Yummilicioussss


Dinner arrived as per pre-ordered menu on 8th September 2022 well packaged and absolutely on time between 7.00 and 8.00 PM by Uber.

The Menu was

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However, I had chosen only Fish Kalia and Chicken Korma as I was having this irresistible urge for non-vegetarian khana, especially fish. Needless to say, they were very well cooked – Bengali or Bong style. I still cannot get over the Kalia. The fish was very, very fresh. The pieces were huge. The gravy did not have any “fishy” smell ( I was very specific about that).

We are small eaters. For us, one plate was more than sufficient. The Chicken was all soft and juicy. I relished the silkiness of the creamy cashew garnish all over the sumptuous chicken pieces interweaved with the sweetness of the deeply fried barista – just the right combo for the palate. I love barista. It adds another dimension to any dish – be it Biryani or Chicken. Again the quantity served/packed for one could suffice four eaters like us.

Kalia was all spices (rich with garam masala) which it is meant to be. In Indian cuisine, garam masala is a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf and clove ground to a powder. These are just the minimum ingredients. Some add cumin seeds, black pepper, nut meg and mace also to it to make it more flavourful, rich and tasty. To put it succinctly, when we Bongs cook fish with onion, garlic, ginger and tomato paste, the outcome is akin to Kalia. There could be more to it but my limited culinary knowledge can define the dish only in this simplistic way.

I have stopped preparing Non-veg at home for various reasons. When I have a biological thirst for it, I either order it through Zomato or ask my sister to make it. So, this was a treat for which I had to wait for three months as Tapatie had left for the US of A for a short vacation. Before leaving she apologized several times for not being able to satiate my taste buds and I kept on assuring her that the apology was quite unnecessary.

But what I actually want to emphasize here is the personal care she took once she confirmed the order. She was very particular about the oil and spice level, whether I was allergic to any ingredient, at what time I ate dinner, what would be the convenient delivery time since I reach home late from office and once the packets were delivered she reconfirmed over phone whether I have got them without any glitch or not. I am not so used to being taken care of. I was really touched. She also confessed how bad she felt when she had to refuse my order three months back because she was in a hurry to leave for abroad. Again, she was not required to but that is Tapatie.

A little about her. She is my childhood buddy’s neighbour and friend. So, a friend’s friend is of course a friend. Tapatie left a high profile corporate job to follow her passion which is cooking. Those who can chuck off stressful, demotivating, mere money making careers and achieve their dreams, which may be less profitable earning-wise but high in soul satisfaction quotient, they are, I believe, the luckiest persons on this earth.

I have met her just once. But I saw a motherly side to her during our interaction – the way she cared for littlest of things to heighten the comfort level of those she catered to. She even offered to deliver a suitable vegetarian meal for my mother which was really very, very sweet of her.

Unfortunately, I am going through a restrictive phase off spicy stuff and desperately waiting for a nod from my GP to again start hogging as ever.

Till then, I have to do with salivating over the pics I took as Tapatie’s delicacies arrived and unpacked hurriedly and impatiently. Here they are:

Fish Kalia :

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Chicken Korma :

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Don’t they look yummilicious????

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She


She was married off

Before attaining puberty
At sixteen she flaunted a baby bump
At twenty she was mother of two
In between got aborted twice
In some sleazy clinic
                          alley side

That year…

When “Nirbhaya” uproar
                           was at its peak
She laughed quietly, and one day
                                    said to me
I get  raped  night after night
No one is going to burn a candle for me right?
Who is going to protest against that ?

An afterthought….

Perhaps one day they will make a film on me
And immortalize my agony frame by frame

Then after second thought…..

Who is she? where is she from?
After all a name is just a name
Be it rose…………………….be it shame

Hauling Happiness Home


I love chocolates. Who doesn’t? They are happiness inducers, delicious to taste, come in lot of varieties and part of all festive occasions. Every country has its indigenous recipe of making chocolates. When you are down, you should munch a piece of chocolate to up your mood. Wiki says that chocolate making dates back to 1750 BC. Can you beat that?

So, when I saw this Happiness Carriage on road while going back home from office I could not help but click. I love the tag line too – äs pure as your love. So the status of that brown bar is escalated to sublimity. What else one would want?………So don’t forget to bite into one as soon as you get an opportunity.

