Book Review : Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon

I know it’s been a month and over since I last updated the blog and I’m extremely sorry for the delays with the reviews. Hopefully, I’m going to dedicate  a little more time to my baby blog. So without wasting any more of your precious time, I shall begin.

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Okay so to define the book Tell me your dreams in one word would be to call it simply FANTASTIC. That is what I expect of Sidney Sheldon when I pick his works and he has not disappointed me with this one either. Here below, I’ll cut it down for you guys.

1. The Plot : 

One of the main protagonists frequently wakes up to chilling nightmares and she cannot explain what triggers those dreams she does not want to see. In addition to this, she senses someone following her everywhere. She wonders who.

The chilling piece revolves around three extremely attractive looking girls working for Global Computer Graphics, the three of them distinctive in their ethnicities and personalities. They are parallel lines which cannot meet. Or so it seems. Surprisingly, the Fates entwine them as suspects in a series of alarming and blood curdling murders across London, Rome, Quebec city and San Francisco which leaves the police confused and shocked at the same time. Their arrest leads to a crazy murder trial- the final hearing of which and its terrifying aftermath forms the crux of the story.

2. The Plus Points :

  • The character sketches of the three ‘suspect’ girls is very good.
  • The murders – CHILLING. Point made.
  • The murder trial – Brilliantly portrayed by Mr. Sheldon.
  • The motive, after-trial and anti-climax – traumatized me (in a good way).
  • The real life connect – I’m a big fan of the combination reel-cum-real. The book’s association with real life medical criminal cases was the cherry on the cake. It was my most favorite thing about the book.

3. The Pits And The Falls :

  • Etching of other characters – The mother and father of one of the girls had fairly adequate history and etching but personally, I was expecting a little more to unfold. That said, there were a few other characters whose details I’d have wanted to skip.
  • The murder trial – Yes, i said above that it was brilliantly portrayed but I felt it was a little longer than I wanted it to be.
  • The after trial – It tested both- my patience and curiosity. After going through so much, I just wanted the cat to be out of the bag.
  • The final climax – It is definitely good but a wee bit predictable. Or maybe it’s just me because I have the curiosity of a spy or probably just by reading a lot of Sheldon’s work I kind of know where it’s headed. BUT THIS SHOULD NOT STOP YOU FROM READING IT. There’s more to it than it seems. 🙂

To sum it up, it is a terrifying and worthy read. Sidney Sheldon  caters to my need of thrill and curiosity and terrifies me in different ways with each book.  This one left me mentally traumatized for almost a week 😦 . I wouldn’t say Tell me your dreams is his best work but it definitely counts among his top 5 in my opinion.

If you haven’t already read this one, I hope you do so soon because it is a perfect mix of mystery-fear-thrill and you will not want to put it down.

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

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Book Haul (February)

There’s always one habit I will never out-grow, whether it was back when I was a ten year old or today or even some forty years later when I’d be rocking in my chair, graying – reading. Over the years I have read a lot of fiction ,non-fiction, the junk of the Book World( the comics of course!) and my academic books which I am certainly not referring to in today’s post.

Doubtlessly, the library was one of my favorite places at school. Sifting through the colorful, endless rows of books, each waiting to be taken off the shelf, waiting to be flipped through, to unfold their story, was in mere three alphabets- joy. I have lost count of the number of books I had borrowed and I recall right now how I never wanted to return a good book (but I did of course 😦 ). Why part with a character who became your friend, engaged you so deeply, made you laugh and cry with him/her when you can go back to them, right? Maybe that is how I turned into a chronic (and proud) bibliophile.

I guess all you book-worms (apologies for the stereotyping) can understand what I’m trying to say. Oh I must admit how much I admire people who read. Just a lot more than the usual crowd. Nup. It does not make you look “nerdy” – it makes you so much more attractive! 😉

So today I’ve decided to make another addition to my blog – Book hauls and reviews. In other words, a list of books I intend to read over a month or so and as and when I finish it, I’d review it up here. I’d love to share my experiences with others out there looking for a good read.

Here’s a list of my books to be read (TBR) for the month of February:

1) Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon – He is one of my MOST FAVORITE writers. This was on my TBR list for a long long time.

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2) They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie – A book haul is incomplete without an Agatha pick, right? Right.

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3) Gone Girl by Gilian Fynn – Just had to give in to the hype and find out what was so different about this one.

