Monday Musings: Farewell! (A Poem)

How the time has flown,

Soon these days will all be gone,

But the memories of these years which we spent together,

These reminders of the past will stay with us forever.

We will cherish these memories, bitter or sweet,

No matter how far away we go, always hoping to meet.

This time that we were fortunate to share,

All the love and the care.

We’ll miss everything and everyone,

All the parties and all the fun.

The time of successes and that of failures,

Our laughter and our tears,

We’ll miss friends as well as foes,

The time of happiness and that of woes.

These memories will stay with us,

Now and forever, we will hope and pray,

Even though it is now time for us to say,

Friends, Fare Well!

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

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Let’s Talk About Literary Couples

Have you ever noticed how some literary couples are so well-written that you fell in love with them? They become your ideal and you simply cannot help but admire their exceptionally good chemistry. Most of them are often each other’s opposite but seem to compliment each other. I think it is the author’s ability to write timeless stories and forge characters that will stay with the readers forever. I have come across many such couples and I love them a lot. Yet, some have stayed with me and I don’t even need to think too much before I start gushing about them.

My Favorite Literary Couples

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Elizabeth Benett and Mr. Darcy because when one has pride and the other is prejudiced what could go wrong? We saw how these two hated each other and then fell head over heels in love. Their love story is definitely unique and full of mirth. How the two struggled with their own mistakes, but the best part was that they didn’t hesitate to admit their own faults and make amends. I think it is all that counts because who doesn’t have flaws? As long as you can accept them it is all good. (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

Emma and Mr. Knightley because they are so romantic. I loved how Emma was such a clueless heroine and when love finally hit her, it hits her hard. And let’s admit it, Mr. Knightley was meant for her. The author wrote that character specifically for that purpose, there is no doubt in that. They were most definitely a perfect fit. (Emma by Jane Austen)

Sydney and Adrian because they completed each other. Bloodlines series is one of my the mpst favorite paranormal book series and the reason is Adrian’s character. I also loved Sydney and I think they both were just perfect together. (Bloodlines by Richelle Mead)

Alex and Carter because of the fact that they understand each other well. Their love story is beautiful and heartwarming in all the right ways. (Unbreak This Heart by Betty Shreffler)

Aren’t the unlikeliest couples the best? Alexander and Aideen, a match made in hell. (Let Sleeping Dukes Lie by Emily Windsor)

Literary Couples People Talk About But I did Not Like At All!

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Ron and Hermoine: So, I know how so many people thought how cool it was that these two ended up together. Honestly, I did not like it at all. In fact, I didn’t like any of the couples in the Harry Potter series. I think J.K. Rowling should have left the romance side to our imagination and shouldn’t have bothered with that needless epilogue at the end of the last book. It was so disappointing. There was no chemistry between those couples, nothing that would inspire romance. Which is okay because the whole series was a fantasy/adventure. I think romance was an unintended addition. At least, it felt like that. (Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling)

Bella and Edward: The only reason why I didn’t like Bella and Edward is that I didn’t like Bella’s character in any way. She is the reason why I couldn’t get into this series and didn’t enjoy it much. She just isn’t a kind of heroine I can like, that is all. (Twilight by Stephenie Meyer)

Jane and Mr. Rochester: He had a secret wife and she walked out on him, so not a cute couple anyone would prefer. But I suppose that’s to be expected when the book is a ‘gothic’ romance. Still, as a couple, those two were definitely not my favorite. Although, I loved the book and it will always be one of my favorite reads. (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)

Claire and Jamie: Honestly, I think Claire was much suited to her present-day husband than her Jamie. But at least, they had chemistry so that was something. (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon)


P.S. Who are you most favorite and least favorite literary couples? And what is the reason behind your opinion? Don’t forget to share!

Deafening Silence (A Short Story)

“I was lost for a long time. I guess that’s how most of us feel when we search for a purpose in this world of chaos and constant disruptions. Sometimes, we simply accept our existence on this planet and everything that it entails as it is. Some of us live well while others struggle every minute of every day, some seek higher meaning of life wanting to be more and to do more, while others just drift through the stream of life without direction. I was among the latter. I did not believe in seeking the purpose of life, in fact, I believed that no one can ever really know what that purpose is, so why bother? I lived one day at a time. There was not much I wanted from life except a peaceful death. I wanted to go to bed one day and never wake up again. At least, that was what I thought until the day my life came unhinged,” he was recollecting his past.

#

The day started like any other day, there was nothing special about it. Hansel woke up like he always did and went to work as usual. He was a pharmacist whose professional life was as mundane as it could be. He lacked ambition and was content with everything that he had. He had nothing to prove to anyone, least of all to himself. So, he never strived to be better, he was an average person living an average life, doing what most people do. That day, however, was a turning point for him. After work he decided to visit his sister. That was something out of the norm for him because he was not close to her. Also, living in different cities made it difficult to run into each other. He even made a point of avoiding her if he could help it.

Sarah was his only living family, the only person he loved and resented at the same time. She was his opposite, she was everything he was not. She thought being older gave her a right to nag him about everything from his career to his lack of love life. That was probably the reason why he avoided seeing her. She was a doctor come actress. She pursued field of medicine and then decided that was not what she wanted. Good for her, not so much for the patients who were relying on her. Regardless, everything that she did she did it well. She was a brilliant doctor and now her acting skills were unmatched. If Hansel was truthful to himself, he would admit how much he admired his sister. But he was not that honest.

That day Sarah was very happy, which wasn’t so unusual for her. She was a happy person, happier than most. She didn’t tell Hansel why, just said that he’d know when the time’s right. He hated it when she did that. She could be so dramatic at times and she loved creating suspense. He was sure it was nothing special so he didn’t press the point. Even a new dress or a pair of shoes that she liked had the ability to make her happy.

“You finally got the time to visit your sister,” she said in a way of greeting.

