Book Review: Divergent

Veronica Roth’s Divergent by Harper Collins’ Publications is a scientific fiction book that tells us the tale of a future society divided by virtues and the journey of one Beatrice Prior to find love, acceptance, family and a home, all the while making the most difficult of her society, to stay with her family and pretend to be someone she is not sure she or to leave them  to become the person she always admired and aspired to be, but the world  turns darker when she realizes that the choice is now between life and death and then she meets Four, a mysterious instructor who both hurts and protects us. Also, a war is brewing. A battle of free will and the right to live, a battle which might take not only her family and home but also her life.

The characters are extremely well developed, especially Beatrice “Tris” Prior and Four along with the five factions that make up this futuristic society, which will keep readers awake at night, long after they have finished the book.

Tris develops from a  strong willed but confused young girl to a formidable woman and leader while Four grows out from the strict instructor and shows us that not everything is as it seems. Secrets and plans make up the plot, along with minor characters such as Christina and Albert.

The book is set in Chicago of the future, where the city is made of tumbled down buildings and broken ferris wheels.

The book has many interesting aspects, such as the five factions and the question of what lies beyond the city limits and  why is it so necessary to conform to serums and not have a opinion of your own. The dialogues are well developed and the plot twists keep thickening at every turn, making it a real page turner. An easy to go style of writing makes the book a lot more interesting and “divergent”.

Fire in her eyes

She had fire in her eyes,

Bejeweled as they were with emeralds.

He was a rising prince,

And tears were his pay back.

He ran in a pack,

While another howled at the moon,

And yet others embraced the darkness within,

Once friends, now traitors.

This was not a story of hate,

Nor was it a war bent on revenge,

Despite it being both,

In the end it was his love,

That died protecting what was their own,

It ended wars dearly won,

With years of deaths,

Fight and peace,

Emeralds, hazels, pools of silver and gold,

And much, much more.

Wisdom and strategy and owls white,

Two generations began to fight.

Happy Birthday Percy Jackson!

A/N- A short story to wish Percy a HBD!

He swung her around, making her laugh as she held onto him for dear life even though Annabeth knew that in the unlikely event that Percy ever dropped her, she would make it to the ground. Safely.

“Happy birthday Seaweed Brain,” she said when her feet finally touched the ground again. It was Percy’s first birthday they were celebrating after the giant war and after an entire day of partying with their friends( it was a beach party and even Poseidon had showed up for a few minutes and a hug) all the two of them had wanted was to spend time together, because after all they had been through, nothing mattered except each other these days. Stopping herself from the direction, her thoughts were taking, she focused solely on Percy, drinking in his goofy smile, the exact shade of his eyes, his face and just everything about him as her toes buried in the sand, but she knew her Percy was more than just a pretty face, he was a hero and not just because he was the son of God or even one of the Big Three’s kids but simply because he was Percy.

“Penny for your thoughts?” he asked, his eyes sparkling in amusement as he caught her staring and she nudged his shoulder playfully.

“You can’t give a penny for hearing me say good things about you Seaweed Brain, it’s not nice,” she teased but he was not one to lose.

“So you were thinking about me,” he shot back and Annabeth laughed.

“Who else would you rather I think about dear sir?”

“Why yourself, my dear lady,” he said before brushing her lips with his, looking in her eyes all the time, before flinging a handful of water at her.

“Oh, it’s war!”

Screaming a battle cry, they both ran around the laughing and dodging, rolling in the sand and just being happy because sometimes, happiness is all you need and as they lay on the beach, hugging, she closed her eyes and whispered, “I love you Seaweed brain.”

“I love you too Wise Girl,” he said and they both knew as long as they had each other, they needed nothing else.

Why should I be YOU?

They say our tears hurt,

our screams sound

but when our hearts we lay,

it is not the NORMAL way?

Why should my dream be the same?

Can’t it be another road to fame?

I want to help but not heal,

is it so wrong a hatred to feel?

I want to heal but with words

and tunes like the runaway dusk.

Is it wrong to be me?

A thought from a dream land,

a bright sparkle in the rain.

I am to them wrong,

but a battle is always hard wrought,

and every rise is not high,

on my dream a thousand fie?