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4) Paths Of Glory by Jefferey Archer – I read this one long ago and just felt like reading it again, so that’s why it features on my list.

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5) The Associate by John Grisham – This AUTHOR was on my TBR from a long time so yeah!

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The reviews to the books mentioned above will be uploaded as and when possible. Hopefully, soon.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
Ernest Hemingway

P.S- You can leave a list of your favorite books in the comments section. 🙂

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

Perfectly Imperfect!

After a tedious hiatus of ten or so days I’m happy to be back to the blogosphere. I am one of the lot of habitual over-thinkers strewn across this mighty planet. Last night, I happened to just ponder about the icky judgemental nature of we humans.

Ever wondered how much a person goes through in life  to be what he is today and what he will be tomorrow?! It is a pretty long struggle you know. And since homo sapiens cannot survive in isolation as has been reiterated from Adam and Eve’s time, we know how much the people around us impact us- starting from our family, to our friends, to spouses, etc. And to be judged by them? Imagine that!

What do we know of each others’ lives and everyday struggles to be subjected to blatant remarks with no pause whatsoever to our endless imagination? The answer you all know is- nothing! You are not making things any better by calling them names. I don’t understand how somebody’s life can affect yours when you are not even a part of their struggles. Do we really want to create bonds out of love or just picture a slideshow of people with quirky captions in our heads to make our life seem better. Or do we empathize with them genuinely? Either put a foot forward to embrace them and love them with their so-called shortcomings or leave them the hell alone.

Every one of us has been created in the same mould of clay but our souls are poles apart- the way we feel, we react, we laugh- each one of us differs from the other in every way possible. Nobody’s life is blessed with flawless-ness. Some of us are better looking, better versed, better clothed, better provided than the others. Whatever quality we lack, is compensated by God in some other facet which becomes specific of us and makes us imperfectly perfect. And we ought to be grateful for that.

We need to just focus beyond what we see through our naked eyes and penetrate a little through the soul of another and be more accepting of what does not necessarily please us. It is really a very easy thing to do if we just set our egos, insecurities, complexes aside and consider everybody our equal and not turn this into a competition of sorts.

The definition of what is perfect is totally subjective. What is good enough for me might not be up to the mark or just plain bad for you. The point is no matter how much you try to conceal or enhance your flaws, you are always going to let a part of yourself out to the world and open to judgement. And it is sad how it is all about sizes, numbers, appearances, bank balances, marks at school, social fame and other materialistic things which people chase today, blissfully unaware of missing out on something- much much much more meaningful.

Isn’t it the character we should be really vouching for?! I think it is.
You would not drive a potential good friend away because she doesn’t have the same phone as yours, would you?! Hell no. All these figures are just attributes to enhance your place in the society you live in. Please do not make this your criteria in determining somebody’s character.

Anybody or anything making you feel small or unworthy in ANY little or majorly hurtful kind of way needs to be shown the door out of your life. It is the right way to rid yourself of all the negativity you(or anyone else) does NOT deserve. Better alone than with those constantly putting you down. If in case  it’s your own bout of self-pity, ask that inner critic of yours to take a hike.

Don’t expect a flawless person in your life. You are most likely NOT to find one. Because no matter how hard we try and how many rules we bend or set up, there is nobody who is going to be 100 % right and you will land up alone. And I guarantee you that you WILL be judged- for all the good you do and all the bad you do. So better soak in that imperfection. If I had obsessed so much on finding the perfect people over all these years, I would have not been a part of the lives of SO many beautiful people I call my family and friends today.

I am a product of uncountable imperfections and through my bunch of imperfectly perfect family and friends, I have learned to look past the short-comings of people because all of us are amazing just the way we are – perfectly imperfect!

I think every single imperfection adds to your beauty. I’d rather be imperfect than perfect.

(Bollywood Actress)
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To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

Mid-Life Crisis – Exams!

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All i see is a mountain of books, oceans of portion, a scary deadline, a list of excuses, procrastination, big ambitions, and a tendency to be most productive at all unimportant things before my eyes. Except what is the dire need of the hour- Studying! I’m sure all you people with exams going on or due to take off relate to me.

The countdown has begun. Just FIVE more days to go for my much dreaded examinations. I must be studying than blogging about it you all might point out. I should, very definitely should- but I am not; which is what is driving me insane and my indifferent attitude gravely concerns me.

