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?

The Mirror Crack’d From Side To Side by Agatha Christie

She left the web, she left the loom

She made three paces thro’ the room

She saw the water-flower bloom,

She saw the helmet and the plume,

She look’d down to Camelot.

Out flew the web and floated wide;

The mirror crack’d from side to side;

‘The curse is come upon me,’ cried

The Lady of Shalott.

~The Lady of Shalott (1832) By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

About the Book

When Heather Badcock drops dead suddenly, it raises too many questions. It is no wonder that even a small village can hide many secrets. Miss Marple might be the one to unearth them even before the police can have a chance. It is very much possible that the murderer’s intended victim was someone else. As the story unfolds, all the pieces will fall into place and might end up shocking everyone. Nevertheless, ripples have now been caused over the surface of the water that is no longer peaceful.

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Review

4 out of 5 Stars

First of all, I want to confess that I am Agatha Christie’s fan. My review might very well be biased. But I did enjoy this book a lot. This is my first Miss Marple mystery and I have to say that I quite admired her sharp wit and amazing observation skills. I think I might even like her better than Hercule Poirot, whom I’ve come to admire for quite some time now. In any case, Agatha Christie has woven another great murder mystery here and I found it highly entertaining.

Miss Marple is an old lady who lives in a small village. For the most part, she is like any other old woman, set in her ways, and wary of the changing world. Things are changing though, new ‘Developments’ are happening and people are changing as well. Young people dress differently, they talk differently, and they behave in an entirely different manner. There are many new faces around her home town. But many things have remained the same. On the inside, people haven’t changed as much as one would think and murders still happen.

Mrs. Heather Badcock is a kind woman by all accounts. Then she ends up dead out of the blue and everyone is baffled. That’s when Miss Marple decides to help the police solve the mystery around her death. Who would want to kill such a harmless and kind woman, her husband perhaps? Maybe she wasn’t killer’s target. After all, it happened during a party and there were many people there.

As questions are asked, things start making sense and soon the mystery is solved. A very well-written story. I love how the author first prepares the stage, then a murder happens, and then in a very logical way the mystery is unfolded to reveal the truth. I especially loved The Lady of Shalott analogy used to describe how the glamorous actress Marina Gregg looked while talking to Mrs. Heather Badcock. And the book ends in a perfect way. So, all in all, a great read if you enjoy a good old murder mystery, without too much drama and theatrics. I did!

‘He said: “She has a lovely face;

God in His mercy lend her grace,

The Lady of Shalott.”‘

Favorite Quotes

“I’m not very good at forgetting, I’m afraid.”

“She didn’t know at all,” said Miss Marple slowly, “what the world was like. She didn’t know what people were like. She’d never thought about them. And so, you see, she couldn’t guard against things happening to her.”

“It’s one of those days when flowers won’t do anything you want them to.”

“She can’t help it. She’s made that way.”

“You can’t tell, of course,” said Dr. Gilchrist, “how people are going to react. You can’t tell however well you know them. They can always surprise you.”


P.S. Have you read any of Agatha Christie’s novels? Did you like it or do you like murder mysteries in general? Do share your thoughts and happy reading!

A Life Worth Living (Part Four)

I wish I knew about it before I got involved with Sam. She lied to me. She is not who she says she is. I wonder if she is even human. I don’t know what to do with this knowledge. I can’t go to the police. They will never believe me. I can hardly believe it myself right now. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would never had believed it. She is a monster. It all started when she asked me to borrow Zainy’s book. I hadn’t even notice that book before, but Sam knew about it. She had seen Zainy reading it in cafe once. Long story short, I borrowed it for her. She told me not to tell Zainy. I didn’t.

I only skimmed through it myself to know what it was about. It didn’t seem that interesting to me. All that soul talk. Honestly, I didn’t understand it much. In any case, I gave it to Sam. She was really excited about it for some reason and kept thanking me. I had no idea what was going on. Only if I knew, I would never have let her read that book. I would have burned the book myself. It was a horrible fate that befell so many people because of that one book.

I’m going to expose her. I will write about it. I will tell this story to the world. She is pure evil now. She needs to be locked away. The world needs to be saved. I’ve returned the book to Zainy for now. I hope she doesn’t know its true nature. I will burn it the first chance I can get. No one else should find it. No one must use it the way Sam did. I will make sure of that.

