Wednesday, May 18, 2016

THE MAGICAL MIRRORS

The Magical Mirrors
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

People often take magical concepts for granted. They think that these are myths or lies of the past. However, the concept of magic is as old as the universe. The great sages of the past not only believed in the magic, but they also learned it. Like other common people, Nooro thought of magic the same way until he found three mirrors.

Nooro was an architect and his ancestors were very famous for their construction skills. In his village, Akil, there was an ancient Haveli (a mansion) of a woman named Neengar, who had died two centuries ago. Neengar was a rich landlady of Sindh, and she was interested in the royal culture of Britain. Her Haveli looked like an English castle. The landlady was inspired by the castles of the UK, so she wanted her Haveli to look like them. She even imported unique and expensive articles from England to make the Haveli look like a real castle. It was very capacious. Many rooms were just locked because there was nobody to live in. The landlady had only one son, Basha, who had been living in the mansion with his wife. They had a son named Asad who went to England for studies and continued living there after his education. He even did not attend the funeral of his mother. His old father suffered from loneliness for 15 years and passed away in longing to see his son. After hearing of his father’s death, Asad returned from England with his family after forty years to take over ownership of the mansion. The castle had become dilapidated. He wanted the palace to look new again. He asked the caretakers of the mansion to advertise in the newspapers about the reconstruction of the mansion and waited to receive the grand construction companies’ proposals for the mega construction project of the mansion.

“Sir, perhaps you shouldn’t change the shape or design of this castle. It is an inheritance. However, you should make the necessary repairs.”

“You are right. This mansion should remain the same design. By the way, who built it?”


“Nooro’s ancestors. Nooro is also a good builder–a chip off the old block.”

“All right. Invite Nooro to the castle. I would like to meet him tomorrow.”

When Nooro was a boy, his grandmother, Fatima, used to tell him about the three magical mirrors in the castle of Neengar. Each mirror had a magical property. The first could see all things in the past. The second could show hidden forces like ghosts and the third could tell the future.

Nooro never believed the magical mirrors existed. He would ask his grandmother whether or not she had seen them. His grandmother used to tell him that she had never seen any of them. Akbar, Nooro’s grandfather, would tell her about the powers of those magical mirrors. Akbar had not only worked on the construction of the Haveli, but he had been the head of all the attendants of the castle. He had discovered those mirrors after the landlady’s death. Akbar never used the mirrors because he thought it would be a breach of trust. “I would like to see those mirrors if I get a chance,” Nooro often said to his grandmother. Because of the strong security in the castle, Nooro had never got a chance to enter the castle.

In the evening, an attendant of the castle came to see Nooro. “Hey, uncle Bakhshal! It’s been a long time since I saw you,” said Nooro hugging him.  Bakhshal was his father’s friend and helped Nooro’s family after the death of Nooro’s father.

“I have been sent by Prince Asad. He wants to get the mansion repaired. He has invited you to the castle tomorrow.”

“What? Really?”

“Yes.”

Nooro was going to get the chance to enter the old castle after four decades. The Prince was a generous man. He said to Nooro, “You will be given a good reward if you return the castle back to its original state.”

“Sure, your highness! The attendants have to tell me the exact shape of the castle, and I will do the repairs. Well, I don’t need any other reward but only three mirrors from this old castle.”

The Prince laughed at the Nooro’s demand. “Look at him, folks! He asks for three old mirrors instead of gold and silver!” All the attendants of the castle laughed at him.

“The demand is accepted. You can take any mirrors out of the castle,” said the Prince. Nooro started collecting the mirrors. He found many mirrors in the castle, but he did not make a hustle. He recalled what his grandmother had told him about the mirrors. He said to Bakhshal, “Help me find the mirrors I tell you. The first is a circular brown framed mirror with a handle. It is about 8 inches and has a dark brown trim. It gives a clear reflection like blue sky. The second is a circular frameless mirror. Its size is 11 inches and it is a concave which magnifies the image being reflected. The third is almost identical to the first, except it is cracked and broken. This mirror has an amber trim and severe crack in the bottom half, which detracts from the overall aesthetic.”

Bakhshal was surprised to hear the instructions he gave about the mirrors. “How do you know about these mirrors?” he asked Nooro.

“It is a long story. Let’s find the mirrors first.” After a long search, they eventually found the mirrors.

“Why are you looking at these mirrors so closely?” asked Bakhshal.

“I had heard that these mirrors are unique,” Nooro replied. He took the mirrors home, and he tried hard to recall the spell which was cast on the mirrors. He couldn’t remember the spell which his grandmother had told him, so he just kept the mirrors at home.

Nooro finished repairing the castle, and the Prince was very pleased with the work. Nooro kept trying different spells for a month, but in vain. As a consequence, he got very angry and dropped the framed mirror on the floor. Luckily, the mirror was not damaged. However, the frame was broken and a white piece of paper came out of the frame. The paper read: “Mirror, mirror of the castle. I order you to show your power.”

“This is it. This is the spell,” shouted Nooro. He hurriedly cast the spell to the mirror he dropped. That mirror could see all the things of the past. Then he cast the spell to the frameless mirror. It showed the minor things and ghosts. He checked the third mirror in the last. It could predict the future. It could tell what will happen in the coming two days.
           
Nooro was beside himself. He had become one of the most powerful men on the planet. He was able to see the past, ghosts, and the future. Nooro kept the mirrors to himself for three months.

He realized that if these mirrors were given to the prince, he would utilize them for the betterment of the people and the world. So, he decided to tell the secrets of the mirrors to the Prince and return them. Nooro did not know that the Prince would reward him the whole castle because of his honesty and trust in the Prince. (The future mirror could predict the future for only two days.) When Nooro told the secrets of the mirrors to the Prince and the attendants of the castle, nobody believed him. Then, he took out the paper with the spell written on it and began reading. Nooro continued casting the spells on each mirror and showed the Prince and his attendants the power of the magical mirrors. The prince could see his sick grandmother through the magical mirror which showed the past.

“How did you know about these mirrors?” asked the Prince.

“Your majesty, when I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me about these magical mirrors, a secret that my grandfather had told her.”

The Prince gave Nooro golden coins as well as silver, and he said to all the people there, “Today we have become so busy that we don’t have time for our elders. In fact, what our elders can teach us, we might not be able to learn by ourselves. I wish I had spent more time with my mother and my father so that I could have learned something worthy in my life.”

After a month, the Prince called Nooro and his family to ask them to live with him in the castle, with the royal family. 
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