, they focus on the plot…from all different angles. At different points in the book, you'll be seeing the action from a different person's point of view, with a quick recap of the action that's happened in the previous segment, and then the action progresses, along with insights into why that particular character has that particular attitude towards what's happening. It takes some getting used to, but once you're accustomed to the style, Crystal Gorge becomes a very entertaining read indeed.

The Eddings have been hailed by several critics the best fantasy writers of our time, and although I would probably not go that far, I'd definitely say that with their intelligent characters and witty dialogues and interesting story-telling techniques, they make reading their work a very pleasurable experience indeed, which is why you should check out the Dreamers.

By Sabrina F Ahmad


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