Much fearless.

So proud.

Sigh.

It’s a phase of such mixed emotions – anxiety, depression, sickness, fear but no happiness or joy – why I wonder. Oh! That comes after they terminate right?! Huh. What torture! 😦

Someone said:

” Tomorrow is my exam and I don’t care because a single sheet of paper can’t decide my future.”

If it’s Einstein or Thomas Alva Edison I’m not quite sure and a tad too lazy to google it up. Nevertheless, I’m placing my bets on Mr.Edison.

Well, it doesn’t actually matter who said that because that is just a hypothetical concept , wishful thinking and a near over-confident mind’s whispering. Now don’t deem me ‘Anti-Edison’ – I have great respect for the man. I’m just talking about how the above statement does not currently apply to me and my situation.

In today’s era, your success is basically an overall composition of the ‘n’ number of examinations you prepared for and aced, in addition to the choices you’ve made in life and the hard work you spent. But it’s funny how only that degree or report card leaves a lasting impression. 😛

They say there’s no way of getting things done without putting in the work. Well, since ‘no exams’ is still just a distant dream to we students, there’s no way out for us as of now. We just gotta roll our sleeves up, pick that book in our hands, give it our best shot by spilling the ink in the best manner possible.

One of the only ways I just figured to motivate you and myself is to think about the long-term goal (being a qualified doctor as in my case) and how important that is to you. That REALLY should help, right? Right! You have to push yourself now because nobody else is going to do it for you.

It’s tough fighting this laziness and constantly nagging fear but not impossible. The results will be directly proportional to our hard work. And in case, (God forbid) you fail, there is always another chance. It is certainly not the end of the world.

Please make note that right now I’m just exam-o-phobic. Hence, the anxiety level 100 – which every student goes through in such testing times. Even the best of us buckle under pressure.

At the end of this post, I’m reminded of a small supplication we used to recite at school that translates to :

 “With God’s help, victory is near.”

Here’s praying and wishing all of us the best of luck. Let’s ace these exam monsters girls and boys!

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To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

Winter Favorites!

Unlike the Starks who fear the advent of winter, I welcome it each year open- heartedly and why not? It is my favorite time of the year after all! I suffer with an OCD when it comes to my liking towards the cold- but hey, it doesn’t go on to define that my nature is so. I’m known to be a pretty warm person (modesty anyone?!)

With the recent reports from the world’s four most important meteorological departments stating that 2014 was by far the hottest year ever recorded here in India, I cannot help but anticipate how much hotter the summer of 2015 might get. If I think about Summer 2014, I am most likely to start perspiring profusely and melt just by the thought of it. I so do not want the cold to pave way for the warm breezes anytime soon.

It’s a little over mid- January and another month before winter bids adieu to all of us here in Hyderabad but the missing has already begun on a personal level. Sigh.The mercury levels have started rising sharply by the day though the nights are still icy cold. Well, seasons don’t change according to my will so I’d rather stop cribbing about it (ok I’m going to cry- not!). Anyways, here are a few of my favorites I indulge in during the cold.

1) Socks – polka dotted, striped, monochrome, ankle-length, knee- length, vibrant or plain- a pair of chic warm socks are all I need for my cold feet all the time- indoors or outdoors.

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2) Scarves – They serve 2 major purposes – keep my head warm and at the same time are all the accessorising my winter outfits need. .

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3) Coffee – Ever wondered why a mug of hot cocoa or a sizzling hot latte tastes more delicious on frozen mornings and chilly evenings?! I do. And I am grateful for this blessing. ❤

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4) Lip balms and moisturisers – I cannot do without them. The dry, cracked skin needs its share of ample care and repair.

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5) Sweaters, hoodies, jackets – Let not the freezing cold stop you from being fashionable and stylish!

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6) Books – Winter is the perrrfect time to indulge in some reading (and I’m not talking about my course books fgs). I’m an avid reader and winters somehow set the cosy ambience I need for reading and falling asleep as I do. Pillow. Blanket. Coffee. Book. Check!

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7) Short days and long nights – Cosiest sleep under my blanket. Winters are THE best times to catch on those extra zzzzzzzs, isn’t it? 😀

8) The beautiful night sky in winters is unexplainable. Really ya!