Why should I be you?

When just as easily and happily I can be me?

Unedited Extract 2

Love, they say emerges in different spheres, in different minds, but remains the same in every heart and no matter how evil, how broken and how alone a person is, one always finds something, some ideal or in the lucky cases, somebody to love, adore or worship as their hero, mentor, brother, lover, sister, family and friend. It does not matter how long, loyal or happy a love story is but each love story in our life, changes us with it, making us a better or worse person. Maybe, that is why people are afraid to love, because it’s as unpredictable as the wind that blows and the waves that rage in the ocean, but no matter how terrible, how scared someone is, there hasn’t been anyone in the world without love, one might love books while another might like music, somebody might be a fan of romance and another comedy. Another person may be passionate about history or science or dance or music or art or travel or pranks or their family or maybe that one person whom they are just dying to talk to but can’t approach. However, in all of these webbed stories of love, the one that shines above all is the story of how the love between brothers can surpass even death and that nothing can separate two brothers apart from themselves. Their story is not a new or different one, it is something that we see and ignore everyday as a mundane occurrence, but what makes it shine bright is the presence of the two of them in the skies, providing light to every love story in the sky no matter what is it’s kind and enjoying each other’s company for all eternity.

Two young men lay on the grass, gazing at the stars.

“Say Pullox,” said one, “why can’t we touch the stars?”

“Castor, brother, those stars are the ones who are dead and raised by the God to be immortal due to their great deeds and for that you have to either extremely gifted or brave and daring. Now that is an achievement huh?”

With that the two brothers went back to star gazing, both dreaming that they would someday be a part of them together.

Years passed and soon the two of them grew up to be amongst the most handsome and eligible princes in all of Greece, but what they were known for was the love they had for their sisters and most importantly each other. You  could never see one without the other, they were like two parts of a whole and loved nothing more than the other. They called each other twins, even though they were half brothers, one the demi-god son of Zeus and other the mortal prince of horses as people called them. Pullox earned merit for his bravery and wrestling while Castor tamed horses far and wide and yet there was not one quest which one undertook without the other and soon they came to be known as the Brothers Pullox and Castor, people forgetting that only one of them had a God’s blood in them.

Even when they grew up and married and had sons, their love never lessened, never diminished and each loved the others’ family as if it were his own but fate seldom helps the brave and good and it did not even help Castor and Pullox, no matter how they praised the Gods and slaved for them and that is what happened when two who always fought side by side were separated in the Trojan War lost in the mob of animals in human clothing, slaughtering each other without a single thought and blood lust shining in their eyes.

He never knew what true pain was, until that moment in the battlefield. Blood flew every where and the cried of soldiers were something they had become accoustomed to but that shrp intake of breath was something, Pullox did not hear but feel, it felt as if he himself had been speared. It had happened so suddenly and yet he had seen it all, as if Kronos himself had slowed time for him to witness it. A spear, something he could have snapped in half without so much as blinking an eye had been the one to tear his heart apart right before his eyes and his brother’s cry of pain was the last thing he ever heard but it was the worst sound ever. Pullox lunged at the coward who had hit his brother in the back, screaming like a mad bull as he splashed and kicked and stabled his way towards where his fallen twin lay, hands closed around the spear as if still trying to pull it out.