“I’ve been busy,” he replied.

“Yeah, as if,” she smiled teasing him, “I’m you sister remember? I know you well and I also know how busy you are not.”

“I can’t argue with that,” he thought it better not to argue with her, “I missed you and wanted to spend some time with you. How have you been?”

“As you can see, never been better,” she gave him her best smile. She was the kind of person who had the ability to brighten up even the darkest corners. “You don’t seem well,” she was also very perceptive even though not many would guess that about her.

“I am fine,” he had no idea how to explain it to her, “I just…”

“You need someone to make you happy,” once again she reminded him that his reclusive lifestyle was no way to live, “you’re not happy and I’m not living in the same city to be able to visit you often. I worry for you. I want you to be happy. You’ve mourned for long enough, don’t you think?”

“That has nothing to do with it, I’m just never happy, but I am not sad either,” he replied, “I’m content with my life, there is nothing wrong with that. You know, I’m not an emotional person. I don’t think that I can ever feel truly happy anyway.” Sometimes he wondered if there was something wrong with him. He would never voice his fears in front of anyone, least of all his sister. His lack of emotions could be very annoying to some people, probably why he didn’t get attached to others. Now to think of it, he didn’t even have any close friends. Most people he knew kept their distance from him. That was wise though. People only complicated things and he needed a simple drama free life.

“Still, I think you need to start living a little,” she persisted.

“People die so why get attached to someone only to mourn their absence later.” So, that is how he felt.

“You don’t love because you fear loss?” She sounded shocked. It was probably the most revealing conversation she had had with him. He himself didn’t know why he said that. It wasn’t unusual for her to criticize his lifestyle. He had never tried to explain it to her before. She wouldn’t understand and he wasn’t the type to give explanations. He admired his sister’s strength, she dealt with loss so well. She knew how precious life was and she also knew how fragile it was. She had somehow found her balance. While he was still lost, more now than ever.

#

“That’s when it happened. On my way back home, my car was hit by a truck. They say I lost consciousness on the impact. I don’t remember feeling any pain. One minute I was thinking about my sister’s blissful life and the next minute it was all dark and silent. I remember the silence. That’s all I remember. It was profound,” he continued with his story, “don’t worry I didn’t die that day as you can see. I just went to hell. At least, I was not lost any more, I finally knew where I was, but I still didn’t know why I ended up there.”

#

Hansel woke up deaf. he couldn’t hear a single sound, not that there was any sound there. At least, none that he could hear. The silence reined supreme. All was quiet, he couldn’t even hear his own voice. It was a very strange place. As far as he could see there were poppy fields, nothing else. He didn’t see any roads or trails so he walked around, without direction, without purpose. He had no idea how long he wandered in those endless fields. It could be an hour, one day, or one month. He wasn’t tired though nor was he hungry or thirsty, however, he was frustrated and so very lonely. He wanted to go home. He wanted to talk to his sister some more, maybe even move somewhere closer to her so that he would see her more often. Most of all, he wanted to hear a sound. He wanted to listen to some music. Any sound. In that moment, he realized how scared he was, and how absolutely terrifying the silence was. No wind blew, no birds chirped, sun didn’t set, and that one day stretched to infinity, never ending. That’s how he knew he was in hell, because where else could it be but hell? In the silent poppy fields he was all alone and there was nothing for him to do except think.

#

“Ultimately, I accepted my fate. I sat down and I contemplated. I thought about my life. I thought about all the things I never got to do. I never fell in love. I didn’t travel to anywhere exciting. I never dreamed any dreams. Mostly, I never really lived, I merely existed. I never did anything for anyone, never went out of my way to help another soul. It’s true that I also never intentionally harmed anyone, but that’s not the point. The point is that I was self-engrossed, no one else mattered, nothing else mattered. That was my life. Was it a good one? I think it was better than many, but it’s also true that it could’ve been so much more. Then I remembered…” Now he was pensive.

#

There was a time when things were different. Before their parents died in a senseless shooting incident, Hansel and Sarah were quite close, as close as any two siblings could ever be. They shared everything, they talked too much, they laughed too hard. They were a perfect picture of happy family. Their parents had made sure that two teenagers knew nothing of life’s worries. In those days Hansel also had dreams. He wanted to see the world. He wanted to find a cure for cancer. He wanted to do so many things. He was as enthusiastic about life as his sister. He loved life. He loved all the people around him. He had no idea how he forgot that time of his life, when the sun shone just a little bit brighter, when the stars glared with a little bit more dazzle, when the wind blew more strongly, and when he smiled more happily. he was happy. He was!

He had no idea it was even a possibility for him. But at that moment, he remembered his smile, his eyes so full of merriment. “So, there was more to life after all,” he thought to himself. Among the poppies and the silence, he finally heard his heart’s cries. He realized all that he was missing. His hell became his heaven. As deafening as the silence was, it made him listen to what his sister had been trying to say for a very long time now. Finally, he decided that he wanted more. He wanted to be happy once again.

#

“Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. I was in hell and there was no way out of it. That’s the last thing I thought about before I woke up from death. This time in a hospital bed. My sister was asleep in a chair beside my bed. Seeing her face made me genuinely happy this time. I was back in the world of the living. I got a second chance at life and I promised to do better this time. I promised myself that this time around I’ll live for others,” now he had smile on his face. “Oh well, I almost forgot the most important part,” he said looking at the curious faces of his audience.

“What’s that?” Someone asked.

“That’s also how I met the love of my life,” he continued, “that woman stole my heart, it was love at first sight.”

“I want to hear more about her,” someone else said.

“So, there is more to the story?” Another voice quipped.

“Oh yes, and that’s the most important part of the story my dear,” Hansel chuckled, “even though I almost died, which changed the course of my life, but sometimes I wonder how much of it was because of my near-death experience and how much was because of her love. You see, my Torri was a great woman, who had devoted her entire life to serve humanity. She was a doctor that truly cared about her patients. She brought me back to life both literally and figuratively.”

