Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Of Padfoot and Prongs

As John Green aptly says, "Being in a relationship is something you choose. Being friends is something you are". Being friends truly reflects the person that we are; it is something that defines us.

I used to feel that making friends during school days is the easiest and finding people you are comfortable with in college equally hard so when my school days ended and I found myself getting very close to starting my college life, the fear of being stranded without true friends haunted me.

It was with this apprehension that I started my college life not knowing that life had a wonderful friend like Sanchita aka Huttu aka Padfoot in store for me.

I saw her for the first time in the hostel allotment line. As usual, I was standing the wrong line- Food Technology's queue instead of Chemical's and was pitying the other line which was filled with guys and more guys. Later, on realizing the blunder, I rushed to join the queue I was pitying a moment ago and started wondering if I was going to be the only girl in the class.

It was then that she came from the front of the line to where I was standing, the relief obvious on her face on finding another soul of the same gender. She was really short, shorter than even me and I am in no way a tall person ( I actually used to be the first girl in our assembly line :P). She introduced herself, expressed her relief on seeing another girl and after knowing which hostel I was allotted (which was the same as hers), she left with a cheerful "See you at the hostel then". I forgot her name as soon as she said it (thanks to my excellent memory) but I took an immense liking to her instantly.

Somehow, despite there being tens of other rooms in my hostel wing, I ended up in her room in the evening. Somehow, despite there being 6 more girls in my class, I ended up sitting with her. And I don't know who started it but somehow we started discussing Harry Potter. It was that easy for us, becoming friends. 

After that a series of such fun days started, right now I cannot imagine a day at college/hostel without being with her. Huttu is the most un-girly girl you can possibly imagine- doesn't give a damn about how she looks, stays far away from stuff like ear-rings, nail paint, cosmetics and the general things that girls love. She is the most practical girl you will ever get to know- her opinion on everything is always very genuine and sensible. She is also the most fun person you can be with- her quick tongue always finds something funny to say.

What really binds us together is the common love for books we share, the crazy potterheads we are, the common Mr.Darcy fan-girlism, the weird attraction towards the bad guys in any book series, the incredible appetites we share, the 'air dance' we do in the class, the 'lyadh' (laziness) whose level we strain to keep high, the group study sessions we have, the frequent curses and insults we direct towards our brains, and the anthem of Demons by Imagine Dragons that we sing anywhere and everywhere. 

This is the only photo I have of us together. Since neither of us have the patience to pose for photos :D

The epic times we have during classes is something I will always cherish. We talk so much and our discussions are so Harry Potter related that the entire class knows as the two crackpots who imagine themselves to be from the magical world. Once, two guys sitting on the bench behind us stood up and shifted to the front row, we were being so boisterous in the class!!

The 'bhat' sessions we have are so nonsensical that my other friends can't resist the temptation of making videos out of them. We make a mountain out of a molehill with our words and then laugh hysterically on our own stupidity.

We are always hunting for people who would set in our Harry Potter characters. We instantly assigned ourselves the Marauders of course :D Oh the innumerable times when we almost got into trouble for chatting through written messages in the class! 

Huttu is someone who has come to know me inside out in the little time we have been together. My talks about guys and the love stories I could have always ends with her "Hyan. Koto to tui kortish ami jani. Kichu bollei to pai pai chut lagatis!" (Yeah, I know how much you would go ahead in talking with a guy. If anyone does take the initiave, all you do is scamper away!). The common fights we take up against somone and everyone are the highlights of our friendship- no one dares to cross over the invincible jodi of Padfoot and Prongs!

It is really difficult to find good people and good friends, and when it is someone like Huttu your life becomes even more worthwhile. She is Padfoot for the Prongs in me, my partner in crime, the incredible person I have come to call my best friend at college :) 

This post is for the Dove Guessing Game contest on Indiblogger. Check out their page here!

Thank you Dove and Indiblogger for this chance to write about my friend :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

College Rants #6- Just a quick update.

