Book review: Safe Haven By Nicholas Sparks

When my best friend gifted me this book on my birthday last year, like most of my peers, I was under the impression that it would be another one of Nicholas Sparks’ sappy romance novels. This was my first Sparks novel, so I was not in the mood for some mushy love story when I picked it up but guess what? It wasn’t.
First published in September 2010 by Grand Central Publishing in USA and by Sphere in Great Britain, Safe Haven is an epic love story with elements of suspense, mystery, thrill and drama, from #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Nicholas Sparks. Several of his books like The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, The Last Song, Dear John, Message In A Bottle, Nights In Rodanthe have been adapted into major films; The Lucky One is set to release on 20th April this year – which I’m definitely going to watch – and the movie Safe Haven is due to release in February 2013; I’m looking forward to both!

Sparks wrote this whopping 365-page novel in a little over 6 months and needless to say, he has done it wonderfully. After a really long time, I have come across such a beautiful page-turner. This novel has everything – love, drama, mystery, suspense, pain, suffering, an element of danger – simply an entertaining and enjoyable read.

The story begins with a new girl ‘Katie’ who shows up suddenly in the small town of Southport in North Carolina with no money for food or shelter hoping to start over. She takes up a waitressing job at Ivan’s and rents a small rundown cottage working hard on her off-days to make it habitable. She does her job well but pretty much keeps to herself until a very chatty neighbour ‘Jo’ moves in next door and she starts loosening up a little though she is still wary of sharing much about her past. Katie finds herself getting attached to the town and its quiet life as she unknowingly starts falling in love with ‘Alex’, the owner of the store Fisher’s, and his two lovely kids but there is a dark secret that prevents her from getting too comfortable in this close-knit homey community. As Alex and Katie spend time together falling just a little more in love each day, danger is creeping up slowly and steadily to wreak havoc in their lives.

Here’s an excerpt from this amazing novel:
Jo thought about Katie’s answer before leaning closer. “So you’re telling me that – assuming you had food, shelter and clothing and anything else you needed to simply survive – you’d rather be stranded on a desert island in the middle of nowhere, all alone, forever, for the rest of your life? Be honest.”
Katie blinked, trying to keep Jo in focus. “Why would you think I wouldn’t be honest?”
“Because everybody lies. It’s part of living in society. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s necessary. The last thing anyone wants is to live in a society where total honesty prevails. Can you imagine the conversations? You’re short and fat, one person might say, and the other might answer, I know. But you smell bad. It just wouldn’t work. So people lie by omission all the time. People will tell you most of the story…and I’ve learned that the part they neglect to tell you is often the most important part. People hide the truth because they’re afraid.”
With Jo’s words, Katie felt a finger touch her heart. All at once, it seemed hard to breathe.
“Are you talking about me?” she finally croaked.
“I don’t know. Am I?”

Katie felt herself pale slightly…

Safe Haven is an intriguing and expertly plotted novel from one of the world’s most beloved storytellers of all time and very different from his previous novels. The preview of the novel reads ‘Love hurts. There is nothing as painful as heartbreak. But in order to learn to love again, you must learn to trust again.’ With this, I urge all you book-lovers out there to pick up this superb novel at your nearest store as this one’s definitely a keeper – you won’t be disappointed

by Tanvi Rastogi, BTech, 2nd Year

Remembrance and Retrieval

And in the remembrance of the fallen time,
the virtues of a new world,
As we begin to pen down
the segments of lost memories endless.
I fade away in my own darkest thoughts.
As i drift above the wind,
A nightingale of time,
A summery tide,
A watchful gliding trail.
As desires stay awake,
And wishes never rest,
I walk with a broken zest.
My moods have bled enough,
Pricked and provoked by the thorny tell-tale
that life has eventually become.
And shall i rise again,
I pledge not to shed another drop in pain,
And shall i rise again,
I shall only hope to rise up
So high that i never fall again.

Tarang Sharma
B Tech 1st Year

Community Connect

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle.
And the life of that candle would not be shortened.

It’s been months now since my first Community Connect visit to one of the two small village schools of Majara Kath and Pratap Singh Pura adopted by NU; but the deplorable conditions of the school and the dispirited education provided to the students there, still disconcerts me.

What came as a respite after seeing such reprehensible learning conditions provided to those few who did actually manage to come to school, was their never-failing, ever-increasing belief in the idea of gaining the most they could. Their sheer zeal to learn took me by surprise, impelling me to give them the best I could.

In the weekly visits to these schools, we had almost an hour long sessions with our mentees. Before my first session of Community Connect, I was deep in thought, wondering how best to utilise that one hour so that my mentee actually benefits from the session. After making sure my mentee was quite comfortable, I helped him with his maths, which he was relatively good at. Learning to communicate in English, which almost no student there is well versed with, is what Tejaram aimed at.

Tejaram, my first mentee, spoke to me of his hardships; him being the only male in the family and having to collect wood in the morning and collect water, being responsible for the marriage of his two sisters which required him to look for a job. He also expressed his major concern ofunavailability of electricity at night because of which he could not study after completion of the daily chores. But still, trying!

Some sessions were planned for the kids to come and visit the campus; look around the place and choose a sport each which they wish to learn. It helped them get a lot of exposure and probably a motivation for many to study hard and be able to join a similar establishment once they grow up.

Through my various interactions with my mentee’s, I realised that not only are the students there very bright minded and hard working, but they realise the importance of educating themselves and are working on it. Even if little, these sessions with the mentors have made a difference. It is certainly a good way to help and educate those in whose hands lies the future of our country.

P.S. There’s hope and we can make a difference.
Ishita Jindal, BTech 1st year