Others on the battlefield shrank back as he came barreling towards them, stabbing without seeing if it was friend or foe. Lightning flashed and thundered roared as if the skies themselves were sharing his pain, but the demigod noticed nothing apart from the body on the floor. He knew he had to fight for his sister, but that though too, seemed far away as he say his fallen twin. Their entire lives everything had been for each other and now the thoughts he could hear, the battle noises seemed to have gone out of focus, almost like the buzzing of insects in the background, was to provide his brother the funeral he deserved but how he could he do that? He would have never wanted to die before Castor and have his sweet younger brother, the one who loved animals above all, suffer the pain of losing his other half, but yet tears made their way down his fierce face as he recalled all the moments the two of them had spent together. Even through the haze of anger and sorrow, he could year how sweet had Castor’s voice sounded when he was two and how he had called him brother, he remembered the times when they had disregarded their princely duties and gone hunting, always having the others’ back. Never in his life, had he turned to see who might be approaching him from behind because he knew his younger brother was there, guarding him with his love. Pullox reached the body and dropped to the ground beside it and for once Pullox, the son of Zeus known for his brute force did not care less about what happened in a battle or who tried to strike at him because he felt numb, as if every nerve ending in his body had given away and left him alone, like a parched man in a desert. All he could do as he kneeled beside his brother was ruffle his dust and blood coated hair, he must have hit his head, and desperately hope that his brother would wake up. Closing his eyes, Pullox could remember Castor’s smile as he talked of joining the stars one day and how he loved to tend horses, the pure adoration on his face when went ridding and the way the skin around his eyes crinkled when he smiled and how his laugh sounded like a trumpet. Gently, picking his brother up, Pullox removed the spear from where it had embedded it in his stomach and got up on his horse, which Castor had given him as a gift when they had both turned fifteen.

With nothing but heaviness in his heart, did Pullox gallop away from the battlefield that day, but he could feel his luck running out even as he cradled his brother’s dead body and felt as if castor himself was telling him to fight, fight for their sweet sister and their nation and avenge his death. Pulling the horse to a hasty stop, Pullox lowered his brother against a tree, and for a moment, he too believed that his sweet little brother was just sleeping in the shade, enjoying the wind and the cool grass.

“Sleep well, mikrós aderfós.” With those words, he turned back, back to kill the man that had taken his brother away from him, but not before pressing his lips to his forehead, just like Castor had always done when they were kids and Pullox would have a nightmare. “You can kiss me to sleep, when I have trouble doing it too Pullox,” he would say with a laugh every time Pullox made a face and tried to assert the fact that being the first born he should be the one comforting Castro and not the other way around. How he wished he could go back to those days now. Days when the four of them, his brother and their two sisters could roam the green hills together and laugh and run. Days when Castor and him would save Helen from imaginary dragons, Cstor always wanting to tame the beast. Gone were those days, Pullox told himself with a sigh, and now they faced the harsh reality of war again and again, but never had it hit so hard before today, the groaning bodies, the cold warriors dead and the red ground. Someone, foolishly, he had always thought that Castor and he would be together even in death. While he rode back into battle, his sword out, he could not help but think of his sweet little nephew, with his father’s dimpled cheeks and mother’s eyes, how would he fare now, without a father to look after him? And what of his Castor’s wife Phoiebe? Pullox could not help but wonder what his brother’s last thoughts were and what would happen to their families if somehow, even he failed to survive, who would take care of them? Even as he fought in the battle, these thoughts continued to plague at him and all he wanted to do was sit down and scream at the skies until they opened up, that day he was a monster in battle and the moment he came back would always be remembered. Mortals years later would say that it had been a God, astride a white steed coming into the battle, with an avenging look and a sword that crackled like lightning, and unleashed the powers of the skies on the battlefield, which indeed the son of Zeus had done that day, but even as he fought and tore apart his opponents, he could see in every face, every fallen warrior, a broken family and the futility of war.  That night, every warrior was shocked to see Pullox as clad entirely in white carried his brother to the pyre. Everyone of then had seen the brothers together and knew how their love went beyond his world, how one always seemed to know what the other was thinking and how they were so tuned in that if one moved even a step, the other would change his stance too, it was almost as instinctive and many thought that the brothers themselves did not know this but that day, Pullox’s face reflected a sadness so great that most people turned their faces away from him as he carried his brother’s body, just so that they did not have to look in his eyes and see that pain in them. His sadness was so un earthly that it seemed to have a beauty, a radiance of it’s own, and it seemed that even the heavens were griving withhim, as the moon shone brightly on the pyre, looking more like a silken bed than a mass of sticks and rain fell down on Pullox whose face was so hard that it looked as if it had been carved out of stone, that he had never smiled once in his life and would never again. As for Pullox, he felt hollow and empty inside, as he too had died with Castor and a part of him wanted to cover his brother’s body and weep but not a tear ran out of his eyes, his brother had died the way he had wanted to, like a true Greek Warrior and more importantly as a brother and Pullox would never in a thousand years disrespect him by shedding tears and anycase, no amount of tears would be able to depict the pain in his heart, he was feeling now, like a dagger that been stuck there and every step felt like another sword wound opening. His eyes and head were full of memories of castor, the grave thickness of his voice and the precise way his hand ran over horse coats, after all he could count on one hand, the number of memories that did not have his twin in them. He never had understood how people had gone through live without someone who understood them completely, who could pahtom their silence just as easily as their words and who could see their hearts by their face, whose eyes would light up every time thry looked at them and who felt like the only thing in this world that mattered. Pullox himself did all his brother’s funeral rites, with so much tenderness that every warrior had tears in their eyes and they could see at that moment how tender and vunerable the demi-god actually was because sometimes, bravely itself bows down to reflect your pain.From that day onwards, Pullox was a shadow of himself, but he still tried to live and get through each day for his brother because castor would have wanted him to. Though he had given his brother a hero’s farewell and stuffedhis mouth with coins, least he his denied the journey across the Styx, Pullox knew in his heart that Hades would never see Castor without Pullox because they were each others start and their end.  Weeks later Pullox himself fell in battle when he was forced tobattle almost an entire army alone, but as he died, his memories came back to him and although he knew that a time would come when he would forget because oblivion would swallow the world up to start once again the cycle of creation, at that moment all he cared about was what he remembered. He saw his entire life backwards, starting from the moment the sword entered his heart and then one after the other, pulling him under them as if he was a twig under a gust of wind. He felt again the sharp pain of losing his other half, saw himself looking in an ornate mirrior the day after the funeral and wondering if it was Catsor he was seeing but then realizing that the ashen faced, hollowed eyed man could never be his aderfo`s because that refelction that stared back at him did not smile and castor would always lighten up Pullox’s heart even on the worst days, he saw himself when the truth finally made it’s way to his brain, rushing past the gale he had built to defend himself and saw how he had buckled and cried like a baby and hugged himself, wishing that the arms were not his but Castor’s. Somehow in the mass of memories he wondered if Castor too had felt like this. The ground dug in his back and he could tatse blood but his attention was entirely focused on the memories, the sweet face of his beloved wife and his son and then came the mories of his two sisters looking as pretty as ever and then all his memories with castro, ridding into

