Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hisham realised how fate had torn them apart........

They sat in the car, looking at the main building of the college. Hisham could not believe the fact that he was sitting very closely to the woman he had longed to meet and continue giving his love. They were so close yet at the same time he could feel that he might be losing her again. He brushed away the feeling and prayed hard that it would not happen. He wanted to love her, to have her and to be part of her.
“Sue, remember that big tree?” He broke the silence.
She looked at the tree near the front gate and nodded. She could not hold her tears and cried in the dark. He saw the tears and let her cry. The place was too meaningful to both of them and looking at it again in a different situation that night really hurt them. Hisham knew that he could not go back to the time when they were so much in love. It was eleven years ago.
“Why did you leave me?”Hisham’s sudden question surprised her.
“I did not!” Her answer came as short and  abrupt as the question.
They looked at each other.
“I went to your house a year after we left college and you were not there. Nobody was there. You left without telling me, without a word.” Hisham looked at her hard and in the dark she could see his tormenting eyes. He was hurt too, just like her.
“Hisham, I never left you....You promised me that you would be there for me if I needed you..but you were not there for me when I needed you most.” Suzana spoke softly and slowly, half crying. There was pain in the voice.
“ Yes, dear. I’ll be there for you, Sue. Come to me when you need me and I will never fail you...” Hisham repeated the words he said to Suzana eleven years ago, when they met under the tree before departing to their hometowns.
“But you failed to be there when I needed you, Sham.....” She said softly but it was clear enough for him to hear the misery in the voice.
“Dad left mom for another was family was ripped apart. I was devastated.....I called you many times but I could not reach you....I wrote to you but you did not reply any of my letters....” Suzana told her story with shaky voice.
“Sue...I’m sorry...I didn’t know...” Hisham could see the pain she had undergone.
It was her fate. Her father left her and her mother a few months after she was assigned for her first post. Her mother could not face the fact and decided to move to Ipoh. Suzana had no choice but to follow her mother. Suzana had to be with her as she was devastated and broken hearted. She needed Suzana the most and it was a difficult period for Suzana too. Like her mother, Suzana needed someone too and that someone was Hisham but he was not there for her as he had promised.
“ I didn’t get all the letters and calls from you....” There was the tone of shock in his husky  voice.
Suzana paused and looked at the man next to her. Her lively eyes  which he loved to see turned quiet and there were sorrows and pain in them. Hisham realised how fate had torn them apart and they could not avoid it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Prisoner of Zenda -Chapters 11-15

Chapter 11 – A Kind of Tea Party
      Rassendyll received a letter from Antoinette de Mauban asking him to meet her at her summer house at midnight. Rassendyll went to the summer house with Sapt. Rassendyll asked Sapt to wait at the front gate while he went into the summer house alone.She told him that the Duke planned to kill the King and throw the King’s body in the New Town. Then the Duke planned to put the blame on the King’s friend. He then planned to marry the princess. She also told him that the King was imprisoned in Zenda Castle.
     When Rassendyll was talking to Antoinette de Mauben, suddenly the Duke’s men arrived at the scene. They made an offer that the Duke was willing to pay fifty thousand pounds if Rassendyll leave Ruritania. Rassendyll escaped using the tea table as a shield from the gunshots.

Chapter 12 – The Marriage Will Shortly Take Place
     The people were angry  with the King, as he would not fix a date for his wedding. As a result, Duke Michael was becoming more popular among the people.
       Sapt told Rassendyll that a dance  had been arranged in the Princess’s honour. Rassendyll was also told that he had to ask the Princess to marry him that night.
        The most important people in the country were present at the party. In front of the guests, Rassendyll took the Red Rose of Ruritania from his neck and put it on the Princess’s neck. The guests cheered and clapped when seeing this.
        After dinner, Rassendyll went to the garden with Princess Flavia and declared his love for her. When he found out that the Princess only began to love the King after the day of Coronation he was very touched. He wanted to tell Princess Flavia the truth before he could do so, he was interrupted by Sapt. All of them then returned to the crowded dance hall.