“Where is she now?” he could see how curious his audience was.

“That’s a story for another day,” he smiled sadly. It was amazing how many emotions he could feel at the same time. He was happy that he met Torri, he was sad that he lost her so soon afterwards, and he was hopeful that life had more in store for him.

“How you live your life will determines where you end up after you die. I just hope no one ends up in a silent poppy field, and if they do they are lucky enough to find their way back the way I did. I was in a limbo for a long time and then suddenly I was in hell. I did end up getting another chance at life. This life, for me, this is heaven and now I’ve no regrets. Also this time around I won’t end up anywhere bad, I know that in my heart. My Torri awaits me on the other side, not those dreadful poppies nor that deafening silence.”

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”
Chaim Potok, The Chosen

Princess! This Too Shall Pass

From where to start when I don’t know what to say,

Once upon a time, my life was happy and gay,

I was a beloved too and I had many friends,

Oh, how we all used to laugh and play.

My life isn’t what it used to be, alas!

All my hopes have shattered like a vulnerable glass,

My world is dark, hanging by a thread of despair,

Making things right won’t be an easy task.

The weather has been gloomy and the sun has set,

The clouds are always thundering, my eyes remain wet,

I don’t feel much hope, my perfect home is gone,

I had many dreams, now all I have is my regret.

I wonder how everything turned upside down,

Once I was a Princess wearing a beautiful crown,

But that was before I fell before my hopes shattered,

Things have changed and I’m forced to live a life of a clown.

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


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Life can be quite uncertain at times, but I feel that this uncertainty is the real beauty of it. Imagine if you always knew what’s going to happen next then how would you feel? There won’t be any surprises, good or bad, how boring things would get. So, the unpredictability of our lives is what keeps things interesting. Yet, this is not the way most people feel, especially those who suffer from an anxiety disorder or worry too much. On the surface, they feel that the unknown is haunting them. That’s just a feeling, it’s not true. Life would lose all the charm, even for them, if they knew with certainty exactly what’s going to happen next.

I think that we should all just take deep breaths, step back, and enjoy little surprises that life throws at us. Although, many times things will end up messy, but remember… time will pass, good or bad, either way, it will pass. Nothing in life is ever permanent. We may achieve what we want and we may lose what we already have. It is okay, it is also okay to feel anxious from time to time, as long as you don’t stay focused on your anxieties and forget to enjoy life. Take charge, assess, change what you can, and accept what you cannot change. This is life and it’s the only one you’ve got, so live it! Be happy and find pleasure in little things, as much as you can.


“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

 

Let’s Talk About Genres: What We Read!

Classic Literature

I enjoy reading classics. It is hard to say what makes a book “classic” but these are the books which have the ability to stay alive generation after generation. I have enjoyed reading some of the best works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, the Bronte sisters, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Agatha Christie and J. R. R. Tolkien. As a kid my all time favourite author was Enid Blyton.

In my personal opinion, if you enjoy reading but you have never read a classic book then you don’t know what you are missing. Don’t judge these books just because they are on the reading lists of universities/colleges. Give them a chance and you might find your next favourite book. The best part is that classics ebooks are easily available for free downloads.

Links to some of the sites I use are;

Paranormal Fiction

These books are far far away from the reality, beyond your wildest, sometimes darkest imagination, where anything can happen. Who wouldn’t like that? You can meet vampires, wizards, zombies, ogres, fairies, and what not?! You pick up a book and it is a whole new world waiting for you. You can explore it and get lost in it forever…

Some of my favourite series include, Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, The Immortals by Alison Noel, and House of Night series by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast. I have also loved The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith but the last two books of the series were so bad that it kind of spoiled the whole thing for me.

Some stand alone novels that I have enjoyed reading over the years are Allusive Aftershock by Susan Griscom, Vampire Stalker by Alison Van Diepen, and The Beauty, The hunter and The hunted by Yanna Lee. These are some of the amazing books available which can make your life interesting and reading more the fun.

Some links that might help you select your next paranormal book to read;

The Contemporary Romance includes books which are set in post World War II era. these are my favourite kind of romance novels, usually focused on social aspects of life in the time they are written. It is a broad genre and have many sub genres like medical romance, romantic suspense, humorous and so on. The ones I like always have a happy ending because like Jane Austen, I too, do not believe in tragedies. I think love should end happily, at least, in fiction if not in reality. Most times when I am reading a romance novel I can get a pretty good idea how it will end but that doesn’t in any away influence my liking of these books. I think these are the most read books and many good authors are writing amazing contemporary romances (fortunately for the readers like me).

My personal favourite authors are Julie James, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Mallery, Kristen Ashley, Bella Andre, Jennifer Probst, Denielle Steel, Nora Roberts, Maya Banks, Robyn Carr, Lucy Monroe, Julie Garwood, Abbi Glines, Carly Phillips, Jill Shalvis, Jamie McGuire and Kristan Higgins. This is a very short list of the best authors out there.

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction, as the name suggests, are stories set in the past. Mostly, the books set in pre-World War II eras are included in this genre. There are books about ancient times, medieval era, Renaissance, English Civil war, French revolution, American history and so on. Although stories are fiction but the time in which they are set is based on facts. These kinds of books are not only entertaining but can be very informative about the historical facts.

I am a personal fan of books written in early medieval era. It is interesting to know how people survived without all the gadgets of modern world available to them. I especially enjoy it when the book involves time travel. Sometimes I wonder how it would be to go back in history and experience it but then I realise that it might not be fun for us as we are used to comforts of life which were alien in those times.

