By Rabab Khan
“I can hear the waves tell me tales, this is just one of them.”
This is Mr. Faisal Kapadia’s preface to a book that kept me up reading until five in the morning. “Sands of Time” is a love story. There is no other way to describe it; a love story so steeped in the chaos, murder and debauchery surrounding it that the love itself sometimes seems dark. Having introduced the Sea as, perhaps, the most important character in his story, Mr. Kapadia goes on to weave a tale that not only raises many questions but also leaves the reader with a lot more raging in his mind.
The story is set beside the shores of the sea near the city ofKarachiinPakistan. It begins on the shores of the sea, runs through the lives of the protagonist, Saleh, his goddess of love, Laila, and flows right back to the shores of the same sea in an eternal cycle of suffering and love regained. Just like the sand in an hourglass, we watch with breathless anticipation as their lives take them further and further from each other.
Sands of Time is the tale of a poor, unwanted fisherman’s son. From the time when his ten year old eyes first see Laila, to the end of the story, Saleh is a quiet unassuming person. Sending the young boy to be employed in the city was perhaps the only kindness that his wretched father did for him. His travails during his slavery to the lord present an apt picture of the live style of the rich “Wadera” in any typicalKarachigrand mansion. It may feel to many of you, as if the author has exaggerated in his portrayal of the lives of these “rulers” of the poor people, but he has not. What he has presented is as close to reality as he could have been without breaking the veil of fiction. Laila’s life and that of her friends represents that of any typical teenage living a life of double values in the great city ofKarachi. Many of you may, if you are honest, perhaps even recognize yourself or your friends in Laila, Sumbreen and Zarrar.
While the story focuses on the lives of the two main characters – Saleh and Laila – the author has presented us with a brilliant and clear picture of the society they live in. The immorality and hypocrisy that has become our daily mask; the insecurity and fear that is part and parcel of every single moment in the life of a Pakistani. Sometimes, the language is dark; the images harsh and grating. I believe it could not have been any other way for these images and words assist in embedding the truth in the reader’s mind. A truth that may be difficult to digest, but it is as present and tangible as Laila is for Saleh.
Sands of Time is a rendition of the poetry that flows through the lives of all those who are caught up in the double-faced, hypocritical and cruel society that we all live in here in the Land of the Pure. What Mr. Kapadia has achieved here is a compelling story with not a moment of peace, perpetually fed by the passion and restlessness of its main characters.
This E book can be purchased here