Chapter 13 – Love or Honour?
     The morning after the ball, Rassendyll, Sapt, Fritz and ten men were ready to leave for Zenda to rescue the King . Sapt spread the news that the King was going for a boar-hunting trip in the forest near Zenda                      
     Before leaving, Rassendyll told Marshall Strakencz that if the King was killed, the latter had to call out the Army and rule till Princess Flavia was crowned Queen.
     The Princess turned as white as a sheet when she heard that Rassendyll was going to ‘hunt’ Black Michael. Rassendyll told her that if he did not return, she would be the Queen and rule the country. The Princess gave her promise and then she cried like a child.

Chapter 14 – Rassendyll Revisits the Inn in Zenda
     Duke Michael sent three of his Famous Six to visit Rassendyll. They were the Ruritanians; Lauengram, Kaufstein, and Rupert of Hentzau. Rupert , the leader, was the youngest of the three. He was 23 years old and also the most wicked but he was a merry fellow and completely fearless.
     After they were gone, Rassendyll went to Zenda with Fritz. He would save the King by a trick. Rassendyll went to the Inn and asked the girl in the Inn to help him. She should tell Johann Holf that ‘the King’ would want to see him at the bridge outside Zenda at ten o’clock at night.
     Sapt was waiting for them when they reached the castle of Tarlenheim. He was worried because Bernenstein who was Rassendyll’s height was nearly killed by the Famous Six. Rassendyll knew that the bullet was meant for him.

Chapter 15 – Rassenzdyll Narrowly Escapes Death
     That morning, Rupert of Hentzau, the  most wicked of the Six came to see Rassendyll at the Castle. He gave the message from Black Michael. Black Michael promised Rassendyll a hundred thousand pounds if he leave Ruritania but Rassendyll rejected the offer. Rassendyll also found out that the King was still alive.
     Before leaving, Rupert flashed a dagger and struck Rassendyll’s left shoulder. Rassendyll fainted and when he came to himself he was in bed. Johann was brought to him and told him that the King was imprisoned in the Old Castle , in the room at the end of the drawbridge. The king was guarded by three of the Six in the next room. If there would be an attack on the Castle, one of them would kill the king at once and throw the body into the moat and nobody would find his body.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He had to know, to be sure of his feeling..........

Hisham could not stop thinking of Suzana. He had been looking for her for so many years and when he was about to give up, she appeared. Meeting her again was what he had been dreaming and hoping for merely eleven years. Lying in his bed, in his hotel room and knowing that the person he loved very  much was in the next room made him uneasy. He could not think straight and was not in his right frame of mind. All the memories he had with her kept on coming into his mind, every minute of his days and it was torturing him. Her smile, her small eyes and everything about her made him crazy. He loved her too much but was afraid of the reality he had to face and that was the reason why he had been avoiding her for two days. He had to see her before losing her the second time. He would not want that to happen again. Once is enough.
That night, the last night of the programme, he gathered all his courage and picked up the telephone. A few seconds later, he heard the voice he wanted to hear.
Hisham took a deep breath before responding to her.
“Hello...hello..” Suzana’s voice was heard and Hisham coughed to clear his throat before uttering his first word.
“Hello Sue....Hisham here.”
“Hisham.....what....” but Hisham did not allow her to finish her question.
“Sue, please listen to me....please listen...”
His husky voice had a different tone this time and she was able to feel the misery he was feeling right now. She did not respond but waited for his next words.
“Sue, I need to see you tonight. Please say yes. I have to see you...please.” He pleaded softly.
Suzana was speechless and undecided. This man she was talking to, whom she loved very much was there for her and that was what she had wanted all those years. Unfortunately, she was afraid to see him again. She was not ready and felt that it was not the right time.
“Hisham, I can’t...I don’t think this is right....”
“I have to see you and if you want it to be the last meeting between us, I promise it will be the last...”
He was very wrong about that because Suzana never wanted it to be the last. She was hoping that she would be able to see him again and again.
“Okay then...” She responded.
He was at the hotel lobby, waiting for her. She walked to him and when he heard her , he turned and smiled. She smiled and that was the smile he had missed so much. He walked her to his car which was parked in front of the hotel entrance and without a single word they left the hotel. He drove in silence and the road he took was too familiar to her. He was taking her back to the place where they met the first time and fell in love. He stopped at the entrance of their alma mater and looked at her. He knew it would hurt her very much but he had no choice. That was the only way to find out how she felt about him. He had to know, to be sure of his feeling too so that he could continue with his life and learn to love someone else if he had to.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