It was the last entry in her journal. I couldn’t make any sense of it. First thing I did was to look for that book. I realized it was no where to be found. So, Sana did burn it in the end. I wondered what Sam did with the book that spooked her so much. She sounded like a crazy woman while writing about it in her journal. One thing was clear to me, I needed to find answers no matter what. I couldn’t rest until I knew what was happening. Why Sam killed Sana? And what else had she done to be called “pure evil” by my friend, who herself didn’t have a single evil bone in her body?

Soon, I got all the answers I needed. Although, they were not what I wanted to know. I did wish that I had left the matter alone, turned a blind eye, anything to keep me from learning the truth about Sam and about so much more.

***

“Hey,” it was Sam again, “do you have a minute?”

“Sure thing,” I said trying to keep my smile genuine, “what’s it about this time?”

“Oh,” she said, “nothing much, I was just hoping to borrow your copy of the Soul Seers again. You know, the book you lent to Sana before. I didn’t get to read the whole book so I was hoping to do it now. It’s very interesting.”

“I’m sorry, but I seem to have lost it. Maybe Sana never returned it. I don’t exactly remember. You can try finding it in the library.”

“No problem. I will try somewhere else.” She gave me a strange smile and then left.

So, she was looking for the book again. Good thing Sana burnt it, who knew what that book was all about. Now that I thought about it, book did mention people like me, people who could see souls, among a lot of other things related to souls. I had only read first few chapters of the book and now I wished that I had read it all. Maybe then I would’ve gotten the answers I wanted to badly.

“Hey, Zainy wait up,” Sara was calling my name, “did you hear the news?”

“What news?”

“Let’s go to you room and talk for a while.”

“Ok, sure.”

We walked together in silence. When we entered my room I asked her again about the news she was talking about.

“Oh, it’s kind of sad. They’ve found a body. Everyone thinks it’s Sana.”

It may have been news to people who were hoping Sana was still alive. I knew better though. I had already seen her bodyless soul.

“That’s just…” I didn’t know what to say.

“Yeah, I know you two were close. As close as you can be with anyone, that is,” she was sad too. Her soul was a unique yellow color that I had not noticed before. But then I don’t always look for people’s souls. Sara wasn’t close to me or Sana. She was just a fellow student, we weren’t even in the same classes. I had seen her around though and I knew she hung out with Sam’s group sometimes.

“Yes, she was my closest friend. I hope they find her killer soon.”

“So, you think she was killed?”

“Well, who else would bury her body?”

“That’s a valid question. We all hoped she had run away or something. This is just unbelievable. Who would do such a thing? Sana was such a kind person, everyone loved her.”

I know that they often said things like this about the dead. In Sana’s case though it was the truth. She was loved by all. That’s the kind of girl she was, so loving and so caring. I felt her loss very acutely at that moment. The world had lost its one of the nicest humans, the purest soul. I could attest to that.

“Do you mind, I want to be alone right now,” I said.

“Oh, sure. I don’t mind at all, I can understand.” With that Sara left.

That’s when I saw her soul again. Sana was still here and now I knew why she was unable to crossover. She needed justice and I was going to get it for her, even if it cost me my life.

To be continued…

Read Part One

Read Part Two

Read Part Three

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved

Monday Musings: Things To Talk About

Friend (A Poem)

A friend like you is hard to find,

My foolish jokes you never mind.

I am glad to have such a friend,

You are my start and my end.

That is not all you’re much more,

I do love you that is for sure.

Our friendship started in an odd way,

But this is how it will always stay.

A friend like you comes by once in a lifetime,

Together, this ladder of friendship we must climb.

I love that you can say whatever you feel,

Your honesty was our friendships’ own seal.

I hope you think of me the same way,

To be loved back is now my only pray.

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


Last Monday I wrote about the loss of a friend, now ex-friend. This time I want to talk about all the amazing people I have in my life. Have you ever noticed how crucial friends are? They are the people in your life who are there by choice. Unlike your blood relations, who are there even if they don’t want to be. I always thought this to be the most beautiful thing about friends; you choose them and they choose you.

In today’s world, it is becoming more are more difficult to keep friends. People are so busy nowadays they don’t seem to have enough time to stay in touch (outside of social media, that is). I am also guilty of doing that. Honestly, I kind of suck at staying in touch. Especially, with friends who live in different cities and countries. But if my friends are reading this I want them to know that they are valued. I love them and I will definitely try to be a better friend in the future. I think, we should all find time for friends whenever we can.