9) Ice- cream and BBQed food – A bowl of vanilla ice-cream compliments the dropping mercury surprisingly well! Who needs a reason and a season to enjoy good food? (Not me).

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10) Last but not the least – The Snow – Although it never snows in Hyderabad, I really wish I could build an Olaf for myself. 😦

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So here was a little list of my winter favorites. Winters are special to me for a lot of reasons unkown to me – I can’t really come to a conclusion as to why I love this frozen period so much but I sure as hell enjoy it to the T. I think I will go catch on my zzzzzzs now as it has been a long and a tiring day with my course books (please wish me luck for my exams). And oh- Have a happy winter folks!

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui

Short Story #2 – The Memory Will Never Die!

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He woke up to the annoying snooze of the alarm on a chilly winter morning. Isn’t it vile to have been awakened when the most brilliant phase of your dream cycle is about to gain momentum?! Squinting, he reached out for the daisy-faced alarm clock bouncing insanely on the side table aligned to the wall next to his brown poster bed and put it to rest. It beeped a 10:30 AM. The alarm had been snoozing away for a good 2 and a half hours, he made a mental comment. He twisted and turned in his warm sheets trying to get back to the deep slumber he was so cruelly woken up from, but couldn’t.

His thoughts raced quickly in his mind, flipping through his working memory to recall what he had perceived just minutes ago. He was sure it was her. No. Yes it was her he reassured himself. She was standing beneath the blue sky, smiling at him, her arms wide open- beckoning to him and he had begun to move in her direction and was barely an inch away from her face when the vicious buzzing alarmed him. A brief smile spread across his face and disappeared as quickly as it had come. He lay there staring at the ceiling for a long time, reminiscing how her eyes, her beautiful face, her sweet words had cast an unbreakable spell on him and to his own surprise, a tear trickled down his right cheek and he involuntarily wiped it off as though embarrassed. Men are strong, he sighed. He looked at the daisy clock again and this time it struck a 12:05 PM.

Switching his gaze to the enormous window on the left, he noticed the golden beams attempting to tear through the smooth silk of the chocolate curtains. He was horribly late for work. Just as he consistently was for the entire week before and the one preceding it. I will remember to set the alarm for an hour earlier tomorrow, he made a mental note nonchalantly. He rose up unwillingly from his bed, rubbing his palms together softly, walked weakly towards the windows and drew the curtains apart. The bright light blinded him for a millisecond. The sun was high up on the horizon but the wind was still cold and dry.Quietly contemplating his thoughts, he soaked in the warmth of the sun. His handsome face shone like a pearl in the golden beams but if one looked at him with more concern he would point out that it was studded with sorrow.

He recalled his last winter with her- it was one of the best winters of his life and her presence had added a beautiful meaning to it. He had fallen in love with her perks- he adored how she rose into fits of rage when he didn’t make it to dinner on time citing work issues, her uncontrollable laughter when he humored her through his silly faces and bad jokes, her endless faith in him, her innocent dreams of riding the rainbow on a unicorn, her too-much-for-her-age wisdom and advise he could never do without, the way she ridiculed him when he sang like a wounded moose, the way she passionately read to him and the way she dozed off when he read for her on frozen days like these, how she snuggled upto him when she felt blue and instantly lightened up with chocolate ice cream in her stomach, or how she comforted him with her smile when he was sad and the way she lit up his day just by being a part of it. He could write a book with umpteen sequels on her-  that was how much he knew her, that is how much he loved her.

It was 1:30 PM now. He hadn’t showered for days he realized. He entered the king sized bathroom and the hot tub. As he showered he loosened his reigns over his tears and they came gushing through his eyes- hot and endless. For the first time in many days, he found his emotions running him down. He made no effort to fight the running stream- he just couldn’t. It was all too much to come to terms to- his loss. The past weeks had gone by struggling to cope with it but today there was no struggle. His throat felt dry and his stomach was in knots- he couldn’t bear it no more and he let out a piercing cry. And wept till he could cry no more.

At half past two, he came out of his room wearing the gray tee shirt she had gifted him on the Christmas of last winter and a pair of blue denim jeans. He refused to part from it on days that he stayed indoors, avoiding all possible social contact. He headed straight to the room on the right as he climbed down the spiral staircase. He stood near the door gaping at the unkempt room that belonged to his daughter. He picked up the mess as he walked in, frowning and murmuring to himself, “She wouldn’t have liked this mess at all. At all. At all,” as he went about this chore. He then came to the desk laden with piles of untouched homework and books against the yellow wall and could not help but take a look at the pictures hanging on the wall.