The green hills around the palace, running in the corridors, going to his father’s temple together, bathing in the streams, splashing in the palace’s pool and so much more. The fights and how they could never stay angry with each other for long, and his last memory was of being inside their mother, both of them were there together and how when he had first opened his eyes, he had seen a little being with his eyes closed and arms stretching forwards towards him, as if an angel asking for his hug and protection and never could Pullox stand by  letting harm come to his little brother, his prince. As he lay dying under the hot sun on the plains of Troy, the sky darkened and thunder roared, but all Pullox thought of was how he was going into a world without Mars where his brother waited for him with open arms.

“I wonder would he be in a library in Esylium? He always did love to read,” Pullox asked himself as his eyes opened, and he recalled the serenity Castor had on his face while reading and as much as he wanted to, Pullox never could bring himself to help drop that small smile on his little angel’s face.

Looking around, his battle instincts still high, Pullox noted that he was standing in a dark and dusty craven like structure and he could hear the sound of a river not far away, he felt his toes curl up in sand and a cold wind blew across him. His eyes could see only darkness ahead of him, but even in the dark a figure could be seen sitting on a rock and staring straight at him and Pullox knew without a doubt that it was Castor and when he walked up to and hugged his brother, feeling like his entire world was complete in that one moment.

“I have been waiting for you Pullox and no matter how glad I am to see you, I wish that my wait had lasted so much longer,” Castor said, his voice thick with emotion that brought tears to Pullox’s eye.

“Really? You hate me that much? Can’t even accompany me in death?” Pullox asked to reduce the tension and Castor laughed before grasping him firmly and hugging once again.