Friends are amazing, awesome people who make life worth living. So, this one is for all my friends. No matter where you are, no matter how long it has been since we talked, you are still my friends. I love you all.

To friends!

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This Or That: What Kind Of Stories You Love The Most?

We all love to read that much is clear if you’re here. But what do you read? Especially, what is it that you love to read the most? That is an important question. So, let’s get to know each other a little better.

I am a very diverse read and read almost all genres of fiction. Within genres, there are certain aspects of the story that I enjoy more than the others. But isn’t it true for all of us readers? There are things that we will always love more than the others. I thought it might be fun to pick “this or that” between a few things. Of course, “both” is always an option but for simplicity, we assume that we can only pick one from each category.

Time Travel or Space Travel?

I prefer time travel books more than space travel. Mostly, because I am a fan of historical fiction more than science-fiction. And when someone travels back in time, it is always fun to read about. Don’t you agree? It doesn’t have to be historical though. Time travel fantasies are often better and much more interesting reads. Also, time travel is common in science fiction as well. I have read stories that have both time travel as well as space travel, so that is also cool. In any case, my favorite time-travel stories include;

The Branches of Time (The Branches of Time #1) by Luca Rossi: The story begins with a black magic attack that kills the entire population of an island leaving three survivors. A couple and a priestess. There are secrets that the couple has no idea about. They don’t even know who their real enemy is and priestess is also hiding things from them. Stories from a time long forgotten… Then there is a cruel King in some other realm. He is planning to take over the world. But something keeps him caged…

This book has both magic and time travel, a great fantasy story. But I must admit there were some uncomfortable scenes that might be a little much for some readers.

The Branches of Time

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris: It’s a story about a teenager who ends up in sixteenth-century Italy. Luckily she has ancestors there and they are more than willing to help her. But is this century really for her? Things are different here and as she learns more about the time period she also learns that she may not be able to stay here forever…

It’s a romantic comedy with all the sweetness and the best thing is how the characters grow through the story.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, #1)

Warrior of the Highlands by Veronica Wolff: It’s a story about a highlander bend upon taking revenge and a modern age woman who ends up in the past. It was a beautiful and very well-written story. I read it many years ago but I remember how hard it was to put down once I started reading.

Warrior of the Highlands (Highlands, #3)

Dragons or Mermaids?

For me, it’s the dragons. In all honesty, I’ve read only a few books about mermaids, whereas, many about dragons. I don’t know if there are more mermaid books out there and maybe I haven’t found the right ones yet, but I prefer dragons anyway. Dragon shifters are amazing but even if they are not shifters and just good old dragons, that’s okay too. My favorites books with dragons in them are;

Dragon Mates (The Falk Clan Series) by C.D. Gorri: It is a story of four dragon shifter brothers. They spent centuries as prisoners and as they gain their freedom they decided to live among humans. Making their home in this new world, all they want is to live as a family and find their respective mates. It is a four books series and in each book, one of the brothers finds his fated mate. All four novels are amazing, well-written and interesting. I loved not only the four dragon shifters but also their mates. This series has some of my favorite fiction characters.

Dragon Mates: The Falk Clan Complete Series

And let’s not forget some of our most favorite series have dragons in them. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones to name a few. Dragons are my favorite magical creatures of all times.

Werewolves or Vampires?

Werewolves! This one was a little tougher to choose because I absolutely love vampires too. Some of my favorite series have both werewolves and vampire characters. I enjoy reading about both. But still, if I must choose one I’ll choose werewolves.

The Mating by Nicky Charles: This book is a perfect mix of romance, intrigue, and suspense. If I remember correctly I had loved reading it. It’s definitely a good paranormal romance with werewolves.

I have read book two and three of this series as well, they were also good. It was originally a trilogy but there are some other books in the series too. I haven’t yet read those.

The Mating (Law of the Lycans, #1)

Grazi Kelly series by C.D. Gorri: This is an ongoing Young Adult series by one of my favorite authors. The story revolves around a werewolf shifter, Grazi. She is a normal teenager except for the fact that she happens to be a werewolf. The story weaves a magical world where all kinds of paranormal creatures live, hidden from humans. This series focuses on werewolves and witches though. There is a curse, and Grazi is the only one who can lift it. So far I am enjoying this series and hope that it ends well.

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Contemporary or Historical?

