Book Review : They Do It With Mirrors – Agatha Christie

This particular Agatha pick was not really a treat-read for me. It is not bad either. I suggest you pick this if you are looking for a quick read (say when you’re travelling). For once, this is my first Miss Marple mystery (I’ve always favoured Hercule Poirot’s adventures better). Although I’m a huge Agatha fan, I’ll just be straight honest with this review.

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1. The Plot

For the shared concern of a mutual friend, Mrs.Van Rodryck asks her dear friend- clever old Miss Marple for a favour to which she obliges. When Miss Marple reaches Stoneygates- a rehabilitation centre for delinquents, she instantly senses danger in the air. Two bullet shots, perfectly timed, are fired simultaneously under the same roof, killing an unexpected guest. This risks the life of her friend Carrie Louise further more as she is the most anticipated victim (being the heiress of a vast fortune). With confusing, bitter-sweet family ties and multiple suspects-each more or less a part of the family with justifiable motives of their own, the case gets complicated. How Miss Marple helps the police in revealing the actual murderer makes for an interesting read.

2. The Plus Points

  • The pace of the book is steady. Nothing is rushed into or taken too long to unfold.
  • The various characters introduced are realistic in their sketches.
  • The setting in and around which the crime takes place, is well described and easy to imagine.
  • Little relevant details are not left out. Instead, they are mentioned to the point.
  • Multiple suspects and their motives initially confuse you since every suspect seems to be a potential murderer – which is an excellent thing.
  • The victim is kind of unexpected which took me by surprise a little but that hardly matters.

3. The Pits And The Falls

  • I was not very impressed with how the plot unfolded. Basic and predictable.
  • The identity of the criminal did not come as a surprise to me. So many characters and yet your first guess hits bull’s eye?! Mysterious much? Not!
  • Some characters are pretty abrupt.
  • I found it a little boring to be honest. It was not one of those mysteries which tend to linger in your thoughts for a while and leave you wanting for more from the author. 

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui

Whirlpool Of The Web

Greetings to you!

Today is an exceptionally hot, drabby day. I did make some plans but well, Mr. Sun with his super hot rays managed to deter my spirits. So I ended up canceling them. Instead I rejoined Twitter (had made the account ages ago) and literally felt like a noob. A good15 minutes went by screening the settings and figuring out how it worked. Almost considered deleting the Twitter handle because I’m seriously not very regular with my social activities. But then, I let it be.

Now who doesn’t want to know what film Shahrukh Khan is filming for currently or which part of the world is Narendra Modi tourist-ing right now ( 😉 ) or which new person KRK has managed to piss off or what the celebrities are wearing at the Cannes or how the Royal princess looks like or what worthy serious, practical news the tabloids have to offer?!  

Despite a time-craving career to focus on (because apparently doctors are supposed to study all day and all night) you’ll find me browsing on various platforms (Google, Wiki, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube et al #entertainment #selfawareness) and shockingly losing track of time. And I’m sure most of you relate to me. Since everyone is a cool Mr/Miss know it all these days, the least we can do is, keep up with them right?! :P.  

On a serious note, the advent of the Internet has had mortifying effects on us and the society we live in. What started off as a luxury has now become a utility,just a few steps short of becoming a necessity coupled with new-age smart-phones- a tool you cannot do without. It is easily accessible these days. Don’t be surprised when you see your 5 year old nephew deriving entertainment,information,knowledge out of an Ipad or Iphone next time round. At that age I was probably learning how to form sentences, write and speak proper English. 

On the plus side, life has become easier in the sense that everything is available at a click or a swipe. The Internet has made life a tad too easy when I compare it to how it was as I was growing up. I barely had access to the Internet till I was in 5th grade and I was in 7th or 8th grade by the time I had learned how to use it properly for my purposes. I certainly don’t need to tell you how the scene is today.

Though it is an EXCELLENT medium transcending communication,cultural and regional/national boundaries and barriers; by providing an infinite source of vast information,learning and awareness and all sorts of entertainment one can possibly fathom, you cannot turn a blind-eye to the collateral damage it has done.

The more we’ve connected to the web the more we have disconnected from our real lives to the point of becoming dependent on it which is not that good an idea. Some of us have completely got lost in this whirlpool while some of us have succumbed to it in one or the other way. The ones who have learned to strike a balance between the virtuality and reality are the wise owls here.

Like everything, even the Web has its pros and cons.Neither requires mention as we are all well aware of it. As much as it has helped us to reach out to the world, it has equally distanced us from ourselves if we look keenly. Just remember that anything in excess is bad. And once something is on the Internet it stays on the net. Excercise caution especially when you are social networking. It is in your hands how you make use of this wonder web. If it’s a blessing or a curse, boon or bane,

You determine. You decide.

