A.R Sara

A breezy & intense eternal teen with a zest for the here and the now

Month: October, 2017

A tale of two cats – A short story

It was a lazy Autumn afternoon. Tofli was lounging after a heartwarming meal of cream and bread. It was suddenly enveloped by the strangest feeling. A sense of being watched…
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Tofli sprang to attention and its ears perked up. Its light green eyes darted back and forth.

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It slowly shifted its glossy body into various positions to get a 360 degree view of its surroundings.

Soon it’s eyes landed on a creature quite like itself, in form. But so very different in looks. It was another cat. A strange one, at that. It sported an extraordinary fur, colored in shades of brown with flecks of gold and beige all over, resulting in arrestingly bizarre patterns.

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At first glance it appeared like designs had been etched deliberately on its fur. A message? Tofli’s eyes narrowed as it contemplated the cruelty humans are capable of. On further observation, it realized the the patterms were as natural as they come.
As it continued to stare, it realized the splash of mysterious whorls spread across the entire length of the cat’s sleek body rendering it both stunning and a tad bit dangerous too.
It watched Tofli unblinkingly from its vantage position on the wall as it sat partially obscured by the branches of a tree. Tofli’s gaze continued to slowly and lazily sweep over the cat, taking in its fluffy tail, sleek shape, unique fur and its well shaped head.
The moment their eyes locked, Tofli felt a distinct twang in the region where its heart is supposed to be. The strange cat leapt off the wall on catching Tofli staring back at it, breaking the eye-contact abruptly.
Turning away, it ambled into a pile of sand nearby.

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Tofli’s eyes followed the stranger’s slow and measured gait, mesmerized. Then as if pulled by invisible strings it got up and moved in the same direction. It approached the strange cat hesitantly.
“Hello there, I am Tofli, short for Tom Flash Lightning,” it introduced itself tentatively.

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“Are you talking to me?” the beautiful stranger responded, its eyes flashing fire. Its whiskers quivered. Whether it was from emotion or the wind, Tofli could not tell.

“Yes, I believe I am,” stuttered Tofli, before adding, “Are you a wild cat?”

“What do you think?” the stranger purred before breaking into a feline grin and replying in a silky smooth voice, “I am Firaya.”

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“F…i…r…a…y…a!” The name rolled off Tofli’s tongue with exquisite ease. It pronounced the name slowly, stretching out each letter like taffy, as if savouring each letter on its tongue. “Such an apt name for someone so unique and striking,” it sighed.
A faraway look entered Tofli’s eyes.

Firaya let out a long low growl before purring, “Tofleeeeee…” That broke the spell Tofli was under and it blinked.

“Look at you. You are no less enchanting!” remarked Firaya, its emerald green eyes sparkling with amusement and something more. It walked around Tofli. “Thick furry coat with a blend of snow white, peach and grey, a classic beauty no less!” It said appraisingly.

Tofli blushed from the tip of its tail to its pointy ears.

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“You have a rather fragrant pile of sand here. May I?” enquired Firaya in a deeply feline voice.

“Sure! Go ahead. There is enough space for both of us here.” answered Tofli, its heart beating faster.

Firaya, dipped its head into the sand and took in a deep shuddering breath. It  waited a beat before delicately dabbing the fine grains of sand with the tip of its tongue as if sampling and familiarizing itself with the earthy elements.
Tofli followed suit, without taking its eyes off Firaya.

Once they had inhaled and tasted the essence of the sand pile, branding it with a flavour of their own, they lifted up their heads and eyed each other warily. Tofli crouched low. Its thoughts flowed into incoherent words and dissolved before they could land on its tongue and be uttered.

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A gush of wind swept up the fallen leaves, weaving them together before scattering them. The wind broke into a wail. This was punctuated by the chirping of birds and cawing of crows, as they called out to their flocks to join them for their daily get-togethers. This only intensified the silence between the two cats as the wordless moment stretched.

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“Time to go!” said Firaya, shattering the silence and stepped away, ready to leave.

Tofli scrambled to follow Firaya, its head spinning from the rapid movement.

“Will I see you again?” Tofli enquired facing Firaya. Its light green eyes were luminous with hope.

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Firaya tossed its head haughtily and chuckled. A whimsical look entered its eyes.

“Maybe this will convince you!” said Firaya with a wink. Then without any warning, Firaya swiftly closed the distance between the two of them and landed a feather light kiss on Tofli’s mouth, their whiskers tangling.

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Just then a flash of lightning lit up the evening sky, taking a snapshot of the moment for eternal storage. It was followed by a clap  of thunder as if in sweet applause.