TPOZ - Exercises for LEP (2)

TPOZ - Exercises for LEP (2)

Quote of the day

I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.  
Ancient Persian Saying

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

.....Suzana did not see the glimpse of Hisham the whole two days.

The third and fourth days went smoothly and Suzana did not see the glimpse of Hisham the whole two days. However, it was not what she wanted. She was hoping to see him somewhere in the conference hall. The hope she had and her feeling toward the man surprised her very much. She thought she had forgotten him but their meeting at this conference had proven her wrong. Hisham and the beautiful memories they had together at college were still in her mind and heart.
In her room that night, the last night of the programme, she opened her purse. She took out a folded photo from the zipped compartment of the purse. With trembling hands, she unfolded the photo and there it was, the old picture of Hisham and her. She gazed at it for a long time and it was the first time after 10 years. All those years she had no guts and courage to look at it. It had been folded, kept and to be precise, hidden in that purse for 10 years.
That picture was taken during their final year at college. It was one of those nights when they and other students gathered at one of the benches, spending their last nights after dinners, counting down days to farewell, sharing jokes and stories and recalling pleasant moments they had in their alma mater. She was sitting next to Hisham, not smiling, unlike Hisham who was smiling from ear to ear. He had a naughty look in that picture, perhaps satisfying look. This was because the picture was taken after a long argument between them. Suzana had to give in to Hisham and that made her angry and him very happy. She could not remember what the argument was about may be because they had always argued and quarrelled all the times. Hisham liked to tease her and make her angry and that was what she remembered.
Smiling, she turned the picture and read the writing behind it. She read:
“ Dear, Sue. Whoever your life partner will be, I want you to know that you will always be in my heart. Your dearest Hisham."
The smile faded and it was replaced by tears. It was Hisham’s handwriting and what he had written was very true for her; he was always in her heart.
As she was looking at the picture and reminiscing her past, the mobile phone next to her rang. She picked it up and looked at the screen. It was Adly. This brought her back to reality.
“Sue, how are you?” Adly started the conversation.
“I’m fine. Only a little tired, about you?” Suzana tried very hard not to be too obvious with her tone. Adly had known her for too long and it would not be easy to hide anything from him, even her voice.
“ Everything is fine here. Don’t worry about me. I don’t want you to be too stressed. Take it easy.” He was very comforting. She knew Adly loved her very much.
“All right. You too, don’t worry about me” she responded.
“Okay then. Good night. Take good care of yourself.”
“ Okay and you too.”
She stared at the phone for a few minutes as if she was looking at the man she had just spoken to.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Prisoner of Zenda -Chapters 6-10

Chapter 6-Rassendyll Is Crowned King Rudolf the Fifth
      The city of Strelsau had two main sections, the New Town and the Old Town. People living in the New Town supported the King while those living in the Old Town wanted  Black Michael to be their king.
       The Coronation procession first past through the New Town and was greeted by cheering of spectators. Rassendyll wanted to show the people in the Old Town that their king was brave. As the Coronation procession prepared to past through the Old Town, Rassendyll decided to ride alone.
      The Coronation took place at the Cathedral  where Rassendyll met Black Michael and Princess Flavia for the first time. After the Coronation, the Princess and Black Michael were introduced to Rassendyll the “King”. Later, Rassendyll and the Princess got into the royal carriage and left for the palace . The Princess saw some changes in the “King” but she liked his seriousness. The Princess also warned the “King” about Black Michael.

