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It's 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon, and because Crimson and I have nothing better to do, we decide to have another one of our long and generally pointless conversations about nothing in general. Crimson is the first one to ask, 'Hey, do you want a conversation?'

'Yes, yes, yes, a conversation! And then I can turn it into an article. Pick a topic, pick a topic.'

'Ok, umm… what kind of topic? I can only think of flowers. I don't think RS readers would like that.'

'Flowers?!' I am disappointed by Crimson's lack of creativity.

Both of us lapse into a thoughtful silence. Then I break it
with, 'How about marriage?'

Crimson is satisfied with marriage. “Yes. Marriage: are you too young?”

I shatter his pensiveness with a shriek. “Of course we're too young!”

'Okay,' Crimson says, and laughs. 'Arranged vs. love.'

'Which side are you on?'

'Love! Duh!' and Crimson snorts in my face.

'Why love?'

'Well, personally, I find the prospect of spending the rest of your life with someone whom you don't know, mind bogglingly depressing.'

'But I find it worse when you fall out of love. At least with an arranged marriage, you GROW to love the person.'

'Let's face it, would YOU not want to spend the rest of your life with someone you fell in love with?'

'Sure. But I believe love can happen after marriage.'

'It can, but then, maybe it can't? Why take the chance? Why take the risk of 'not fitting in' when it's your life, someone else's life, and your child's life at stake? My parents chose to take the risk, and here I am, without a father, having to go to court every now and then.'

'Yeah, but what happens when you fall OUT of love, eh? My parents to the risk too, and now they're at each others throats most of the time.'

Then I add, 'Besides, there are the religious grounds to consider.'


'I think “just trust your parents”.' And, as an afterthought, 'Besides, love marriages get blah towards the end, since you already know everything there is to know. With arranged marriage, everything comes as a surprise.'

“I guess though, a marriage working out depends on what kinds of people are involved…and the situation.'

'In that case…I think parents play a huge role. They know what kind is good for you. And they look into things that would never cross your mind.'

'Like family background and money.' Now Crimson is cranky. 'Frankly, marrying into a family for money disgusts me.'

“I'm not talking about marriage for money. But you have to consider the financial aspect.'

“A marriage can work if the two people involved want it to work.'

'Everyone wants marriages to work, but sometimes they fall apart at the seams. Besidesin love marriages, there is a lot more chances of it getting sour.'

“There's ALWAYS a chance of it getting sour. But I think more chances with arranged marriage.'

'More with love marriages.'



'You're not being mature.'

'As mature as mature can be.'

'I'm not saying you shouldn't get to KNOW the person you're marrying. But your parents should have a say. After all, they're your parents.'

'Well, going against the people who have loved you all their lives, would, of course, be treachery. But sometimes, parents chose to not see reason.'

'I have more faith in my parents. Besides, parents are right to have doubts. They always second guess the guys' motives.'

'Yes, I suppose.'

We lapse into the last silence of our conversation.

'I guess it comes down to whether marriages are meant to work or not. You can't say arranged marriages are meant to work and love marriages aren't.'


I guess we're both right.

By H.U. and Crimson Devastation


Sarah was sitting near the window, watching the raindrops spattered on the ground. Although rainy season was one of her favourite seasons of the year, she did not feel much cheerful at that time. She was crying her heart out and wished that she could die at this instance. The reason behind her distress was that she had been rejected for the umpteenth time by the boy who came with the marriage proposal. Sarah knew she was not good-looking rather plain and simple with a slightly dark complexion. She had studied till H.S.C and since her parents could not afford to bear more expenses on her behalf, she had to quit studying. Her father told her that Sheehan, her younger brother, needs education more then she did. As he will be the bread earner of the family, he got to go to the University for Higher Studies and she was stuck with the household chores.

Sometimes she felt it was her fault that she was so ordinary that boys do not find her attractive. She did not get proper education because of money, granted and now she is not even going to find a groom for herself. She argued with her father many times about getting a job for herself. But her old-fashioned father was adamant that she should stay at home because in his opinion girls do not work outside the house. She should mentally prepare herself to do household works for the rest of her life.

Now, to get her married, her father is searching for a groom everywhere. It does not matter whether she likes the boy or not. It will only matter if the boy likes her enough to marry her in exchange of the little dowry her father is willing to give. Unfortunately, this was the tenth boy who rejected her. She was feeling so humiliated and frustrated that she thought of killing herself. Then again she thought that it will not matter to anyone.

Finally the tear stopped along with the rain. The world outside seems so calm and peaceful and also wet. But her inside feels just the opposite, dry and in turmoil. She could not cry anymore. It seems like her tears have dried up and her insides feel like one large, empty box. She has no emotions left in her. She has finally accepted her destiny.

By Shafata Afreen Choudhury

Book review

Arrow's Flight

I remember the first time I had a real stage performance. I'd been huddling backstage, my face blanched white, fingers freezing, frightened witless. All those horrid memories of boo-boos from school performances kept replaying in my head, compounding my stage fright. When I got onstage though, reflexes (honed by endless rehearsals) set in, all my fears took a back seat, and a weird sort of calm settled in. The applause at the end showed me I'd managed just fine. Sometimes, you don't know what you're capable of, and find out only when you put yourself out there.

Arrow's Flight, the second book in Mercedes Lackey's 'Arrows' trilogy, takes up about a year after the first book. For a quick recap, the first book Arrows of the Queen, talks about how young Talia makes her way from her home in a Border clan into Haven, the capital town in the kingdom of Valdemar. There she discovers that she is destined to become a Herald, which is like a member of a special Order in service of the Queen. Arrows of the Queen shows how Talia learns what it means to be a Herald, and finds a place where she belongs.

Arrow's Flight opens with Talia, having completed her training at the Herald Collegium, ready to begin a one-year internship under the tutelage of the handsome Herald Kris. The internship involves a long trek to the Border villages and duty at the outpost areas. The proposed route is a difficult one, given the time of the year. In addition to the trials of this venture is the fact that Talia is unsettled by a spate of rumours involving her relationship with the Princess Elspeth. This is affecting her Gift in ways no one in Valdemar could have imagined.

This part of the story is more slow-paced, and where its prequel discusses life at Haven and the Heraldic Collegium, this book expands on the nature of Heralds, their hardships, and the different factors that shape their lifestyles. Once again, we can witness the growth in Talia as Lackey gradually modifies her language, maturing with her principal character. Here, Talia addresses her own shortcomings and insecurities and learns to find strength from within. Pairing Talia with Kris, the handsomest face in the Heraldic Collegium, the story also provides that 'will-they-hook-up' element of romantic suspense. There are a few sharp turns and surprises in the narrative, so that it makes for an enjoyable read.

Arrow's Flight is the perfect sequel to Arrows of the Queen, and makes a great line-up towards the final book, but that's fodder for another review. Watch out for it next week!

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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