Yellow was his wife’s favourite colour. “Yellow was her favourite colour,” he remembered. Staring intently, he took the picture with the thickest frame off the wall and studied it. The faces in the photograph were smiling- he, his cute little daughter clutching onto his arm and his pretty wife. How he longed to see her lovely face again. He knew that he could not. For she was far out of his reach, beyond anybody’s reach, up above in the Heavens watching over him- she was his guardian angel now. Her last words had been “He is the best man in the whole wide world and you were so wrong about him,” to her estranged mother and “I always had a lovely time with you Daddy. I love you,” to him, as she lost her battle to a terminal illness. His fingers moved over his daughter’s face in the picture and he sighed in muffled pain, “I love you Sarah. Daddy misses you. Your memory will never die!”

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The End.

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui

Later is Now!

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“I will do it today”, said none of us- ever! If you still haven’t figured out the subject of today’s post, i’m going to give you a little hint- it is a state of yours where you’d rather spend hours in bed after opening your eyes updating your Facebook / Instagram / Twitter, check out that sale upto 50% off at the nearest mall, molest the joysticks of your PlayStation, binge watch Game of Thrones or sip on that sizzling mocha at the new Starbucks in town (the list is endless), than finish your pending task(s) at hand. Yes, you are right. I’m talking about the chronic procrastination we all invariably suffer from.

Procrastination is the reason why that room you thought of cleaning after your cousin’s wedding is still a mess, the preparation for that examination ten days away (as is my case) still hasn’t commenced, that presentation you were to submit to your boss still isn’t ready, that fitness regime you were going to start off with is still on the papers, that cross-trainer you bought for the same purpose is covered in dust, and those six pack abs under construction are well, still under construction- and also why I am unforgivably late in updating the blog from the past few days.

I’m quite amazed at how this fits everyone of us and wonder what makes us procrastinate so much?! It’s ironic how the jobs consuming most of our time and concentration and requiring top-notch priority are put off to a later time and then we panic as though we are at World’s end as the deadline draws near. If it’s the simple pleasure of indulging in our desires that gives us instant happiness, the monotony of the job, tendency to get bored easily, lack of interest/excitement, plain laziness or the undying faith in the fact that man works better under pressure- I’m not sure.

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So what’s the actual problem you ask?! In simple words it is that the early bird catches the worm and you’d rather be the one that rises late, generously letting the bird catch it, being satisfied with the little left overs if in case, there are any worms left, or worse – if YOU remain to see the light of day.

A man without passion and a drive to achieve something is as good as an aimless animal! I strongly believe that in order to get something done a.k.a be successful, you have to pull those socks up and shrug off the laziness parasitising your creative emotion and purpose so that you deliver nothing less than your potential. Like all things fine, the price of success only inflates with each climb of the ladder. That price my friends is constant hard work and a hungry desperation to emerge a winner in your own eyes.

This is not a subject of World Peace which I’m going to blow out of proportion. In fact, it’s just a ‘thought fuel’ to get your engines of will power and determination charged to run in steady speed towards your destination. I have fallen prey to this monstrous laziness often and with time and increasing responsibilities towards my goals, I have realized that intelligent planning and time management could actually lessen the unwanted delays. All I’m implying is that you learn to prioritize your goals each day- starting with the ones requiring immediate attention so that you are left with an ample amount of time to spend in recreation without your deadlines haunting you.

Scientists have deemed the youth of 21st Century, ‘lazier than their ancestors’ and let us face it, we are generally- pathetically lazy(especially we Indians). No, it is not as cool as we think it makes us. To all those swearing by laziness, trust me there is nothing more to it than low productivity, wastage of precious time, a goal-lag and an increasing risk to a variety of complex diseases- obesity, congestive heart disease, et al. The fruits of your labor can be enjoyed to no end but remember that it is the labor that yields the fruits.

Someone once said,

“Hard work never killed anyone but why take a chance!”

I bet there’s nothing in history that has been taken so literally.
The next time you wish to delay things, make sure the first thing you check off your list is procrastination itself! Because, Later is NOW!

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To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.