“By the way, were you trying to choke me to death after I came to Hades or what? With the amount of dracamas, I came with, Charon says ghosts for an entire month could across and still have to spare!” Castor commented and the brothers spent their wait for their ride across the river of unfulfilled dreams and wasted hopes, but they were in for a shock when the skeletal row-man was accompanied by none other than the Lord of the Skies. Zeus’ electric blue eyes and radiating demur felt out of place in the dark and damp bank of the Styx, beyond which the chambers of the dead, the glow of Pullox’s half sister Persephone’s garden and the throne room of Hades pulled the dead towards them. The red glow of the pomegranates the Goddess of Spring grew pulsed like a heart behind Zeus as he approached them.

“Father,” Pullox bowed before getting down on one knee and watched out of the corner of his eye as his brother did the same, but with the words “Lord Zeus” instead of father and he felt a pain at this discrimination that they were forced to acknowledge, for a man who could not even be a good father!

“Pullox, my son,” the god thundered, his voice like the rolling of stormy clouds across the sky, storms which the brothers loved to see, “You have done me proud my son, I have never seen someone  use the powers I have given them so profoundly my son.” Pullox cringed at how his brother had been ignored and as much as he wanted to defy Zeus just for Castor, he did not because he could not risk the lightning wielder’s wrath on his brother and quickly stood up, thanking his father appropriately before adding hesitantly.

“Father, I am honoured to make you proud,” as if, Pullox thought, he was honoured to make his family proud but still he had to continue, “but I only did what I did because I was so much hurt,” here his voice broke and he was aware of Castor’s eyes flashing in his direction, guilt in them and he shook his head trying to tell him that the wasn’t wrong, before continuing to address his biological father.

“I was hurt and drowning in grief because,” he swallowed before squaring his shoulders and giving his father the pleasure of hearing his pain, “because Castor had died.”

“So your brother’s death gave you strength?” his father asked and Pullox felt like banging his head against a wall.

“No, it did not my Lord, but it fueled my anger.”

“Fine then, I was going to make you immortal but I don’t want such anger breaking over the heavens every time,” Zeus said all business-like, “so you will just have to divide it.” He said this with a gleam in his eye, testing their bond but it did not break, stretched to it’s peak as it was and thus Castor’s wish came true, they became a part of the stars, joined later by their wives, there to shine forever in the heavens, even if the rise of one would be the fall of another but their love survived all because when you love someone truly, not even the entire universe could separate because the one you love resides forever in your heart, whether they be family, friend or foe and so the two brothers watched over humans till the end of time, blessing all but especially blessed  were those who were born  under  them, the  Gemini, because their love shone through every dark tunnel like a beacon and shone like the stars they were and their stories are the ones that ring true till the end of time.

Unedited Extract

Why must I l dream with closed eyes,

 And open them to live someone else’s life?

Dreams and tears mingle,

Into a journey of hurt.

Ambition rules the heart,

Yet we have to with love part.

 

Every day we see someone smile, every day we see someone cry and yet we move forward ignoring them and making nothing of it, like it was a dream, a mirage or a fly stuck in the windshield of our cars- it was there, now it’s not but then dreams remain right and mirages fly away hurting us again and again, so how are these people the same as our dreams, mirages and those flies, how do they even connect? I think those people remain in our subconscious to haunt us and that haunt turns into guilt but still, no matter what we imagine, no matter how hard we think about them, we usually leave them behind and soon they re like those flies, they have gone and just reside in the depths of forgotten moments and seconds of our lives, ordinary for us but unordinary for someone else and ordinary for yet another soul. Weird how life works right?  It’s peculiar that the world remains so big but we are often unknown to many but known to all those who have managed to pave their ways into our tiny separate worlds from the big unknown and maybe daunting world and still both the worlds are the same, unpredictable, an emotional rollercoaster and dauntless because fear exists only in our heads but does that mean it’s not real or does it mean it is real on an entirely different level? No one knows, but we all know, that when worlds collide, as they do and don’t every second, life changes because every person no matter short or long they were with us, no matter how much we know about them, they all change our lives in a certain way and mould them into something else, albeit in a tiny manner.

This is the story of when different worlds collide and yet manage to stay apart and these are the pages from the lives of Indian teenagers different yet the same, apart yet close and just like everyone else in the world, similar but in their own unique way.

  •                                                                                                                                                                      – Anjali Roongta,

(A girl living somewhere in some universe in a world of her making.)