It's crazy that I haven't ranted in such a long time. Durga Pujo went by, so did Diwali and yet there was no rant on my blog! Crazy right?

Actually, I was so busy being addicted to Facebook, that I didn't get quite get the 'time' to post something. Yeah, I just made a public statement that I am a hopeless FB addict. Sigh.
Thanks heavens for the college that I get to be online only on weekends. God knows what would have happened otherwise!

Exams are coming and I have studied nothing. NOTHING. I have spent this semester doing  God only knows what. I don't know any damn thing about any subject and it is terrifying the hell out of me. And what do I do about it? Nothing.

Sigh.

I remember the times before my 10th board exams when I at least used to SIT in one place with all my books. I don't even do that now. But that was the time when my History book used to be amazing and the English book was constantly at my bedside. There is a fat chance of me taking my McCabe Smith (A Fluid Mechanics text book) to bed with me.
*Shudders with horror at the thought of it* 

To think of it, I haven't even opened the book in the semester, Bhagwan only knows what I will do in my exams!

Holidays were good, just like they are all the time. An unexpected visit from my brother made things all the more merrier. And trust him to get me addicted to a new something. It was this amazing game called Don't Starve this time. I love the frickin game so much, I totally want to write a story on it!

Talking of me wanting to write stories, there is this One-act-play-cum-story plot on my mind since 3 months that I want to write very very badly. But the problems are:

1. I don't have the first idea about writing a play.
2. I want it to be a musical and I don't have the first idea about writing a musical either.

So, the story is pretty complex with two narratives going simultaneously. One I want to make a third person narrative which is the musical going on and one would be the first person narrative of the protagonist (a girl) who is a dancer. Now having a friend who is the most amazing dancer alive is a great help. I mean, the reason I want to write this is because I am so hugely inspired by Rimli when she talks about her passion.

The problem is with the other vital part which is concerned mostly with music and a musician (two to think of it). I am absolutely addicted to music, but I don't know how to WRITE about it. I have never been in a musician's place to think and feel that way. And I want to. I really want to because I want to do my story justice. I want to do the MUSICIAN in my story justice.

And for that, I need to get hold of someone and listen to them TALK. Just like I listen to Rimli talk. Then only I feel I will be able to write.

But I don't know that 'someone' :( 

Gosh, look at me rant! I don't make any sense do I? My apologies.

*Track change No.1*

I have become crazed about something else these days. Book merchandise. I stare and crave at Harry Potter charms and TFIOS charms and Perks of being a wallflower stuff so much that I am going mad with desire. So at the end, I ended up making this one-


I know I suck as a painter and all but what the hell, I totally love this! And it looks perfect on my bag :D


Now, I am after making a Harry Potter badge. But I don't have the colors or anything. Let's see though!

*Track change No.2*

Have you ever experienced a time when you see some person, say X, from a distance or through slight acquaintance and you start wondering stuff and end up making a character of your own thoughts around X? As in, just the wish to know more about X meddles up your mind into thinking weird things and doing stupid stuff? 

Please say yes so that I know I am not a lone figure battling with this :-|

Crushes can be so damn trying you know? 

Sigh. 

I think I will get back to reading The Fault in our Stars again. Or maybe not, because that would make me cry buckets again :P

Bidding a farewell with mixed feelings,
Kirti




Monday, November 4, 2013

Spying in High Heels- A book review


About the Book:

Name of the book: Spying in High Heels
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Price: INR 299
ISBN: 978-81-8495-493-7

About the author: After having a hard time to decide what she wants to be, Gemma Halliday has worked as a a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher before settling as a writer. 
Since then, Gemma has written several mystery novels and been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Reader's Choice award and three RITA nominations.

About the cover and back cover:

Done in blue, the cover has a picture of high heels with a gun propped in them which delivers the title pretty well. The preview on the back-cover is very interesting, depicting a circumstances in which our protagonist steps out of her stilettos and goes killer hunting. 