Historical romances are my favorite genre. Since I started reading them I’ve not stopped. There are many genres I switch between, some I’ve almost given up on, but historical fiction is one genre that has been a constant for me. Any time I pick up a historical novel I end up falling in love with it. Not that I don’t read contemporary books, I do. But when it comes to choosing one I’ll always choose historical romance.

Let Sleeping Dukes Lie by Emily Windsor: This is book two in Rules of the Rogue series and can be read as standalone. It has mystery, romance, and humor. I loved it! The story is intriguing and the characters are interesting. I had enjoyed book one too but this one is my favorite because of both main characters. These two people who can’t seem to stand each other actually fell in love and their unlikely couple is amazing. They have great chemistry and there isn’t a single dull moment when they are together. Definitely, one of the best historical fiction I have ever read.

Let Sleeping Dukes Lie (Rules of the Rogue, #2)

Twice as Wicked by Elizabeth Bright: The story is about a sister who wants to find her sister’s killer and take revenge. And it’s about twin brothers whose fates are intertwined since birth. It’s mysterious and quite romantic.

Twice As Wicked (Wicked Secrets, #1)

Once a Courtesan by Liana LeFey: Another great historical romance, a must read if you like historicals. It is a crime thriller set in 1700s London and explore the darker side of the city. It is a thrilling read with little romance. The story is about a girl’s school headmistress and a constable. But there are secrets that must be revealed before their story comes to an end. It’s well-written and the author has not glossed over the less fortunate people’s plight. Life in 1700s London is most definitely not as easy as one would hope…

Once a Courtesan (Once Wicked, #2)

Small Town or Big Cities?

Small town settings are the best. Perhaps it’s because I myself am a city girl so I’m always intrigued by the quaint small town stories. Some of the best ones I’ve read include;

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins: One of my most favorite authors, Higgins rarely disappoints when it comes to contemporary romance. This might not be her best work but this book is quite good, romantic and has some great characters. I loved it and I think if you like small town settings then you will like it too.

The Perfect Match (Blue Heron, #2)

Breathe by Kristen Ashley: Oh! I remember the time when I was obsessed with this author. I read so many of her books and loved each and every one of them. Breathe is definitely one of her best works. Aside from all the things that come with a small-town setting, this book is very emotional and would make you cry for sure. But it is also sweet and romantic, in short, a perfect novel.

Breathe (Colorado Mountain, #4)


P.S. Don’t forget to share your own preferences in the comments. I’d love to know more about the stories you enjoy the most.

A Life Worth Living (Part Three)

As I was saying, it was time to tell the truth. I was an alien. That feeling I had was real. I was indeed abandoned on earth without any clue. One stormy night my parents found me on their doorstep. They raised me, but never told me that I wasn’t their daughter. But I had a feeling, I didn’t belong, I couldn’t fit into this world because I wasn’t of it. I found that out on my eighteenth birthday when I started seeing people’s souls. I realized that not only I could see other people’s souls, but that I didn’t have one. I was soulless. That was my first clue to finding my true identity. What made it clearer were my dreams. I saw my real parents and I saw who I truly was. It was scary in the beginning but soon I accepted my identity. It wasn’t a big deal. This universe is filled with secrets beyond our comprehension. So what if I wasn’t human? I was okay, my life was getting better. I knew the truth about myself, at least.

So, as I was saying, I could see souls. It was not difficult for me to look for Sana’s soul. Hers was beautiful. I had always loved it. And when I looked for it, I found it. Unfortunately, it was without a body. Her body had died and her soul was left behind. She couldn’t crossover into the otherworld, because she was sad, so very sad.

“How long are you planning to mourn your own death?” I asked one day, she didn’t reply of course. Souls couldn’t talk. At least, not in the way I could understand. I was hoping that soon she would move on, but it had been months and she was still here. I wanted to know why, but I didn’t know where to look for the answers. Then it came to me.

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***

“Zainy, wait up,” Sam was calling my name.

“Hello,” I stopped in my tracks and looked at her coming towards me.

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” she said, “where have you been?”

“I have been busy with study and work,” I said, “you know how it is. Not much time for socializing.”

“That may be,” she continued, “but you should find time for friends or one day you’d be left alone.”

“I know, I will try,” I agreed with her, but the truth was I’d rather be alone with a book than be with people who never showed their true faces. I noticed something then. Her soul was completely black now. It wasn’t like that before. I wondered what she had done to cause this darkness in her soul.