 

Copyright © 2017 RajaRajeshwari Nagasigamani

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Lorkum’s Quest Trailer

Make a wish if you dare
Save a friend if you care…

Here comes the long awaited book trailer…with a little help from my kids.
All you need is a minute to watch it.
Lorkum’s Quest Trailer – https://youtu.be/V0Yxx-pXoRM

Links to buy the book –
Kindle version:
Paperback:
Amazon India: amazon.in/dp/93865030
Flipkart India: bit.ly/2ouCBb2

#BookTrailer
#LorkumsQuest
#Adventure
#Thriller
#Suspense
#Mystery
#Lorkum
#Neurodiverse

Book Review – Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

Finally got to read The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak and sharing some thoughts on the same.
Some spoilers ahead!

I found it to be a fascinating read that leaves a lasting impression. The narrative is simple, unassuming and takes you on a lyrical journey filled with timeless mystical romance that transcends space and time. I found the writing style a little reminiscent of Paulo Coehlo’s earlier books.

It begins with a run-of-the-mill present day plot of a frustrated and placid Jewish housewife Ella facing cliched middle-aged blues and identity crisis, replete with a cheating husband she cannot emotionally connect with anymore, a rebellious teenage daughter and twins on the verge of teenage, dealing with issues of their own. With her husband’s reference she lands a job at a literary agency as a reader. She receives a manuscript for review on her very first assignment and therein unfolds the magical thread that connects the current day story to an epic mystical romance from the 13th century steeped in Sufism’s forty rules of love. Ella’s curiosity is kindled on reading the manuscript that spellbindingly narrates the events that led to the transformative and mystical relationship between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. In a move surprising herself, she begins a clandestine email correspondence with the author of the manuscript. A bold step that causes ripples in her tranquil and uninspiring existence, bringing with it life-changing consequences for the author, Ella and her family. Her email exchanges change into a philosophical relationship with strong romantic undertones, carried online then progressing to phone calls before finally culminating into something more tangible. The author Aziz is a globetrotting photographer and blogger of Scottish origin who happens to be a Muslim convert on the path of Sufi mysticism.

The story from the 13th century centered around Shams and Rumi, inspired by historical facts and narrated from the angles of different characters, is interspersed with a rather ordinary, plain and predicable story from the present day. But the overall effect is anything but ordinary as both the stories told in parallel unfold with startling clarity, fueled by mesmerizing and lucid prose, generously peppered with Sufi quotes and anecdotes, giving it an hypnotic effect. The story-telling is stunning as it meanders through the perspectives of multiple characters, whose lives were touched, transformed for better (and in the case of some, for worse) by the larger-than-life wandering Sufi mystic, Shams of Tabriz from the 13th century.
The flow of the novel is natural, smooth and riveting, with seamless and harmonious transitions between the two parallel stories and the several viewpoints.

The only parts that I found grating on my sensibilities and that had a jarring effect were the ones pertaining to the second half of Kimya’s story and Kerra’s treatment by Rumi. Rumi is shown as being empathetic and forward thinking in taking Kimya under his wings and helping her grow spiritually and helping expand her knowledge, and in pushing the boundaries of his spiritual realization after his association with Shams. But then is shown as resenting his wife Kerra’s interest in his books and treating her with casual indifference. Kimya’s story starts out promising and inspiring. Coming from a modest background, her broadminded father acknowledges the special gift she possesses and takes her to Rumi to shape her journey towards knowledge and spirituality. Rumi, recognizing her spiritual gift, graciously accepts the girl child into his household with a generous and kind heart and begins teaching and guiding her, as an adoptive father. But in an unexpected and shocking turn of events Kimya is shown to have developed romantic infatuation towards Shams and is married off to him at the tender age of 15 and soon meets her tragic end, heartbroken. It is an unconsummated marriage. A marriage that Shams, soon after the ceremony, views as a trap and a deterrent to his spiritual journey and this makes you wonder how Shams having been portrayed so far as someone so wise and enlightened and having established a divine relationship/companionship with Rumi, could be shown as even having agreed to a union like this. This struck a discordant note as it appeared rather incongruous with his character sketch painted so vividly and consistently in the rest of the book. I am not aware about the underlying historical facts that might have inspired this part of the story, so that could be a cause for my startled reaction towards this portion of the story.

That apart, I found the rest of the book compelling, filled with several thought provoking instances and all in all found it to be a beautiful reading experience the author has created by weaving a rich tapestry of historical and imaginary events expressed in a powerful and moving manner.
Something I found really noteworthy is the way the author has leveraged Sufism to deliver a sublime and non-preachy message of tolerance and embracing differences with numerous examples of religious and cultural co-existence throughout the book. Also the abstract comparison and connection between the characters of Rumi and Ella and between Shams and Aziz, wandering souls both, is exquisitely drawn. The comparison between Rumi and Ella is implied especially based on their inner renouncement of worldly relationships for an all-encompassing divine love and mystic companionship, renouncing reputation, changing way of life and finally loss of soul companion.

Below are some memorable extracts from the book that strike a realistic chord and makes one ponder.

“Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.”

“Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.”

“Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.” – Found this to be a recurring theme in the book, right from the beginning, in the reference of the effect of throwing a stone in a lake versus a flowing river to the essence of a wandering mystic.

“East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.”

“The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.”

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