Gist:

Maddie Springer is a L.A. children's shoe designer for Tot Trots. It wasn't Milan but as Maddie says, it paid the bills most of the time. A person who lives her life entirely governed for fashion, troubles begin for Maddie when her boyfriend goes missing one fine morning. Getting no help from the Barbie Doll Jasmine behind the reception desk (who had cosmetic procedures on various parts of the body every month), Maddie decides to spy around a bit and find the whereabouts of her boyfriend. What she stumbles upon is the work of a brutal killer along with a very hot Detective, LAPD's Jack Ramirez.

The possibility of her boyfriend being a major suspect in the case makes Maddie even more determined to get down to the truth. But with the looming wedding of her mom, her oversexed best friend and an overweight psychic, spying doesn't seem to be smooth exactly.

The question is, will Maddie be able to catch the killer before the killer catches up with her?

My views on the story:

Let me get down to the bare facts directly. Spying in High Heels is this combination of chick-lit and mystery which I found pretty interesting. 

I chose to review this book because I thought it would be a change to read about a total amateur stepping out of her 'high heels' and poking her nose in a crime investigation and I wasn't disappointed.

The best thing about the book are its characters. I totally loved Maddie- I loved her fashion sense (having none myself), I loved her humor, I loved her getting hyper over the possibility of her missing boyfriend being the father of the child she believes she is bearing, I loved her hyperventilated feelings on seeing Ramirez, I loved her chemistry with her mother and her best friend Dana. Maddie is a person who does 'yucky squirms' in her seat at the thought of something disgusting, is 'Happy Hooker Extraordinaire' and would go to any extents to get down to the bare facts of the mystery. The author has done a really good job with the narration.

But apart from the character of the protagonist herself, I like the way other characters show up in different colors as well. Ramirez is delightfully interesting with just the right amount of sexiness and mysterious edge to him. Dana, Maddie's mother, the shallow receptionist Jasmine, the helpful Athlea are also well sketched. 

The writing is funny (because well, our Maddie is funny :D) and interesting enough to keep you hooked till the end. 

The plot is pretty predictable but the narrative style makes up for that most of the time. Also, there are too many details about Maddie's activities so the focus on the crime itself felt narrow but for an amateur detective, I feel that is fine. 

The pregnancy jokes get redundant after a while but apart from that, the humor is pretty consistent throughout the story.

Spying in High Heels is a completely light read with fun characters. It is not exactly your gripping thriller but with the chick-lit factor, it makes a mark of its own. Overall, I rate it 7.5/10 while I skip from here and get started with the second installment of the series!








Sunday, October 6, 2013

COLOR

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 42; the forty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "COLOR"
Picture taken from Google images

Aryan watched the rain pour outside through the tiny window above his bed. He wished the pitter patter outside could drown the voices of his parents shouting, but they were too loud. Moreover, their fights were already etched on his mind now; silence of no intensity could erase them away.

“Why have you shut him inside his room? At least open the goddamned door!” his father was saying.

“So that he could sneak back into that shitty place again?” his mother shouted back.

“He is a kid of 9 for God’s sake! You are scaring the hell out of him!”

“If fear is going to put an end to his attempts to go there, so be it. It is all for his good.” His mother’s voice was deathly cold.

Aryan jumped as a loud bang rattled through the house; his father seemed to have hit the table in frustration.

“He is lonely Anjali. We hardly stay at home the entire day. My parents are very much capable of handling him. And it’s not as if he goes there every day. It’s just once in a month. I thought you were OK with that?” he tried to reason with her.

“I was initially! But have you noticed the change in his behavior when he comes back from there? Dadu this, Dadi that. Those old people are distancing our only son from us Rajeev, don’t you see that?” Anjali said.
“And the questions he is full of?” she continued, “Why Sita was kidnapped by Raavan? Yeesh! Is that what is going to come in his exams? Buddha, buddhi are not responsible for him finishing his homework are they?”