My favourite historical romance authors are Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Anna Campbell, Lynsay Sands, and Medellin Hunter. Of course, there are many other authors as well who write exceptional historical fictions. I avoid books which are based on wars or in any way related to pre or post war situations. They always make me sad but for those people who do not share my feelings on the subject may find this link helpful,

http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/historical-fiction-war

Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have always been popular genre among children and teenagers but adults enjoy these books just as much. In recent years there have been a vast array of books based on or inspired by famous fairy tales.

Fairy tales are short stories which have magical happenings or magical creatures in them but the books which are extremely happy are also put into this genre i.e. books which have “fairy tale ending” or “fairy tale romance”. Books which are about magical beings such as fairies, genomes, ogres, giants, mermaids, witches, trolls, elves etc. are also included in fairy tales.

Fairy tales are not like legends or epics because they don’t usually have references to religions, actual places or actual people. They are farfetched stories which can never be true. Their history shows that these stories have existed since thousands of years and it is very difficult to trace their origin. Different cultures have their own set of fairy tales based on their values and cultural preferences. In present era though dark fairy tales have also become all the rage.

There are a lot of movies being made as well which are based on fairy tales or re-telling of them. Nonetheless, these are the books which everyone can enjoy regardless of their age. They show us how evil never wins and truth always prevails. Many novels and long stories based on fairy tales are also worth reading.

You can check out some of the wonderful stories based on fairy tales using the below links:

Mystery, Crime, and Thrillers

Not my most favourite genre to be sure, but I do enjoy a little mystery and some thrill now and then. Crime fiction is all about crimes, criminals and it fictionalises the motives behind these crimes and their outcomes. The sub-genres include detective fiction, spy fiction, court room drama, legal thrillers, psychological suspense etc. Detective fiction used to be my favourite at one time. I still remember reading Nancy Grew and Hardy Boys series with gusto.

Legal thrillers usually include situations where lawyers get involved in proving their cases and hence major characters are lawyers and their employs. There are a number of films as well which are based on legal thrillers. The suspense and the thrill of chasing the criminals can very well be addictive.

I have a love-hate relationship with psychological suspense. The mystery surrounding the characters always intrigue me and with these kinds of books each chapter is a surprise, you can never gauge the actions and reactions of the main characters, and I absolutely love that but the unstable emotional and mental state of the characters makes it difficult to like them completely and most of the time endings leave something to be desired, which I kind of hate.

Thrillers, mysteries and crime fiction are very much inter-related. It is hard to distinguish between them and hence I have put them under the same heading. There is always some mystery in crime novels as well as thrillers. Similarly mysteries are often based on situations where some crime has been or being committed. Same goes for thrillers which may include crimes, mystery or both. In fact, I like the books which have all these ingredients because that just makes them more enjoyable.

http://www.crimefictionlover.com/

http://www.addictivebooks.com/

Horror Fiction

Sometimes being scared can be fun. Horror Fiction has the capacity to frighten people or at least it is intended to do so. As for me, truthfully? I have never been scared by a book but still enjoy reading horror novels now and then. They can be very entertaining especially when certain amount of suspense and intrigue is involved but they are not meant for the faint of heart.

Just like any other genre it can be divided in many sub-genres like fantasy horror, supernatural or paranormal horror books, gothic horror and so on. There are also science fiction/horror books available but personally I don’t like them much. I think that if you can explain everything via scientific postulations then what is the point of it being horror, therefore, supernatural horror is my preferred genre. I believe that it is more frightening and creates an atmosphere of fear if you cannot explain rationally the things happening around you. One of my all time favourite authors is R. L. Stine. His books never fails to make me crave for more. Fear Street Saga series is still my favourite horror books’ series. Stephen King is another famous horror fiction writer.

Check out these links you might find some good horror book to read here.

http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/horrorfictionlistya.htm

http://rediscoveringhorrorfiction.com/

Science Fiction

Science Fiction is not something I enjoy much. These books are my least favourite and its very rare for me to read any science fiction. These are the books which are based on imaginative scientific technology, space travel etc. Some might confuse it with fantasy but this genre differs from fantasy on the basis that here the possibilities of the existence of parallel universes, space travel or paranormal abilities etc are rationalized according to scientific rules either known to us or postulated by the author.

There are various sub-genres included within the heading of sci-fi. Time travel is one example, where with the help of “time machines” or some other scientifically explained method traveling back or forth in time is shown to be possible. Similarly, alternative historic books are also included in science fiction. Superhuman, military, science fiction and space opera are some other examples. These books can also be horror or mystery and so on.

Some popular authors of science fiction are A.G. Riddle, Jasper T. Scott, Hugh Howey, Orson Scott Card and Margaret Atwood.

Sci-fi Books list at goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/sci-fi

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Souls Don’t Tell Lies (A Short Story)

It was one of those lazy days that could transport you to your past. Lately, I had been spending more time thinking about that one past encounter. There were certain things weighing on my mind. Some answers I had received and some I was still looking for.

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It was a Sunday morning and I had nowhere to be. No one to see and nothing important to do. So, I decided to go out, visit my favorite café and read for a while. That was when it all happened. In a single moment, my perception of life changed drastically. I felt the need to be more than who I was, more than an ordinary person living a very conventional and mundane life. I hated change, I feared it even, I was scared of leaving my comfort zone. Cocooned in my neatly organized principled life, I was not ready to admit that basically, I was a coward. Reading was my escape, it was something that made me feel brave, between the pages of a book I could almost pretend to be an adventurer. It felt right somehow. There was no need for me to be a risk taker. Why would I want to when I could keep on living a peaceful, albeit a boring life? Then that day everything changed when I received a note from a stranger.

To this day, I am uncertain why I responded to that one question the way I did. I was not that person. I was never the one to listen to her heart. My brain had always been the dominant organ… Until that one fine day. Perhaps it was someone else who took over my consciousness, at least that was the only plausible explanation I could find. But then words have undeniable power. We all know this, those of us who read as we breathe.