“Anyhow,” she gave me a broad smile, “I was wondering if it’s ok for me to hang out with you today. We can study or talk, whatever. What do you think?”

“Hmm,” I wasn’t so sure about spending time with her, but I also wanted to know more about what she was up to, “sure, why not?”

“Cool,” she said, “I’ll come around seven pm?”

“Sure, see you.”

Later that night she came over to my room. Sana’s soul was there too and wasn’t happy about it. I saw the changes. It was as if her soul was scared of Sam’s. It gave me pause. I desperately wanted to know what was wrong with it. And somehow, I did. I wasn’t entirely sure how, but one minute I was wondering about it and the next, answer came to me. Sam had killed Sana. It was so strange how I knew it. In my mind there was no doubt in it. Both their souls showed me the truth. It was like the souls talked and I listened. That had never happened before, but it was not that farfetched considering the fact that I was an alien no one knew about.

“Were you and Sana really close?” Her questioned brought me back from my musings.

“Yes, you can say that,” I liked to think we were.

“She told you anything interesting?” I had no idea what she wanted to know. Yes, Sana and I were close in our own way, but no we didn’t use to have many heart-to-hearts. I wasn’t that kind of person. I liked to keep my distance, even from the person I called friend.

“Like what?”

“Oh, you know, just this and that.”

“I don’t know, we talked about a lot of things. You’ll have to be more specific.”

“Oh, forget it,” she said with a weird smile, “I just wondered how her last days were like? What she talked about? What she ate? You know, that kind of thing.”

“Sorry, I can’t think of anything in particular that might interest you,” I said.

“It’s ok, no need to apologize,” she said, “I was so close to her. You know how much time we used to spend together. I miss her so much.”

She was lying and I knew that. Her soul was getting darker and darker the more she talked. She was up to something, and it was nothing good.

“We were working on an article together,” she continued, “did she tell you about it?”

“An article?” I was confused, “about what? Why?”

“Oh, well, it was my idea,” she said, “I was working on something for our newspaper and asked for her help.”

“I had no idea,” I really didn’t know anything about it, “was it something important?”

“Don’t worry about it. I don’t know why I brought that up,” she changed the subject as soon as she realized that I didn’t know anything about any article, “how is your work going?”

“Not bad,” I said, “hey, you know I just remember I need to work of my essay for tomorrow’s class. Do you mind? I’m sorry, but I really don’t have time to continue this.”

“No problem, I was leaving anyway,” she said goodbye and left.

It was a strange encounter. I was not close to Sam at all. I barely knew her and yet, for some reason, she wanted to spend time with me and then asked me questions about Sana. That sounded like interrogation to me. It was then that I remembered Sana’s journal. The one she used to write in all the time. I knew where it was. For some reason she always kept it with my books instead of her own. Maybe that would give me answers that I wanted so badly.

To be continued…

Read Part One

Read Part Two

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved

You Don’t Deserve My Love (A Poem)

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I did try to be a good friend,

I promised to be loyal till the very end.

But now I am tired, as you must know,

If you didn’t know how to trust,

How not to imagine the worst,

Then it’s your choice,

If you couldn’t hear my heart’s voice.

I am leaving you never to return,

And all your memories, I plan to burn,

Your problems will no longer be any of my concern,

From this day onward, whether I live or die,

No longer my friend! Bye! Bye!

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved


It is said that you can’t go through life without losing a few friends. Unfortunately, I have experienced this a lot during the past few years. To be fair, I had been a very trusting person who always believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, it is not true anymore. These days I second guess everyone’s motives. And when someone tells me that they ‘were’ jealous of me before they became my friend, well, you can imagine what I think of that? In all honesty, jealousy is not an emotion I understand well but I know that I should stay clear of people who were or are jealous of me for any reason at all.

Another thing that I no longer tolerate in my friendships is lying. People lie all the time, that’s the truth. I am sure I do that too. Sometimes it’s not even harmful to anyone. Sometimes they are just afraid of judgment or simply wish to keep certain things private. That is okay. However, if someone lies to me when I ask them something directly or about something that should be shared between friends, then I can assure you that friendship will not last long. And it really hurts me. I don’t know why but for some reason I find it insulting that a friend would lie to me. I feel as if they are considering me as stupid if they think I don’t know the truth. It is very hurtful for a person like me who values her intelligence more than anything else in the world. (Okay, so maybe I have an ego problem but what can we do about it?) Secondly, I am a very non-judgemental person. I accept everyone as they are so if a friend hides something thinking I’d judge them, that’s also hurtful. A friend should know better than that.