“Anjali! How dare you talk about my parents like that!”

“Yes. Go on. Yell at me. Where was your loyalty towards your parents when you sent them away from our house Mr. Shravan Kumar?” Anjali taunted him.

“It was because you wanted that! You said that we wanted a more private life!”

“Then why are you letting your parents invade our privacy now Rajeev?”

“It’s just for one day Anjali. You know he misses them too much…”

Aryan shut his ears with all the might his small hands could muster and closed his eyes. He choked back a sob, big boys didn’t cry.But he missed his grandparents so much; it felt as if his eyes would burst with the unshed tears.

He looked outside to see that the rain had intensified. With a pang, he realized that Dadu would be standing near the bridge, waiting for him to come. Dadi would be smiling at the porch, delicious smells wafting from her weather beaten hands and a hundred endearments in her wrinkled, warm eyes. He ached to go back to the ramshackle house they lived in. True the old wooden gate was moldy and the garden overgrown but no skilled gardener in their own prim lawn could match the beauty of his grandmother’s roses.

He looked around to take in the ‘modern’ design of his bedroom. Colorful posters of his favorite cartoons, wall murals, play station, laptop, a makeshift basketball play space with a plastic hoop and his big bicycle all spoke of a grandeur he had never wished or wanted.

He loved the peeling paint of his grandparent’s cottage more than the fashionable peach and lavender of his mother’s design, he loved the old, dusty frames of what seemed like a million Hindu Gods and Goddesses more than the expensive paintings the walls of his house boasted of, he loved the warm smell of his Dadi’s kitchen more than the artificial fragrance of the room fresheners in his house.

Yes, he loved every part of the small house at the sight of which his mother wrinkled her nose but more than that, he loved the two old and extraordinarily warm people associated with it.

As far as Aryan could remember, it was the soft cotton of his Dadi’s saris that had nestled him than his mother’s silks and furs as a baby. And it was his Dadu’s incredibly interesting stories that had lulled him to sleep than his parent’s lullabies. As two very busy people, his parents hardly ever were in the house but he never complained, he was more than happy to stay with his grandparents.

But then, one fine morning, they were made to leave. Aryan couldn’t understand what happened but he cried and cried so much that his parents agreed to send him every weekend. Weekends therefore, became his favorite days. As he grew older, his mother who was against their bonding from the very start convinced his father to curtail his visit to once a month. What do children with no grandparents or grandparents far away do, was her argument.

Aryan met this decision with a huge tantrum but to no avail. But the fact that he could at least cherish a single day in the month was his only consolation. Things were working fine until his mother finally put her step down and banned his visits altogether. He was shocked when the designated weekend came and he wasn’t taken to the much awaited trip. This continued for two months till Aryan decided that it was time to take matters into his own hands. He sneaked away from the house when the maid was busy with the TV. He knew the path perfectly and he could even tell the time form his Sponge Bob Square Pants watch. But as fate would have it, a neighbor caught him walking alone in the middle of the road and marched him to his parents.

Result- shut in his room with voices inside and outside his head alike.

He rolled to his side and extracted a small glass ball from beneath his pillow. He twirled it in his hands, watching it catch little details of his room and reflect them back. He remembered the day he came into its possession as clearly as if it happened just hours back and not a year ago.

He had gone to the beach with his grandfather that day. It had just stopped raining and the sunlight sparkled gaily on the dancing waves. A rainbow popped out of nowhere then, like the magic his Dadu had often told him about. Having never seen one before, Aryan had raced the colorful band as far as his small legs could carry him and sunk down at the place he thought it originated. He had grabbed fistfuls of sand and shouted excitedly “I caught it Dadu, I caught it!”

But moments later, when he had opened his hands gingerly, only the grayish black sand slipped through his fingers- no colorful bands of the rainbow.

He was beyond consolation then, even his Dadi’s soothing words that it can’t be caught, it was a part of the nature failed to pacify him- his tiny heart was broken at the revelation that day.