Back to that day, so, there I was minding my own business and reading one of my all-time favorite books when someone passed me a note. I opened it, “Are you happy?” That was all it said, no names, nothing else. It was a simple question someone who cared for you would ask. Was I happy? I thought I were until that very moment. All at once, I wasn’t so sure. What was happiness anyway? Do we even know that? I was living a quiet life, I had a job, a house, and something to read at any given time. I always thought that was enough. But was it?

I looked around searching for the author of that cryptic note. It was not a question you would ask a stranger so I wondered who wrote it and why would they be interested in my happiness? That was when our eyes met. It was the first time I noticed how mesmerizingly warm brown color could be. Little did I know that those eyes would haunt me for the rest of my life.

The woman stood up and walked towards me, “may I sit here?” She whispered or maybe she had one of those husky voices that sounded like a whisper.

“Yes, sure. Do I know you?” I replied posing a question of my own.

“I doubt it, but I know you. I’ve known you for as long as I’ve known myself.” That sounded bizarre but I stayed quiet. I waited for her to elaborate and was not disappointed when she continued. “This may come as a surprise but we are soul twins.”

“Okay?” I was not sure how to respond to that statement. What was soul twins anyway? At that point in time, I was starting to fear that I had made a big mistake in talking to a stranger. She was starting to look creepy stalker-ish. I was never a big conversationalist. It was not a norm for me to talk to strangers. I sometimes wonder why I welcomed the woman’s company, but I still do not have an answer to that question. All I can say is that something about her felt … right. I did not know her but at the same time, I believed it when she said that she knew me. She most definitely did.

“I can see your skepticism. I assure you I am no looney. I know what I am talking about. We were meant to meet like this. I have waited a long time for this very moment. There is so much I need to tell you and so much you need to understand before we start our journey together.” She was looking at me as if I were the most precious thing in the world. It should have been weird and yet it was not. I was listening to her as if my very existence depended on it. Yet, I wasn’t someone to throw caution away completely.

“Look, lady, I have no idea who you are and what you are talking about. Either explain yourself in a way I can comprehend or kindly leave me to my reading.” Annoyance was evident from my tone. The woman was undeterred though.

“All in good time, Sarah.” She smiled and she called me by my name. I was now sure that she was a stalker. It was possible that she frequented the same café. It wasn’t like I noticed people or my surroundings much.

“You do know me.” I stated, “how? What do you want from me?”

“Nothing more than your time.” She said in a calm monotone. “First, answer my question. Are you happy?”

“Yes and no. I am not sure. I am content, at least.”

“No, that’s not what I meant dear or rather that’s not what I want to hear from you. You cannot live life like this. It is not living, you exist and nothing more. You need to be happy. I wish to see you laugh out loud. I wish you to feel exhilarated by something you are passionate about. What are you passionate about?”

This conversation was spiraling out of control. Who was she and how did she know about my life? True that I had never thought of my life as boring, but she had a point. She was right I was living a half-hearted life. It sounded depressing coming from someone else’s mouth. I was at peace, wasn’t I? I didn’t need passion or laughter. I preferred my quiet existence. Once again, I was lost for words. My confusion was palpable. That woman had the wheels of my thoughts churning. But first thing was first.

“I am not sure why you are asking me this. Why are you interested in my life?”

“Did I not tell you that I am your soul twin. Of course, I am interested in your life, in you.” She replied in her calm manner, which I was beginning to associate with her. She had an air of tranquility which was hard to decipher, however, it was very soothing. I wanted her to keep talking. “If you are happy then I will keep on living the way I always have. Your unhappiness will lead to turbulence in my life.” Now she sounded sad.

I laughed at that, you might not understand the importance of it but I laughed! I never laughed… I smiled, but full on laughter? That was so unlike me. I could not help it though. I was beginning to think that she was indeed a looney. Also, wondered why I was listening to her aptly. She had me intrigued I would give her that. I was curious to know more, but was there more?

“So, let me get this straight. You think that our souls are twins and that my happiness is related to yours. Is that right?” I asked.

“Yes, that is correct except I don’t think, I happen to know it for a fact,” she smiled.

“That is absurd. Besides I have told you that I am quite content with my life. Thank you!” I was getting impatient as the conversation was now in unchartered territory and that was making me uncomfortable. Who talked about souls and happiness? Those things did not mean anything in this paper world. She was making me think about things that I would rather not think about.

“Please, listen to me! You cannot live like this forever. You must find your passion and pursue it. You need to be happy, it is of utmost importance.”

“Okay, tell me more,” I said it even though I did not want to listen to her anymore. Yet, I also wanted to see where she was going with her unusual demands.

“Every soul is created in twos, like ours. Two souls come into existence together, one is destined to be born into this world while the other remains unbound and free to roam the universe. It exists without actually existing. When its twin dies both souls return to their origin and that is when they become one. Our souls have existed for over a hundred years and then you were born as Sarah, while I remained unbound. It was a happy existence for me until you started to wither away. I cannot stand by and watch you waste this life. You must take full advantage of what has been given to you so that when we return to our origin as one there are no regrets, no unfulfilled dreams, and no desire to get another chance because this is it, we will not get another chance ever again.” She was trying to explain things in a way she thought I would understand. She was wrong though because nothing she had said made any sense to me. It was all so farfetched that it sounded like a plot of a science fiction novel.

“You are here, right in front of me and you want me to believe that you are a soul without a body? Are you serious?” I pointed out the most obvious flaw in her theory.

“I can explain that.” She kept smiling and now her smile was starting to creep me out. Her eyes remained the same; warm and inviting. “I am not here, nor are we having this conversation. At least, not in a way that humans do. It is our souls conversing with each other.”

