In this thrilling sequel to “Lifelines,” trouble is never far away from Doctor Sarah Shah and Agent Tanya Kareem. A vengeful, jilted lover from Sarah’s past shatters their idyllic life in England. Betrayal, kidnapping, and a narrow escape from a forced marriage leads them on a frenetic journey through the infamous Pakistani “Badlands.” Can Sarah and Tanya find the peace they crave?
Ever since I am aware of myself and my surroundings, I have seen that tsunamis and cyclones that have been predicted to hit Karachi have been diverted in the last moment. The question that arises is whether this is due to the unique geographical placement of Karachi where it nestles in between the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Katch? How is it possible that when the Karachites start battening the hatches and slide their prayer beads fervently within their anxious fingers, the impending natural disasters make an about turn and fizzle out just shy of Karachi out in the Arabian Sea.
Popular urban legends tell of the countless times the four Sufi saints have protected Karachi from storms and tsunamis. Even in this day and age, and leaning towards Islamisation, people are halfway still thinking that there might be some truth to the stories.
While some believe it’s only the sufi saint, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, whose shrine is at Clifton is the protector of all things that come from the sea. Others claim that the collective prayers of all four saints at each corner of the metropolis are the powers that create a protective bubble around Karachi.
Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Clifton, Samandri Baba on the National Highway, Yusuf Shah in Manora and Manghoo Baba in Manghopir are the names of the saints who have claimed a corner surrounding Karachi, equidistant from one another. It is said that the presence of these saints in Karachi have already saved the city from natural disasters including earthquakes, cyclones and all sea-related phenomenon.
It is strongly believed that as long as Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine is kept clean and well-maintained, Karachi will always be spared from deadly sea storms.
One of many well known stories regarding Abdullah Shah Ghazi says that once when the sea continued to be rough for a few weeks and the fishermen couldn’t go out to sea, they went to Abdullah Shah Ghazi and asked him to pray for the sea to remain calm. Abdullah Shah Ghazi went to the seashore and submerged his bowl into the sea water He rolled the water from side to side and then looked out to sea. In a booming loud voice, he said “You have been misbehaving a lot lately!” The water then calmed down as if it was ashamed of its behaviour. Many believe that the sea then moved further away because of the Sufi’s displeasure.
The picture with the greettings for Eid shows the outline of the province of Sindh overlaying a background of the ancient art of the traditional Ajrak.
I wish all my readers and friends a hearfelt Eid Mubarak!
Interviewed on the show Chatting With Sherri and the interview went live on March 17, 2022
Well this is exciting! The first review for Lifelines has been posted by Readers’ Favorite!
Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite
Lifelines by Shireen Magedin is a sweet, romantic drama set in rural Pakistan in 1975. Sarah Shah is a naïve seventeen-year-old when she heads off to Medical School in Nawabshah. One of the people she meets on her very first day is the newly-appointed Police Inspector, Tanya Kareem. Tanya, the first female police inspector for the district, is well aware that to succeed in a man’s world, especially in a Muslim country like Pakistan, she has to be not only faultless at her job but perfect in her private life as well.
There is one problem, however; Tanya prefers women over men, something she has known since she was a young woman and also something that saw her thrown out of her family and effectively disowned by them. Determined to make a success of her career in the police force, Tanya has suppressed her own personal desires to ensure her long-term ambition to reach the top of law enforcement. From the very first moment Tanya lays eyes on Sarah, she feels electricity and an attraction that is undeniable.
Deep in her heart, she knows this beautiful young woman may well be the soulmate she has been longing for. As a warm friendship develops between the pair and slowly deepens into an all-consuming love, both these women must consider their futures. If it is possible to seriously build a life together, both know that it must be somewhere away from Pakistan and away from the deep-rooted prejudice and religious intolerance of their sexual orientation.
Lifelines is a gentle, yet still exciting love story, especially as it is set in a society, a culture, and a time when same-sex relationships are not just frowned upon but are considered seriously deviant and against God’s will. Author Shireen Magedin has done a lovely job of exploring these two very different women and their fierce love and protectiveness for each other. Written from a dual perspective, each event in their lives is explored from both Sarah’s and Tanya’s viewpoints.
Although this literary technique has the potential to become repetitive, this author did well to keep the reader’s interest by presenting two women who are markedly different in many ways and view each circumstance from a distinctly different perspective but despite that are still united in their love for each other.
The author is a medical doctor herself and this clearly shows through the story arcs, especially as it pertains to her detailed descriptions of patients’ injuries and illness, as well as detailed knowledge of hospital procedures and surgical techniques. The central theme of the novel is love and this is explored in all its facets, without resorting to crude or lurid details. This was refreshing and a credit to the author.
I particularly enjoyed the sense of anticipation over the two women’s desire to express their love for each other and their concurrent fear of rejection by the other party. The suspense was well built and maintained throughout the bulk of the story, along with a fascinating undercurrent of the supernatural and extrasensory perception. This was a sweet and enjoyable read that I can recommend to lovers of romance with a difference.
The world is changing, but not fast enough for Tanya Kareem. Her promotion to police inspector sends her to Nawabshah, where she will have to prove herself and take a leading role in a man’s world.
Sarah Shahzad Shah’s passion for learning and compassion for her patients make her a brilliant doctor in training. But she possesses psychic abilities that she doesn’t know how to master… yet. Those gifts will come in handy when she handles some of her more puzzling cases that lead her to Inspector Tanya Kareem.
Their journey is just beginning.