It was then, in that moment of terrible anguish that his Dadu came like his personal savior angel and presented the small glass ball on outstretched hands.

The plain ball had come alive with colors as the sunlight fell on it, the white light getting trapped buy the million facets inside to produce brilliant, brilliant hues. He carried it with him everywhere since, the magic ball, his own personal rainbow.

He soon forgot all the expensive balls his parents got him; there was a whole world of beauty in it for him that his prents could never see. He refused to part with it even when he went for a bath; it was only when it fell and showcased its fragility that he satisfied himself by putting it under his pillow and taking it out occassionally. And every time he went to his granparent's place, he took it along with him. He would sit with his Dadu and stare at it for hours in silence, using it as a magnifying glass, watching the slow procession of ants as they gathered food, observing the curious way catterpillars moved and every time it caught the sunlight and splitted the seven colours, his own face would split with a huge smile.

He loved watching his Dadi through the ball too. He would trace it over her soft skin while she napped, feel the awe as her red bindi became magnificently big in it and then laugh and skitter away as she woke up with a start and pretended to catch him.

He traced the ball with one hand on his bedspread when he was suddenly aware of the silence in the house.
Aryan gingerly removed his other hand that still clutched his ear and allowed it to receive the news from outside. The shouting match seemed to have stopped. There was a hushed silence instead. Aryan, instead of feeling happy, felt a wave of foreboding wash him. His childish instinct told him that something was wrong. Before he could ponder further, the door opened and his father came in.

“Get ready Aryan, we are going to Dadu’s place” he said in a surprisingly gentle voice. Aryan’s heart leaped at that. He instantly combed his hair and checked himself in the mirror; Dadu always demanded perfection in his attire. He pulled his socks and shoes at a speed that would have surprised his mother and tugged his father’s arm “Ready Papa”.

Maybe he should have wondered over the strange look his father gave him as he ruffled his hair sadly, but all he could think disgruntled was that his hair was ruined. Maybe he should have wondered over his mother accompanying them on the trip, it was so unlike her to do so, but all he could think of was the mantra in his happy head “I am doing to Dadu’s place. Dadi will give me kheer again. I am going to Dadu’s place. Dadi will…”

His mantra came to an abrupt stop as the car splattered mud and came to a stop in front of a small cottage. What surprised Aryan was the number of people gathered outside. He didn’t even know so many people lived in the neighborhood. 
Birthday, was his instant thought, maybe it is Dadi’s birthday and they are giving a party! He called his mother to confirm his theory but the look on her face stopped him from saying anything.

They got down from the car, his mother insisting that they take the umbrella, but for once his father stepped out of the bulbous shadow the black fabric seemed to cast and went forward in the rain. The hushed conversation of the neighbors seemed to pause as they approached; Aryan winced as his father’s angry, pained voice echoed through the night.

“The rites have already been performed?” his mother piped in incredulously.

Murmurs of affirmation and something that sounded like ‘Yes, in the morning. She passed away last night…’ sounded out.

Aryan gaped confused from one face to another; unable to understand why they wouldn’t go inside. Nervously, he started tugging his father’s arm.

“Why didn’t you tell us? And you’re saying he left? LEFT? Just like that?” his voice cracked.

“He told us not to… tell you. But we thought we should inform you at least after he left…” a lady said.

A panic started building inside Aryan’s chest then. What was happening? Who were these people? What were ‘rites’ and who had left? He tugged his father’s arm in frenzy, fear clouding his senses just like the dark clouds clouded the evening light.

Finally realizing that he would not get any answers from the horde of people standing there, Aryan ran. Heedless to his mother shouting behind him, Aryan ran. He fumbled with the wooden gate, ran on the gravel path till he reached the blessed abode of the small, ramshackle cottage. 

He waited for a shriveled figure wreathed in a soft, warm sari press him to her chest. He waited for a tall, strong figure to peer down on him behind his glasses and greet him with a “Are you here Aryan? Open your shoes outside and hurry in.” He waited to see the soft lights of the house illuminate two wrinkled faces that lit up at the sight of him but there were no lights that day. The house was just another trick of the dark.