Chapter 7- Where is the King?
      The dinner at the Royal Palace was a success as no one had recognized the King as Rudolf Rassendyll. After the dinner, Sapt and Rassendyll set out to the hunting lodge in Zenda. The plan was for King Rudolf V to return to the Palace and Rassendyll to leave Ruritania .
    They left Fritz in the King’s bedroom and would tell everyone that the King was resting.      Nobody was allowed to enter the room. Sapt and Rassendyll left the Palace through the secret door which opened into an underground passage . They came out at the back of the Palace gardens.
     Sapt and Rassendyll were riding to the direction of Zenda when they heard somebody  riding after them. Sapt and Rassendyll hid behind some trees. They saw that the two horsemen were Duke Michael  and Max Holf, who served under the Duke. Later, when Sapt and Rassendyll rushed to the lodge, they found that Josef, the servant was killed while trying to save the King. The King was missing.

Chapter 8 – Rassendyl Must Return to Strelsau as King
      Rassendyll and Sapt searched all the cellars and the whole lodge but they could not find the King. Sapt realized that Black Michael’s men must have come to the lodge after Rassendyll, Sapt and Fritz had left. The Black Michael’s men had killed Josef and kidnapped the King
     They had no choice but to go back to Strelsau .and continue impersonating the King. Sapt said that as long as Rassendyll was in Strelsau, Black Michael would not kill the King. So, they would have enough time to plan his rescue. When they were at the lodge, Black Michael’s men came. They went to the back door of the lodge and waited. When the men were at the front door, Sapt and Rassendyll attacked them. Rassendyll killed two men and Sapt killed one man but a bullet caught Rassendyll’s fingers.

 Chapter 9 – The Famous Six
     Sapt and Rassendyll returned to the Palace and entered the King’s room through the secret door. Fritz thought that Rassendyll was the King and greeted him. Sapt told Fritz what had happened to the King.
      After breakfast, Sapt gave Rassendyll a three-hour lesson      on his duties. Then the chief minister came to see Rassendyll and brought some important papers for him to sign. Later that day he met some ambassador and one them was the English ambassador who had come to Rassendyll’s house in England. He was lucky because that man was short-sighted and could not recognize him.
     Rassendyll was tired and wanted some rest but Fritz told him that they had to act fast to rescue the King. Fritz got the information that Black Michael had returned to Strelsau with three of his Famous Six. Sapt inferred that the other three of the Famous Six were guarding the King in Zenda and the King was still alive .

Chapter 10 – Rassendyll Meets Black Michael and Three of the Famous Six.
      Rudolf rode through the street because he wanted the people to like and trust the King. He stopped and bought flowers for Princess Flavia. It pleased the crowd as well as the princess.
Duke Michael and his three foreign followers arrived at Princess Flavia’s residence. Rassendyll saw hatred in Duke  Michael’s eyes. Princess Flavia wanted Rassendyll to be careful of the duke and his men. Rassendyll realized that he was falling in love with the princess.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Prisoner of Zenda -Chapters 1-5

Chapter 1- Rudolf Rassendyll
 Rose, Rassendyll’s sister-in-law was very disappointed with him because he had wasted so much of his life. She believed that at the age of twenty-nine,  a man should have a good position.
            As for Rassendyll, he knew he had not wasted his time. He had graduated from a German University and was well-travelled. He was also a skilful swordsman and horseman.
            Rassendyll’s brother, Lord Burlesdon agreed with his wife. He told Rassendyll that he had found him the job of an attaché at the British Embassy in Ruritania, the country where Rassendyll had never been to. So, Rassendyll decided to go to the country to see the place himself. He also wanted to see the Coronation of King Rudolf the Fifth in Strelsau, the capital of Ruritania. He told Rose that he was going to the Alps to write a book about the people there.

