Elegantly writing a time-consuming saga entails extraordinary persistence coupled with a ceaseless vigil on the characters not to let them astray. There are a few reasons when the author loses his/her grip on his characters. One is his own stream of extrasensory perceptions that at times lure him to carry on with the unpredictable wind that undervalues the possible plot. And the second is a gracious favour that a writer does to his specific character(s) leaving the rest rambling in the endless valleys of fancy like a fallen leaf readily available for a jackboot to be crushed beyond repairs. Shifa Ajaz in her maiden novella The Cursed Jewels has put a lot of willpower in adequately treating her characters and strength in managing the plot. This is an inspiring tale that every child would love to read for the apparent reason that it is jam-packed with childlike innocence, struggle and giggling narrative. Shifa is a gifted student of 8th grade only but her writing skills and way of constructively engaging a reader is pleasing. One can take it for granted that such a gifted child shall keep us fathoming ‘what next.’ Shifa is a promising young writer of our Valley, and we earnestly hope her future endeavours are undoubtedly going to delight one and all.
In this literary work, she has called for attention and Jammu Kashmir Fiction Writers Guild is keen to promote such original and honest works. The novella revolves around a few characters like Mr Austin (a hotel owner) Mrs Austin (a professional writer), Brianna (Elder sister) Gianna (an eleven-year-old little girl) and other characters like Elijah (a Classmate), Amela (Villain) and Chipstic (Guide). The novella consists of five chapters: The Gift, Life, Reunion, The Stone of the Past and Betrayal. The entire story has been woven around these characters and like a good story, writer Shifa has completed her narrative using characterisation technique which is again a very powerful tool to bring at fore the tale sensibly. Shifa has excellently used the gemstones and related it to the plot. The entire graph of the story is as follows. Gianna, the protagonist has a stone in her possession by virtue of which he reaches to the world unknown to the common man where she meets an old man namely Chipstic who informs her to grab another stone from the other world and the travel starts. Shifa loves travelling so she has put forth her hobby as the driving force to obtain the stone for her protagonist. On obtaining the stone Amela, an antagonist steals the stone but fails to utilize it and dies. Shifa has excellently managed her echo that reveals that everything has its own owner and one who plans to disturb the divine balance created by the Lord has to face the consequences and Shifa has brilliantly and innocently reached the conclusion that the tactics that are ill-planned have no validity. One of the special features of the novella is that the author who is a brilliant sketch artists as well has incorporated sketches of all the characters that aptly matches with the description given in the text.
The narrative is strong enough to keep the reader guessing what next and I have the gut feeling that this piece of literature shall receive appreciation from the literary circles. When this text was forwarded to me by Mr. Veshi Syed, I found it worth publishing and after few rounds of conversations with Shifa, the author she took a few suggestions seriously and managed it to my expectations. I wish Shifa all the wishes she wishes for.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Mushtaq B.Barq is a Columnist, Poet and Fiction Writer. He is the author of “Feeble prisoner, “ Wings of Love” and many translation works are credited to the author like “ Verses Of Wahab Khar” and “ Songs Of Sochkral””