Aryan took a few steps till he stood at the door. What met his eyes shocked him beyond measure.

The door was locked.

The big old fashioned lock that he had played with all his life was bolted shut on the door. He remembered how his Dadi used to joke that they never had to lock their house; the thieves would never find anything valuable in it. It seemed like a betrayal to him now, that lock on the door, betrayal to his faith that his grandparent’s door would never be closed for him.

It was then that he finally realized, they were not coming back. His personal angels were not coming back, they were gone forever. He looked at the glass ball in his hand; there was no rainbow smiling with all its colors that day- as the rain streaked down the smooth surface, Aryan could just make out his own tear streaked face in it. 

He threw it with all his strength and walked away. 

And as the ball rolled and took its final breath on a black rock, the colors crumbled to dust for once and for all…
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 03

The Cosmic Clues- A Book Review



About the Book:

Name of the book: The Cosmic Clues
Author: Manjiri Prabhu
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Price: INR 299
ISBN: 978-81-8495-479-1

About the author: 

Author of 5 books, Manjiri Prabhu is a children's TV producer and a short filmmaker for over 20 years. She has worked as a freelance film critic for several distinguished newspapers reviewing more than a hundred English, Hindi and Marathi films. 

Manjiri's other major concern is Animal Welfare; she strives for the protection of stray dogs and cats in the society. 

About the cover and back cover:

The cover with a delightful combination of blue and black as the prominent shade is a rocker. The animated cartoon of a woman with a cat surrounded by small zodiac figures delivers a very apt feel to the book.
The back cover with a short preview  of the book is intriguing. The combination of private investigation with Hindu astrology that the book promises would make you feel like flipping the pages immediately.

Gist:

The Cosmic Clues maps the adventures of The Stellar Investigation which is a detective agency that combines astrological science with investigations. Sonia Samarth, masters in criminal psychology and a through scholar of the Vedic astrology sets up the agency despite drawing many sceptical views from family and friends. What was even more infuriating was the misunderstanding her ad in the paper seemed to have created- people assumed her to be an astrologer than an investigator. 

But as the cases start pouring in, Sonia along with her faithful young assistant Jatin gear up their efforts to track what seem to be multitude of criminal minds. 

It is a collection of 9 cases that come across Sonia that she handles with skill and intuition, finally wading off all the criticism she was met with initially.

My views on the story:

Astrological science with investigation- the very theme of the book is interesting and intriguing. Being a hardcore Poirot and Holmes fan who are the ultimate epitome of logical deduction, I couldn't help being curious about this new mode of investigation. 

Since I knew absolutely nothing about astrology except for the names and number of zodiac signs, I was a little apprehensive about how the book might turn out to be.

It proved to be a pleasant surprise. With the right amount of suspense, witticism and humor, The Cosmic Clues is a fun read. The writing style is really good- the narration, dialogues flow seamlessly with each story.

The characters are well built with clarity-at the end of the story you are left with a distinct impression of each one of them (even of the cat Nidhi). The plots range from decent to excellent with my favourite stories being 'In the Shadow of  the Stars' and 'The Proposal'.

The chemistry between Sonia and Mohnish is one of the high points of the story but what I loved the most was the possible connection with the mysterious genius of an international criminal, The Owl. I absolutely loved the last story; it tickled me so much, I couldn't help laughing aloud. 

I felt that some conversations between Jatin and Sonia were a bit drawn and unnecessary. Also, the continuous personality quirks lauded on Sonia gave the impression of forcible spotlight being drawn on her many virtues. 

The Astrological jargons associated with each story were necessary but being totally ignorant of anything related to it, I found them a bit tedious. I felt that this needed to be incorporated more tactfully so that it becomes comprehensible to all section of readers.