“That is ridiculous! I am here, in my favorite café, reading what I love the most. You wrote me a note, a note! That is as human as you can get.” I was a little more forceful, with my statement, than I needed to be, but it was the last straw. Now she wanted me to believe that I was hallucinating. Had my life become so pointless that I was having conversations with my soul twin? It was a very disturbing thought indeed. Immediately, I started to think about the last time I had a real conversation with someone who was not a character from one of my favorite books. I was indeed turning into a pitiful creature, no wonder my so-called soul twin was worried about my very existence. Huh, I was starting to believe her, my very logical and rational mind was telling me to trust her beautiful brown eyes. They said eyes did not lie, hers seemed honest for sure. But how could I believe in things like soul twins? No, I could not, no matter how honest her eyes were, her words were fiction. Or so I thought until someone was shaking me awake.

I had fallen asleep while reading and when I woke up there was no woman with warm brown eyes anywhere in the café. There was no note inquiring about my happiness. It was me and my book, as usual, just us. But I was left with a nagging feeling in my gut, those hauntingly pretty eyes in my mind, and that soothing husky voice in my ears… urging me to be happy… to be passionate… to live my life to the fullest… because this is the only one I have got. I knew then that it was no mere dream. I had finally found the courage to seek my adventure and that altered the course of my life forever, all thanks to my soul twin.

Where ever she is right now I am quite sure she is still smiling at me.

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


“I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. But I still search for reasons anyway. It’s like I don’t want to admit that maybe everything really is totally random…that people are just molecules in the air, bumping into each other and floating away again.”
Avery Sawyer, Notes to Self

My Wish To Have Friend (A Poem)

This is my wish to have a friend like you,

But I know that my wish will never come true.

Because there is no one else like thee,

And you will never be a friend to me.

 

You knew that I was sad and you let me cry,

Until all my tears were dry.

That is how it has always been, now and in the past,

As if you wanted to know for how long my grief could last.

 

Once again, I’m in a bad place and desperately need a friend,

Someone I can trust, upon whom I can depend.

Perhaps, I am like a child who needs his mother,

Or else he will just wither.

 

But what hope of counting on you do I really have?

You don’t even know that I exist let alone what I crave.

Maybe It’s my fault and I shouldn’t expect so much,

Perhaps, friends don’t do these things as such.

 

Still, I pray and wish upon the falling stars,

To have you as my friend, who can see all my scars,

Because in my heart I know this to be true,

No one can love me more than you.

~ Musings of an Untutored Pen, Fizza Younis

© All Rights Reserved


P.S. Did you enjoy this silly little piece of poetry or not? I wrote it when I was in high school (wow! That was so long ago). After tweaking it a little I thought I would share it with you all.

The Books That Stay With You Forever

Sometimes it so happens that you read a book and your life changes for good. It doesn’t happen often, to some it may never happen at all, but there are some lucky readers who know what it feels like. They will tell you exactly how exhilarating such experiences are. These books have the power to stay with us forever. You can never guess which book is going to stay with you. As we read, we hope every book is that book for us. Don’t we?

Every reader is unique. What we take away from a book depends on us and not the book itself or the author. Every person reads a book in his own unique way and understands it as no one else would. This is the most beautiful thing about the entire reading experience and this is the prime reason why we love to discuss books with fellow readers. Maybe we missed something? Maybe we felt something more than others did? Either way, it is a blessing to have fellow readers in your life so that you can share your reading journey with them. For me, it’s you guys and that’s why I love to talk about books so much.

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I’ve been reading since I was a kid. I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a reader. For me, reading is not only the best way to pass time, but also it’s my passion, my first and only love. I make time to read no matter how busy I am. And I read almost every day.

I can very well define my life’s journey by the books that I’ve read. As a child, I loved Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. As a teenager, my favorite books were Sweet Valley High Series and Fear Street Series. Those books used to keep me up all night long. In my late teens, I started reading classics and simply fell more in love with books than ever before. Jane Austen introduced me to the world of romance, while Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries kept me hooked for a long, long time.

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It is very difficult to say what makes a book exceptional. As I said before, I strongly believe that every reader’s experience is unique. No one ever reads the same book or so the saying goes. Readers’ personal experiences matter a lot. For example, the books that have stayed with me through the years include;

1. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (I also never wanted to grow up so Peter’s character was very close to my heart).

2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (because she was lost and I could relate to her).

3. Matilda by Roald Dahl (because in my opinion, that book was written about my childhood).

4. Endless Night by Agatha Christie (it shows how misguided in our emotions we can be and how sometimes we do things we regret a lot, but still cannot do anything about it. Losing people through our own actions is a curse that we face from time to time in our lives. It may not be to the extent this story shows, however, it can be a painful experience and we even forgo the right to mourn our loss).

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (its simplicity is its beauty and let’s not forget Mr. Darcy).

6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (I think this book is the perfect example of disappointments in life. How things are and how we perceive them to be are not always one and the same. Ultimately, we must learn to live with everything life throw at us).

There are a number of other stories which I can name here. but let’s keep it short. From what I can see, one thing that these books have in common is the fact that they have very strong, well-developed, and relatable characters.

Not every fiction book has the power to hold our attention for a long time. More often than not we just read to pass time and then forget about the story afterward. I’m not saying that such books are bad books. They also have their purpose, but the best ones will never leave you, and so far I’ve only seen that quality in the classics (mostly). I guess that’s exactly what made them classics in the first place.


P.S. Which books have stayed with you years after you read them? What do you think is the reason. Don’t forget to share your views and thoughts about them. I love to hear anything and everything about books.

A Life Worth Living (Part Five)

I knew where her parents lived and I decided to pay them a visit. It was a natural thing to do as they were holding her funeral in a few days and I was her roommate.

“I am sorry I didn’t come earlier. I should’ve visited sooner. I am so sorry.”

“It’s ok dear. I know you were close to Sana. She used to talk about you all the time. We hoped she was safe somewhere. She had her problems and we never though she could be gone like this.” Her mom was having a really hard time coping with her death, that much was obvious. “You can stay in her room until the funeral. I’m sure she wouldn’t have minded that. She was such a private girl, but you were her favorite person in the world.”