Chapter 2- Rassendyll Arrives in Zenda
The next day, Rassendyll left London for Ruritania . He met George, his old friend, at the railway station in Paris. George told him something about the beautiful  woman they saw at the railway station. She was a rich  widow  called Antoinette de Mauban. She was on her way to Strelsau to meet Duke Michael and also to see the Coronation.
The train soon left for Ruritania. From the newspaper, Rassendyll found that the date of the Coronation was made earlier. Strelsau was already crowded with people. Thinking that there was no hope he could get a room in Strelsau, Rassendyll stopped at Zenda. He asked his way to the nearest inn.
       From his room in the inn, Rassendyll could see the Zenda’s famous castle which was on a hill-top. The old lady who kept the inn told Rassendyll it was a pity that Duke Michael was not crowned as the king. The Duke was a well-known and friendly figure amongst the people. The people hardly saw the King. The old lady also informed Rassendyll that the King was staying at the Duke’s hunting lodge then.
      When Johann, the Duke’s forest guard walked into the inn, he was astonished to see Rassendyll. The old lady’s daughter told Rassendyll that the colour of his red hair was the same as the King’s which surprised Johann.

Chapter 3- Rudolf Rassendyll Meets King Rudolf the Fifth
     Early the next morning, Rassendyll went to visit the famous Castle of Zenda . The castle was surrounded by a moat  with a drawbridge across it. On the other side of the drawbridge
was a modern building which was Duke Michael’s country house.
      As it was getting hotter, Rassendyll decided to go into the forest. He dozed off there. All of a sudden, he was awakened by a loud voice. Rassendyll saw two men standing beside him. They were Colonel Sapt and Fritz Von Tarlenheim. Both of them were the King’s advisors. While Rassendyll was talking with the two, King Rudolf the Fifth came up. Both Rassendyll and the King gave a cry of surprise when they saw each other. Rassendyll looked exactly like the King. Both of them had the same red hair, the same long nose and the same blue eyes. The only difference was Rassendyll had a beard while the King was not bearded.
      The King then invited Rassendyll to the hunting lodge to have dinner with him. That night, the King drank a full bottle of wine given by Duke Michael.

Chapter 4 – Rassendyll Becomes Rudolf the Fifth

    The next morning, Rassendyll was wakened up by Colonel Sapt with a bucket of water. The King’s advisors wanted Rassendyll to impersonate the King for the Coronation. The King was lying unconscious and could not be wakened up. There was not much time before the Coronation. Sapt, Fritz and Rassendyll suspected that the bottle of wine given to the King by Duke Michael was drugged. They knew that the Duke wanted to be the King of Ruritania.
Half of the nation and the Army wanted the Duke to be the King. And only Rassendyll could save the king.

 Chapter 5- Rassendyll Arrives in Strelsau to be crowned
     After shaving off his beard, Rassendyll put on the King’s white uniform and took the King’s Sword and revolver. Then Sapt and Josef, the servant, carried the unconscious King to the cellar. Josef was told to guard the King carefully. Fritz, Sapt and Rassendyll then made for the railway station to catch the train to Strelsau.
     On the way, Sapt instructed Rassendyll to act like a king. The three arrived at the station, got into a special carriage and headed for Strelsau.
     On their arrival at the station in Strelsau, Rassendyll the ‘King’ was welcomed by the people. Rassendyll was introduced to Marshal Strakencz and the ministers. As everyone believed that Rassendyll was the King, he began to feel more confident of his impersonation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

.........and he knew she liked it very much.