Apart from that, The Cosmic Clues is a good read. It is a book you can count on to cheer you up immensely. Overall, I would rate this book an 8/10. Mystery lovers, you have a book to look out for!

As for myself, I really cant wait to get my hands on The Astral Alibi. Yes, there is more to Sonia Samarth's story!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Lost Years of Sherlock Holmes- A Book Review



About the Book:

Name of the book: The Lost Years of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Ted Riccardi
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Price: INR 275
ISBN: 978-81-8495-434-0

About the author: Ted Riccardi is a professor emeritus in the department of Middle East and Asian languages at Columbia University. He has also served as the counselor of cultural affairs at the United States embassy in New Delhi.

About the cover and back cover:

The cover illustration portraying a beautiful young lady with a veil half covering her face done in the classic combination of black and red is one of the most gorgeous covers I have seen on a book. It delivers a feel of mystery, secrecy and you instantly run your hand on the glossy surface and feel like unravelling whatever secrets are contained inside. 
The back cover with a crisp sum-up of the book is quite interesting as well.

Gist:

The book is mainly about the 'Lost years' of Sherlock Holmes as the title clearly suggests. These recount are the adventures of Holmes in the gap of 1891 to 1894 i.e. , the period when he is assumed to be dead after the fateful incident at the Reichenbach Falls.

 The stories are set in Asia; we see Holmes travelling in various disguises through different parts of the Indian Subcontinent. He is completely alone without the constant support of Watson and the Scotland yard, armed only with his physical strength, logic and his unwavering genius. He battles against the various criminals who have escaped from the hands of law and found abode in the mystical places of Asia. He confronts the secret agent for Tsar Rastrakoff, mysterious Captain Fantome and the great art thief Anton Furer.

It is a collection of 9 short stories with a preface and afterword by Dr John Watson.

My views on the story:

Which kid hasn't grown up reading and admiring the genius of Sherlock Holmes? Conan Doyle's immortal character is one of the greatest detectives in the history of crime fiction and will remain so forever.
It is to get more of this enigmatic detective and find out how a different pen can possibly justify the character that I picked the Jaico Sherlock Holmes Series.

I should start by commending Ted Riccardi on the decent attempt to revisit the life of Sherlock Holmes. The writing style is really good- it is kept simple and the narration is quite effective.

I especially like the description of the landscape in almost every story; it is so beautifully detailed that everything comes to life even more.

There is a certain thrill in imagining the tall, intelligent frame of Holmes coursing through different places of India and places around in interesting disguises which I felt was the real charm of the book.

The plot of the stories ranged from average to good- some had really nice twists while some were a bit of a disappointment. My favorite story was The case of Hodgson's Ghost.

I enjoyed reading the book though I felt that he plot of some stories could have been much better. Though no one in the world can quite recreate the character and aspects of Sherlock Holmes, this was a pretty decent read.

Overall I rate it a 7/10 recommending it to all the Holmes fans. It's worth a try. 



Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Quicksand

She squinted sleepily as I lay beside her propped on my elbow. She tried to smile, but it turned into a grimace quickly. It had been one of the hard days that day. Her frustration had turned into one of those terrible headaches and she hardly ate or spoke for the entire day. It took me double the efforts to soothe her but she did fall asleep in the end, like she did every day, in my arms.

I raised my hand to caress her hair but she inched closer and buried her face in my shirt. Her faintly ragged breaths told me that she was still in pain and my heart screamed at the unfairness of it all. It didn’t have to happen. Not every day.

“What time is it?” she murmured.

“Nine”, I said, checking my watch.

She gave a small gasp and pulled back her head to look at me.

“You missed the Coke Studio. Again” she said apologetically.

I laughed in spite of myself. The TV show had been the last thing on my mind. I wanted to ask how she could remember it was Saturday but I stopped myself.

“No worries,” I said, “I’ll catch it on YouTube”. She nodded and replaced her head on my shoulder.