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui

My Summer So Far!

Amidst a scorching summer and a much awaited-cum-delayed vacation ( by a good ten days :/ ), I finally pushed myself to get up here. The soaring temperatures are messing up big time with my holiday (and blogging) plans. I just do not feel like doing anything but slumbering all day hoping that one fine morning, the clouds will greet me with fresh showers, triggering the monsoon. With it being only mid-May so far, I think I’m pushing my expectations a bit too much.

Well, I have no idea whatsoever where I’m headed towards with this as 7 pm is usually not my ideal time to flex fingers and also, I have not given a thought to the title of this post yet. I continue to stare at the screen in desperation as I type this. Think I’ve officially hit a thought block! Sigh!

After a delicious biryani break for dinner, I thought I’d make this time’s post ridiculously personal about how my summer has been of late. I’m pretty much aware that I’ve got a few pending tasks on the blog like reviewing my February (damn! too late!) reads and a few others recommended by friends and other bloggers. I sincerely promise that I’m going to do all of those by the end of this month. Right now, I intend on proceeding with my Summer So Far.

So here’s what happened so far:

  1. My summer kick-started officially the day my Final MBBS – Part 1 results came out in the positive. All the hard work, anxiety and paranoia paid off well. Also, I saw improvement in my academic performance which relieved my folks .
  2. My birthday co-incidentally fell on the same day the results were announced, resulting in a double celebration.
  3. My childhood friend got happily married. She was one beautiful bride brimming with joy. Plus her wedding day seconded as a school re-union of sorts. I honestly didn’t meet so many people even at the Alumni Meet. It was one memorable night.
  4. I’m a chronic binge-watcher. I managed to catch up on the latest seasons of TV shows like Castle, The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, The Flash, New Girl, of course THE Game of Thrones and re-runs of Friends.Yes, I’m THAT free but frankly I lack quick productivity. 😛 .
  5. My shopping expeditions. I cannot tell you how much of a de-stressing chore shopping has been to me, especially this time round.
  6. And back to the professional front. Apart from fun-tastic days so far, I started spending a decent amount of time in college attending lectures and clinical postings as holidays finally became a distant dream come true. Whew!

That’s the gist so far. I’d tell you of my further plans lined up for the rest of this hot season but I’m afraid you’d yawn away to sleep. 😛 Today’s post wasn’t any bit philosophical or preachy or inspiring or interesting as such and pretty much pointless I know. But hey, sultry summer does that to me okay?! So I guess I’ll catch you people next time with something more relevant and meaningful. 

Wrapping up by wishing a sunny, exciting summer for you. 🙂

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

Attitude Adjustment!

Over the years, if there is one thing in me that has been subjected to constant metamorphoses, it is my general disposition towards people, phases of crises, euphoria et al. And at times, it fascinates me how quickly my attitude breaks and builds, assuming a different mold every time it changes.

I wasn’t born with the best attitude towards life. Nor were you. It is not something congenital. It is acquired through habits outgrown, lessons learnt, in adversity and prosperity, mistakes made and corrected and through love gained, given and lost.

I have been through my fair share of embarrassments, confusions, frights and fights growing up. I’m pretty sure all of us do. I was touchy, insecure, impatient, short-tempered, suppressive of myself, et cetera. Today, a completely different girl looks back at me in the mirror, who is way more confident, secure and accepting of herself and others- flaws and all. Someone who laughs at the confusion, speaks up when she has to, owns up to mistakes and deals realistically with her strengths and weaknesses and one who realizes what strings are to be cut off and what to be held on to fiercely.

Because life is a bed of roses with thorns. And there’s really no point in hiding what you feel as things WILL keep changing forever. I am personally not a fan of change and that my dear reader, is the irony of my life – it keeps changing and never ceases to transform me in good ways and sometimes bad. Either way I learn and that is all needed to keep me growing and upgrading my version of self.

Our lives are beset with umpteen plot twists and how far would we go by being someone we’re not. People would see through you and I right away. Cribbing doesn’t work you know. But a cheerful outlook on situations most definitely does.

Learn to remind yourself of your greatness (Don’t roam around with an edematous head stuffed with arrogance and pride :/ 😛 ), be happy with who you are, care less about what others think of you and value what has to be valued. And if something in your life goes wrong, chalk it up to experience, let it go and move on. In any way, understand what makes you wonderful. Be true. Be you! A little attitude adjustment goes a long way. 🙂

Look at the good things in your life. Look at the good things in you.

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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