Friendships are very important to me. There was a time when I was closer to my friends that I was to my family. But many of my friends ended up disappointing me in many different ways. These days I hold back, I don’t call people ‘friends’ as easily and as often as I used to. Trust and loyalty are the most important ingredients if you wish your friendship to last. Another thing is the reason behind your friendship. Some people make friends for all the wrong reasons and those friendships are also not going to last long.

Recently, I had to let go of another so-called friend of mine. She lied to me on multiple occasions. She told me the only reason she wanted to be my friend was that she wanted to see how good of a student I actually was. I guess, as long as, you are a good person and a good friend it doesn’t really matter. But don’t keep jealousy in your heart and pretend to be someone’s friend. I don’t like that at all. Sincerity is very important to be. And then there was another friend who once told me that, “girls like me are put on Earth just to make other girls jealous.” That was so out of line.

Oddly enough I also don’t like people who are never real to me. Or maybe I am not that only one who feels this way. It is actually very easy to tell when someone is being unreal or not their true self. For example, this same person I am talking about, never disagreed with me on anything, ever! I always found that very odd. People disagree with each other all the time. Friends do that too and it has no effect on their friendships what so ever. It’s unnatural to hold back and agree with everything that the other person says. It’s very suspicious. And for me, it raises red flags. Also, I thrive on disagreements *wink, wink*

It is so sad and it is a little disheartening to find out that the person you thought was your friend actually wasn’t. But it is life and this is normal. Important thing is to forgive and forget. Let people go and move on with your life. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t resent. But also, don’t ever let anyone make a fool out of you twice. That is all.

Have a good day everyone!


P.S. What is your ideal friendship like? What are the things you cannot tolerate in your friends? Do you think good friends still exist in this paper world or not?

Our Favorite Book Opening Lines

Have you ever noticed how sometimes the very first line of a book tells the whole story? It grabs your attention and makes you fall in love with the book. It is very rare though. I think in all my life (as a reader) I have come across only a handful of such amazing opening lines. And the books, that have these interesting openings, are some of my most favorite books. I feel that an opening line can tell you how well-written the book is going to be. So, if you love the opening of a book then chances are you will love the whole thing. Although, it is not necessary. Some books don’t start well but then redeem themselves later on. Some start very well and then let down the readers. Still, openings matter…

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

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I think this first line of the novel sets its philosophical tone. It tells you that the novel is going to talk about families and family values. However, we only get to see various unhappy families in this novel and no happy ones. So, it is the latter part of the sentence that the story draws upon. Indeed all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. I thought the story was rather sad but I loved the philosophy behind it and the lessons that one can be learned from them.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

thfs3et74f“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

I think no explanation is needed to tell why this opening line is so good. It just draws the readers in and you will want to read this book simply to find out more about this time. In his very first line, Charles Dickens broke from conformity and wrote a line that is also a paragraph. Yet, it flows so smoothly and that’s true for the entire novel. It’s a well-paced and very well-written book. Many consider it Dicken’s best work, although I don’t agree. I love The Great Expectations more but not for the writing style rather for the story itself. Still, A Tale of Two Cities is also (definitely) one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s not my favorite re-read though. (Oops!)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

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Another great opening line that says a lot about the story itself. It also sets the tone of the novel; we can guess that this book will be witty and humorous. No wonder it is one of the most famous opening lines in literature. Also, one of my most favorite. But then this novel is my most favorite piece of literature. I think I have read it at least a dozen times. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy remain, to this day, my favorite literary couple. I know sometimes people criticize Jane Austen for simplifying her stories and not being emotional enough. But I love her work. I think it is just perfect. She is probably The Queen of romcoms. I definitely consider her so. I think I have read all of her books and thoroughly enjoyed reading them. And let’s not start talking about all the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ adaptations that I have read and loved.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

It establishes the setting and hooks the readers. I think it was also kind of ironic because Dursleys were the least normal characters I’ve ever encountered. But it is indeed a great opening line, especially once you have read the novel you come to appreciate it. These are the people who truly are muggles in every sense of the word. It’s a great book with a great opening line. Another one of my favorites re-reads, although, now to think of it, I haven’t read in quite some time. Maybe it’s time to take out my Harry Potter books again.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

“When I think of my wife, I think of her head.”