“Aren’t you cold?” she asked after some time. I realized then that I wasn’t inside the blanket but I had more pressing things on my mind.

“You are very warm” I said lightly.

She giggled, her voice husky with sleep and said playfully “You could get a blanket. If you want”.

I shook my head; I didn’t want to waste even a second without her.

“Good. I wouldn’t have liked if you went anyways.” She winked at me, her old smile back and I swear at that moment, my struggle that engulfed every minute of my life felt worthy.

“I don’t feel like getting up” she said, her eyes weary.

I looked at the purple hollows beneath her eyes, the cheeks that used to bounce with her smile once now sunken and empty. 

“You don’t have to” I told her, knowing how tired she felt.

“I’m still sleepy” she insisted.

“I know” I said, the adorable look in her eyes when she was sleepy couldn’t hide even beneath all the physical signs of her trauma.

“You know everything about me, don’t you?” she asked, curiosity in her voice.

Her question caught me off guard. Despite having known her for years, she was a stranger to me every day. Each morning a different mood, each day a different shade. But the nights never changed. The fear never changed as we lay together afraid of the clock ticking. She was a stranger every day, but she was a stranger I loved.

“Everything.” I said in reply.

“Just a few more hours now isn’t it?” she whispered, her eyes bloodshot with the headache and the fear.

I just hugged her tightly in response; I didn’t want the weight of the question haunt the precious few hours we had together. But more than that, I didn’t want her to see the fear in my eyes. No, I had to be strong for her.

“You will be here tomorrow?” she asked me, her eyes downcast, staring at her fingers playing with the button on my collar.

“Every day as long as you want me to” I replied quietly.

She looked at me then, her eyes sad and said “I don’t know what I will be wanting tomorrow.”

My heart tightened at the truth in her words as the smallest vestige of hope I carried everyday vanished. She really wouldn’t know .

Before I could say anything, she started running her fingers on the silver chain fastened around my neck, almost absent-mindedly, but the goosebumps at her touch threatened to rise on my arms anyway. I marveled in amazement at the boldness she showed. The same junior girl who had been so shy, so wary to even say out her name when asked soon became so comfortable around me, so fearless. I ached to finger her slender neckline too; trace it to the rounded curve of her jaw, to the dimple on her chin but I couldn’t, the intimacy I forged all day long seemed so transient in the last few hours of the night.

She took a deep breath and sunk in closer, her nose at my collar bone now and muttered “You smell so good.” I smiled, she had always been one to steal my lines.

“Do you smell like this every day?” she asked and a small part of me died again.

“Yes” I said, the sadness now in my eyes.

She looked at me long and hard, as if etching my face to her memory but the fragile thing called memory wasn’t a part of her anymore.

Her eyes welled up and she choked “I don’t want to forget you”.

I wished. I wished. But I would be erased from her mind as surely as the sun was sure to rise, the clouds of her sleep that kept this at bay were only temporary. I made her fall in love me every day and she forgot me faster than the painful hours I put into making myself familiar to her. But I was willing to do it again and again till I could permanently etch myself in her.

Amnesia could erase her mind, but not her heart.

“You will know me again tomorrow. As a new person but I will still smell the same, sound the same and feel the same for you and you will fall in love with me all over again tomorrow.”

“I am sorry” she said, tears spilling down her cheeks.

“You don’t have to be, you don’t have to be” I pulled her closer and held her tightly, wishing I could bind the time with the strength of my arms too.

“Sleep now” I told her. I could see the argument in her eyes but exhaustion pulled her away from me as her lids slowly drooped.

I held her as the night crawled between us and the clock ticking became louder than our hearts beating together. I held her as time slowly and stealthily crept in like a quicksand to steal her away from me. Again.

***

Can anything be worse than the person you love forgetting you? Not once but with every sunrise? I have stretched the concept of dissociative amnesia here but it had always been something that intrigued me. Will the person you love be willing to forge that connection time and again for you? Love is patient, love is kind… is it really true? I wonder, I wonder very much.