“I had no idea.” I was really taken a back at the love her mother was showing me.

“Oh yes, she practically worshiped you. In fact, just this morning when I was going through her things I found a letter and a box labelled “for Zainy” she clearly left those things for you. I didn’t open it. I know you girls need your secrets,” she said with a sad smile, “it’s in her room, you can look at it anytime you want.”

“That is so thoughtful of you, but I really can’t impose. I actually booked myself a room in a hotel. I’d be fine there.”

“It won’t be an imposition. We’d love to have you in the house, even if for a few days. You remind me of her so much,” she was teary eyed again, “I’m sorry dear, do excuse me.”

“I’d stay if that would make you happy.” And that was settled then. After dinner I went to her room. Sleep was nowhere in my near future so I decided to see what Sana had left for me. I opened the letter first.

Dear Zainy,

If you are reading this then I’m probably not in this world any more. Unfortunately, I stumbled upon a secret that is going to cost me my life. I hope that I am able to reveal it to the world before I die, but if I am not able to do so then at least I want to share it with you. Because you are the only one I can think of.

You may think me crazy after reading this and going through the box, but I assure you I am not. This is all true. Oh, how I wish it weren’t! Zainy be careful though. Some people in this world are really not what they seem to be. Sam is one of those. She is evil. You must warn the world before it’s too late.

I have gathered as much information as I could. I don’t know the whole story, but I know enough. I plan to publish an article about it in our newspaper and hope that someone will pay attention. I will also report it to the authorities even if I am locked up in a mental institution, I don’t care. This needs to be exposed. Such evil must be exposed before it’s too late.

You remember that book I borrowed from you? It’s not fiction. It’s all true. I’ve seen the proof of it. Souls are real and people who can see them are also real. But what is more shocking is that there are people who can steal souls. When they kill someone in a certain way they can absorb the soul of the dying person. That makes them stronger, invincible. I don’t know their end goal. My research didn’t go that far. I do know that Sam is one of them. That book was not about metaphoric soul searching, it was about literal soul searching. Sam is going to kill hundreds of people to steal their souls. We must stop her and people like her before they do something disastrous.

You have to believe me. If I am gone then you must reveal the truth. I hope that you don’t discard this letter as ramblings of a mad woman and take me seriously.

Yours forever,

Sana.

I believed her. I didn’t need that much convincing considering that I myself wasn’t even human and also knowing that souls had many purposes. It wasn’t beyond belief that someone would find a way to steal and use souls for their own selfish gains. But I did wonder about killing hundreds of people, what did Sana mean by that? How would Sam do that without detection? Killing one or two people was something else but killing hundreds? Maybe I’d find more evidence in the box that she left for me.

As I opened the box I found that my book was in it. So, my assumption that Sana must have burnt it was wrong. There were whole bunch of papers and pictures besides it. It wasn’t possible for me to go through everything in one night. But I had time. I spent the days before her funeral going through everything that was there. Now, I knew more than I ever had.

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***

The day of her funeral was as gloomy as any day could possibly be. It had been raining since dawn. Sky was darker than it was normal during these summer months. We were all sad. Sana’s parents hadn’t been able to stop crying. There were a lot of people attending the funeral, friends, family, and acquaintances. Seeing so many familiar and unfamiliar faces made me realize how much she was actually loved. Everyone was sad. Everyone missed her. The brightest person in the world, she was like a star that shone from within. Sam was there too. That evil witch, the hypocrite, I hated that she could come to her funeral after killing her in cold blood.

“I hear you’ve been staying with Sana’s parents,” she said to me.

“That’s right,” I didn’t bother to be polite to her today, “I can’t talk to you right now. I’ve too much on my mind.” I left her standing there, probably wondering what was up with me. I really couldn’t stand her knowing that she was the killer. I also noticed how her black soul was visible to me even though I wasn’t trying to see it. It was on display. It was different than others, somehow more powerful, more pronounced. I hated what she was. But that day was not for her. It was for Sana and I would deal with Sam and her kind later. For now, I had to send my sweet friend off to the other world, in peace.

“Now if anyone would like to say a few words please go ahead.”

I stood up. It was time to read the eulogy and hope that my friend could move on, crossover to where she was supposed to be.

Some of you may know me, but most of you don’t. My name is Zainy and I was Sana’s roommate, her friend. She was the closest person I had in my life and she was the kindest soul I ever saw. As you already know. We would miss her, there is no doubt in that. Loosing her so suddenly have caused rift in many of our lives. I just hope that wherever she is now, she is happy. May her soul rest in peace.

She was there I knew it. Her soul had been with me this whole time. I wished she would find the strength to leave this world behind. I could help her with it and I was going to do so. She needed my helping hand and I was going to lend it to her. This was the least I could do for my only friend.

Her soul was so pure. I know that for her, there is only heaven. It is time for her soul to leave this plane. It may not be easy, but it’s the only thing remaining for her to do.

I looked towards her soul as I said it. I knew that she was listening to me. I hoped this would work. I wanted to see her soul enter the bliss promised to the pure of heart.

You must leave now. It is time. I know that it seems scary and I know that you’re angry. You can trust me. I will do what you couldn’t. You don’t have to stay here anymore.

Everyone was looking at me as if I had gone crazy, but I didn’t care. I had to convince Sana to leave. Because I knew now that the longer she stayed on Earth the harder it would become for her to leave. And souls that get permanently stuck here lose their sanity. They become trapped and who knows what happened to them after that. I couldn’t risk my friend losing her chance at happily ever after. That was what she had instore. I knew that too, without a doubt. She was going to heaven and I wanted to make sure that she did, as soon as possible.

Von ma te lla en sig le lam etala

That was the spell to open the door to the otherworld. I had found it in my book. Only Sana and I could see the door opening. Everyone else just thought I was rambling gibberish. It was worth it though, seeing my friend’s soul leaving was worth the scorn from people around me.