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This first line is very telling. Firstly, you can tell that this couple is going to have its problems. Secondly, this book is going to be very disturbing because what a strange thing to think about your wife. Seriously, I found this very first sentence chilling and the story itself was exactly the same. This was my first psychological thriller but not my last. I really loved this story. Does that make me a disturbing person myself? Oh, well, I don’t really care even of does because one simply needs to read a good psychological thriller once in a while. And if it chills you to your bones then all the better.

Some Other Opening Lines I like

“All Children, except one, grow up.” ~ Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

“One thing was certain, that the white kitten had nothing to do with it—it was the black kitten’s fault entirely.” ~ Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

“In my end is my beginning…” ~ Endless Night by Agatha Christie


P.S. I am sure there are many such great opening lines in literature. I have shared my own personal favorites here and would love to hear some of yours. Do share.

A Life Worth Living (Part Two)

“How did your group study go yesterday?” I asked the next day when we were together in our room.

“It was good,” Sana replied, “we worked and also enjoyed talking to each other. That’s why I love to study with friends. It makes the hard tasks more fun than they can ever be.”

I just smiled to that. I didn’t much like company. I liked to be alone as much as possible. It’s bad enough that I had to share a room with Sana. But I was getting used to her. She was the only person I could tolerate for more than a few hours. Other than that, I prefer to keep to myself and read, when I am not studying, that is.

“So, about that book,” she began.

“What about it?”

“Have you read it?”

“I am reading it, but no, I haven’t read it to the end. Why?”

“It’s strange. I thought it was about metaphoric soul searching, but it actually talked about souls as if they can be seen and found outside of human body.”

“And that is strange?” I was a little confused.

“You don’t think so?” Now she sounded shocked.

“Not at all. Souls are just like flesh and blood. If you look closely, you can see them,” I replied.

“Okay,” she probably didn’t know how to respond to that. And I didn’t know why I said it. Humans really couldn’t see souls. But you see, the thing was that I was not human. I saw souls all the time. They were a part of everyone and if I concentrated, they were visible to me. Sometimes I didn’t even have to look too closely.

“I’m kidding,” I thought better to deflect, “I know, maybe the author was writing fiction, who knows? But it’s a good book. So far I’m enjoying reading it.”

“Yeah, it does sound like fiction,” she said laughing a little, “you had me worried there for a minute. Seeing souls?”

I said nothing. I saw her soul. It was so pure and so full of life. She had one of the best souls I had seen on this planet. Most people had dark souls, some were totally black. I guess the more you sinned the blacker it got. Not that I knew for sure. It was just the feeling I had.

“Are you going home during spring break?” She asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, “maybe, but it’s not really a good time for me to go home.”

“Why?”

“It’s just a busy time for my parents. I’ll be in their way,” I didn’t like talking about my family.

“I’ve never met your parents,” she said.

“Oh, yeah?”

“I was hoping to meet them now,” she smiled, “it would be great, don’t you think?”

I got the impression that she wanted me to invite her to stay with my parents and me, over the break. I wondered what was it all about, but I didn’t say anything. I hated prying into other people’s lives. If she wanted to share something with me she would.

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***

As it turned out, my parents did call me home, so I went. I hadn’t went back in a long time and I was feeling excited to see them afterall. I didn’t invite Sana though. I just didn’t feel like taking someone home with me. As I mentioned before, we weren’t really that close. I assumed she would go back to her parents and probably had a better holidays than me.

Then the strangest thing happened. Okay, probably not the strangest but still it was quite odd. When I came back after the break, Sana was nowhere to be found. She had vanished into the thin air. She never went home, but she wasn’t on campus either. No one knew what happened. One day she was there and the next she wasn’t. I wasn’t assigned a new roommate, because it was middle of the semester and everyone already had their rooms. So, now I was all alone.

The truth was that I did miss her. I never thought I would. I was always happy with a book. I rarely spend time with her outside of our room, yet I missed her. She had become a part of my life without my realizing it. I wondered how she would’ve felt if I told her about myself. If she knew the truth, would she had been scared of me? Or perhaps fascinated? I wanted to find her, but I didn’t know how. Until, I got an idea. It was time to tell my story. At last, I was ready. It was important that people knew me before they would understand how I found Sana when no one else could.

To be continued…

Read Part One

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