Into the Shadows

They pull at you,

irresistible,

un ignorable,

cutting deep,

and crimson pools,

eyes dim

and then you are under,

drowning in the pain,

caused by love skin deep,

how did you ever fall for that creep?

The hurt, now, is  gone,

but the shadows pull.

Light wakes with you,

until you abandon,

and roads new

turn back from you.

The setting sun,

castes it’s light on an ocean wide,

tears weal up in undying eyes.

They glisten like pearls,

upon cheekbone high,

until under it’s stupor,

you fall and die.

Look for yourself, find the light,

because even if it’s cool,

one day the darkness will leave you

and then unheard will be thy cries,

alone

and lonely forever,

death being thine only ride.

A poem

Looking back at times gone,

Eyes hooded,

Heart filled with blood lust and gore

A new sun rises,

A crimson rise,

Glisten like tears,

Before fading alright.

A new present,

A new light.

A/N- Based on things I have read, and I am just so nervous for my results (ICSE) which come out in half an hour.

Burn With Me

With bloodshot eyes and pale cheeks,

they stood,

hungry for blood,

watching you like a pack of wolves.

Some laugh, some merry,

while those under them,

fight not for survival

but to sustain.

Faces smeared black,

a Pyrrhic victory,

a love lost,

hearts full of frost.

Together they traveled,

under the dew stained greens

and over daunting hills,

they crawled under the mother’s belly,

roared in the forest’s heart

and waged war,

like a arrow shot afar.

Separated, crushed and removed,

deceit and treachery,

reign snow white

and yet the darkness under shadows cannot abide.

Alone, yet together,

near yet apart,

she burned now,

not for herself but for a thousand hearts.

Flying, screaming, crying, breaking,

laughing, loving, separating,

penetrating, expressing,

loving and dying

the fight continued, daggers slew,

bullets shot, blood sprayed, eyes flashed,

and soon peace shone through

and yet everywhere was heard,

“If we burn,

you burn with us.”

The Eve of The Battle of Hogwarts

Hey!

I just decided to write something related to HP because, well, it is May 2, the day of the Battle of Hogwarts. Also, this poem’s name is inspired by a poem in my English book, The Eve of Waterloo by Lord Byron. It is a fantastic poem by the way (Eve of Waterloo not this one.) This one is for you Fred Weasely, thanks for making us laugh as we grew up!

Under the moonlight pale,

They slept,

Sheltered beneath the ground

And above the skies,

In a home altered by deceit and loss,
But yet few plotted to welcome a hero home.

Crawling, hiding, crying, tearing

They broke, they rushed, they saved and they lived

On the run,

Behind the walls of chambers unseen,

Yet there to receive their hero home.

Morning arose, pale and golden, bearing naught a sign of

What the toll an evening could bring.

For them it was but another day,

To maim and kill.

Blood splits on hearts pure,

And then a hero was welcomed home.

Mysteries were unfolded,

Masked men were removed

As a silver purity shone out,

Saving is yet ruining all.

Crawling, hiding, crying, tearing

They broke, they rushed, they saved and they lived

On the run,

Behind the walls of chambers unseen,

Yet there to receive their hero home.

Behind the one who lived,

Crawled in others, raising joy,

Even as tears flow.

And though no one knew,

Everyone had known.

He came, guided by gold,

Not fortune, but

A friendship that would never unfold.

Laughter rang as brothers came close

And then he passed away

With a smile all alone.

Leaving behind a legacy,

Having welcomed their hero home.

Crawling, hiding, crying, tearing

They broke, they rushed, they saved and they lived

On the run,

Behind the walls of chambers unseen,

Yet there to receive their hero home.

So full of life,

Everlastingly fun,

His hair red, but faces pale,

As he left the one who competed

And died with a smile all alone.

Years passed and there he was,

Now old and gaunt,

But never having changed a bit,

In eyes frail.

A half,

But to her he seemed whole.

To his mother,

He seemed whole,

Even if his half had died having welcomed their hero home.

Maybe that day,

Red had won over the green,

And hate crumpled under love

But to him, a half gone and another living yet dead.