I didn’t stay after that. I left the funeral home, packed my things, and went back. I knew Sam would realize that I had used the spell. Although, since she wasn’t a soul seer so she wouldn’t have been able to see the door or Sana’s soul leaving. But she knew enough about the book and its magic to know what I did. I had to prepare for what was coming next. And there was no time to waste.

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***

At last, I was ready. It was time to tell my story and also solve the mystery revolving around Sana’s death. How strange to know that the two things were connected? I knew many people wouldn’t believe it, but that was not important. It really didn’t matter, because telling my story wasn’t what was going to stop Sam. It was just about getting the truth out whether someone believed it or not. For Sam, I had something entirely different instore.

***

Sam opened the door as soon as I rung the bell.

“Hey, Zainy, what a pleasant surprise,” she said smiling, “do come in.”

“Thanks, I hope it’s not a bad time. I need to talk to you.”

“Not at all, in fact, it’s perfect time because I also want to talk to you about something.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, have a seat. I think it was beautiful what you said at the funeral, but it kind of made me feel bad.” She said as soon as I took a seat in her living room.

“Why would it make you feel bad?”

“Well, you see, it made me realize what a liar you are.”

“And why would I lie to you?”

“I know you read that book. You can tell me now.”

“Oh that, well, I hadn’t read it when you asked me last time. But yes, I have read it now. I don’t see any reason to lie about it. It is actually a great book.”

“Then you understand it?”

“Perfectly.”

“So, why are you here?” She was a little confused now.

“I know what you are. I am going to stop you.”

“How are you going to manage that?” She wasn’t pretending anymore, it was obvious from the cunning smile on her face. Her true face was on display.

“You shall see very soon.”

“Frey la de lam keri mehmo,” she chanted.

“It won’t work on me,” I smiled now, “you can’t kill me, you see, I’ve got a secret of my own.”

“How is this possible?” She was shocked.

“It’s very much possible Soul seeker,” I said, “I’m afraid I don’t have a soul for you to collect.”

“No, that’s … impossible!”

“It is very much possible, as you can see.”

“What do you want?”

“I’m going to strip you of your power. Cata mafi le da em ka.” As soon as I chanted the spell Sam fainted. Her powers were gone and she could no longer collect souls. When she would regain her consciousness, she would be as normal as any other human being.

***

After I read Sana’s notes I had done some research of my own. Sam was a witch, descendant of a very powerful clan of witches. They harnessed souls to draw their magic from. I was an alien without soul. Only I could strip her power from her. Her magic effected the soul and that’s how it worked. My not having a soul made me immune to her tricks. I now knew why I was sent to this world. My mission was to cleanse humanity of soul seekers. They were witches who only brought pain to the world.

Sam was going to caste a spell that would’ve cause massive tornado, thus killing hundreds of people, while she would’ve been waiting to harness their souls. If she had succeeded it would’ve made her unstoppable. Good thing that Sana warned me. I stopped her just in time. But my work was far from done. In fact, it had only just begun. There were witches in the world who needed to be brought to justice just like Sam. It was true that she couldn’t be punished for witchcraft, at least, not by the law. But for a witch losing her powers was the worst punishment. However, Sana’s murder demanded justice as well. So, I had to find a way to prove that Sam killed her. With a little but of magic of my own and some luck it wasn’t actually that difficult. I was able to confirm that Sam was the last person Sana saw and from there it was easy to find enough clues to get her convicted. Police did the rest and now Sam was behind bars where she belonged. I hoped Sana’s soul could now rest in peace without regrets or resentment.

My story was told, at last and people now knew all about witches and me. It also made my job a little easier as many arrogant witches were actually had the audacity to confront me. They all got what they deserved and the rest of them wouldn’t be far behind. I was no longer just a loner, now I was also a witch hunter. The world needed me and I needed a purpose to live. In the end we all got what we wanted the most. Did I mention that I am immortal? Yep, one of the perks of being soulless. This was it for me, a life that would go on forever, but I got to tell you, it was a life worth living.

The End

Read Part One

Read Part Two

Read Part Three

Read Part Four

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


P.S. I didn’t want to keep dragging the it and decided to post remaining parts today. That’s why this post is a little longer than my usual. I hope that 2500+ words post is not an issue for my readers. I also hope that you enjoyed this story. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it so don’t hesitate to comment or use ‘contact’ form.

Monday Musings: Who Are You?

You are like the sun that gives light to everyone.

You are like a river that never stops to run.

You are like a rose, a sign of joy and fun.

You are like yourself and loved by all but one.

You are you, but who are you?

I often ask myself if I know you at all?

Then I laugh because what a silly thought it is!

Of course, I know you as you are also me.

Oh, but that’s not entirely true,

Because you are also you.

How much of it even matters?

You or me? Or both of us, indeed!

Let’s forget this game of who is who,

We all know this to be true,

You will always be who you’re meant to be,

And I, well I… I will wait to become a part of we.

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


Have you ever felt lost? As if you yourself don’t know who and what you are. You are struggling to understand but the reality just stays out of your grasp. I often feel like that. Who are we really? This thought may sound ridiculous but it can drive you crazy if you are not careful. These days I tend not to think about these things too deeply. I suppose humans are meant to be mysterious, in certain ways at least. So, let’s keep the mystery for now and enjoy the moment that we are given… Just as it is.

Same can be extended to others. How well do you know the people around you? People are not always predictable and they do have a tendency of surprising us when we least expect it. Should we be more careful? Or should we stop worrying about it all and love them regardless? I could never figure this one out. It is so difficult for me to trust others when I don’t even trust myself completely. But people change, circumstances change, nothing ever stays the same. Let’s love them, for now… Just as they are.

How about you? What are some of the most surreal things you have thought about?