“Sue, please.....”
“Sham, stop it.”
“You have to listen to me.......”
“Hisham, you have to stop....”
“But, you have to listen to me, don’t do this to yourself.......I know it hurts you and it hurts me even more..........”
“Please, stop it!” she was firm this time and the man next to her stopped.
There was silence in the lift.
“I  have to go.” She broke the silence when the lift stopped at the fifth floor and she walked out from the lift.
He followed her.
“Stop following me.”
“No, I’m not following you. I’m going to my room.”
She did not say a word but continued walking. He walked behind her and stopped before she stopped at her door.
“My God, his room is next to mine!” she screamed  in her heart.
     She was exhausted; physically and mentally. Unfortunately she could not put herself to sleep. Her mind was too busy thinking about what had happened earlier that day. The incident came to her view vividly and it was like a film being played again and again. Hisham’s face was disturbing her. He came into her mind, her view and her way. She saw him every where she went. She saw him in her mind. He was everywhere. It was difficult for her as the image of the man she once loved was disturbing her. She felt tight in her chest. Suddenly there were tears on both her cheeks. She cried all her heart out but did not know the reason for it. The only thing she knew was, it would not be easy for her, not with Hisham around. She did not know when she fell asleep.
     She was a little late that morning. She overslept as she did not hear the alarm. Suzana grabbed her notebook and dashed out from her room. She could not afford to be late. She had been waiting for this slot of the programme. The reason she had signed up for this conference was due to the slot; the new approaches for teaching adolescents. She was too occupied with not wanting to be late to realise that someone was watching her when she walked out of her room. She slammed the door and ran toward the lift. She nearly fell down when she reached the lifts. All the lifts were busy. She grumbled, complaining about not wanting to be late.
     She heard someone coughing behind her. She turned and saw Hisham. One thing for sure, he looked very handsome that morning just like eleven years ago. He did not change much. Only that he was a little taller than before and definitely more handsome. He had grown up being a good looking man. What more with his charismatic character. Without realising it, she was actually admiring the handsome man in front of her.
     Her heart pumped faster when she was brought to the present. She did not like the feeling she had. Hisham  was smiling as if he knew what was on her mind, as if he knew she was admiring him. She returned his smile and he winked his right eye which he often did 11 years ago......and he knew she liked it very much.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quote of the day

About all you can do in life is be who you are.
Rita Mae Brown

Saturday, March 5, 2011

If only she knew the pain and suffering he was going through.......

He looked into her eyes.  She could not endure the stare and the way he looked into hers. She was speechless. She could feel his eyes looking at her, they were all over her and without realising it she said, “Sham, don’t look at  me that way.”
“What way?” he responded.
There was silence.
“I miss you, Sue. Very much.”
That was all. The next second he was gone.
She performed her prayer and went back to the conference hall. Anita was there at her seat.
“Are you all right, Suzana?” Anita asked.
“Yes, thank you.”
“But you look very pale as if you have seen a ghost.” Anita teased her.
Suzana smiled but deep inside her, she was fighting. She herself was not sure what she was fighting with. It had been a long time but this meeting with Hisham had brought back the old memories. The memories of them; the two of them; Hisham and Suzana.
The talks continued, the second and third guest speakers presented their topics on professional development. Suzana did not listen to them as she was somewhere else mentally.
The talks ended at 4.00 pm. She made her way to her hotel room. She had enough for that day. She was mentally exhausted and had no appetite to join other participants for tea. As other participants were having their tea, the lifts were empty and she did not have to wait or queue to take the lift. She went into one of the lifts and someone joined her. Again it was Hisham. She could not avoid him. He was next to her, too close to her. She was suffocated and breathless.
“Sue, look at me please,” he started
She took a deep breath but did not move her head.
“Sue, please, look at me,” his soft and husky voice struck her ears. She had missed the voice for 11 years.
Slowly she lifted her head but dared not look into  his eyes. Her eyes rested on his lips and she heard him say, “Sue, into my eyes please,”
Slowly and reluctantly, she looked into his. Those eyes were killing her. The sharp look he had on her, was as if she was stabbed straight into the heart. Those eyes belonged to a man once she loved very  much and those eyes still had the magic power they once had 11 years ago. She was silent. They were silent. Their eyes held each other for a few minutes as if they were communicating.
She felt tears on her cheeks.  She could not hold the tears and clumsily with her  warm fingers, she brushed them away . She grabbed hold of herself and leaned against the wall of the lift. He needed not do anything to make her cry. His presence and the memories they had were enough to cause the heartache she was enduring. He kept on looking at her, the tears and he could feel the pain in her but he too was helpless. If only she knew the pain and suffering he was going through looking at her now.....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From Taiping With Love.............

The morning sun, an amazing glow,
with its glorious, wonderful ray.
The green mountains smile in a row,
they welcome me, my beautiful day.
The lovely flowers, the green trees,
greet the friendly people every day.
This peaceful scene is such a bliss,
I always hope it is here to stay.
Envy me not, it is my fate,
to see the flowers, trees and lake.
Thankful to God for things are great,
From Taiping with love is always said.