A Trip To Vietnam


No…no….no… friends you all are very wrong. In fact, the caption is very, very misleading. The trip was not undertaken by me but by my hu nephew and niece-in-law. Why Vietnam? I am yet to ask them. But its my nephew’s second trip to the country. What pulls him to that land I am not very sure. But this time they shared a lot of information which I am not very sure will be likeable to all. It was not to many of my family members.

Wiki says that Vietnam has now become a very popular travel destination. Its a country where I think vegetarians will not be very comfortable as most of the dishes served are non-vegetarian. Vietnamese serve a wide range of wines which includes snake wine, centipede wine (not for humans), rice wine etc.. Serving snake wine to guests is, I suppose, a delicacy. My nephew visited a friend where they were served wine from a glass jar. The jar was filled with wine and had a dead cobra preserved in it wrapped around ginseng (see pic above). Ginseng is good for health. It boosts energy, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduces stress, promotes relaxation, treats diabetes. Snake bite is supposed to be height of intoxication. So, presumably, the dead snake must be adding to the level of intoxication to the wine. Centipede wine, on the other hand, is given to animals to treat them of diseases. They also visited a winery which was owned by a Vietnam war veteran. He had got one leg amputated as an aftermath of the war. But still he would visit the jungles to catch Cobras, kill them and bring them back to the winery for wine making.

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It was quite yucky listening to such preparations as we Indians do not believe in including insects and reptiles in our culinary. In fact, most of us enjoy vegetarian dishes mostly. However, apart from such weird but novel facts about Vietnamese cuisine, I was told that the country was very clean and had scenic spots.

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And that’s my globe trotting nephew and beautiful niece-in-law who are real adventurous types ready to enjoy every new experience from sipping snake wine to tasting super expensive coffee made out of animal defecation. Yuck!! You read me right. They actually made me drink a cup too but told me later what it was made up of. Well I was feeling not so okay after that but my niece told me that it was all in the mind which made me feel slightly better.

All the pics have of course been taken by my nephew and niece-in-law and they generously let me post them in my blog.

I Am In No Hurry


Mr. A is my insignificant neighbor. Insignificant why? Simply because kinds of him do not have much to contribute to the historicity of human existence. He is a quiet and self effacing member of the society who chooses to lead a typically middle-class life torn between desires and destiny. His florid countenance is always awash with a shy smile. I have never heard him raise his voice. He is neither into unconventional trends nor controversy. His speech is soft and eyes downcast (especially while addressing ladies). A little hesitant with a tendency to escape when it comes to formidable situations. In short, Mr. A is a thorough gentleman.

Now that brings me to an unpleasant discourse on gentlemanliness. Who is a gentleman? They are a minority who live life in constant dread because neither do they have the muscle power nor unaccounted monetary resources to snatch away from others what they think is their right. That’s an anomaly, isn’t it? Going by the books, honesty should have a stronger voice and say in society. Success and prosperity should chase them relentlessly. But is it so? My boss was an honest person but could never assert himself like the way the rogues in the office could. As a result, he kept to himself and advised us likewise – a paragon of forgiveness – which I am really undecided to categorize as a virtue. Needless to say, his career never took off the way it should have.

You may ask from where have I lifted this unique definition of a gentleman. No, this is not written in any tome or scripture. Sadly, it is the realistic caricature of the species – a dying one at that. Society by itself has gifted us with certain yardsticks, however inherently contradictory, these may be. In order to be civilized you forgo your right to survive because survival calls for bloody battles the civilized is not accustomed to win. Mind it, here I am not talking about fighting it out. I am talking about proving one’s mettle which in itself is debatable. Victory does not fall straight into the lap of the one who follows the righteous path. Rather one has to *prove* that one is worthy of a win by hook or by crook. That is why, in this rowdy race, the gentleman, the epitome of a civilized being, fast heads towards extinction.

Coming back to Mr. A , I consider him an exception of sorts. Not because of his inbred qualities but because he sails through life with an ease which is enviable. The other day we met in the Diwali Dhamaka Bazaar. After exchange of a few pleasantries he gently reminded me of a few documents which he had given me to get attested on an urgent basis. I had done the needful but returning him the same had just slipped off my memory. I apologized to which he shook his head vehemently and replied, “Didi, I am in no hurry. You can give me back those papers whenever you get time” I knew how important and immediate his requirement was yet those five words “I am in no hurry” shook me up to the core the way it always does.

These are the five words which Mr. A is habituated of reiterating to whosoever it may be not because it figures as his favourite speech but because he genuinely believes in it. Sometimes I wonder whether it is his docility which is his undoing. He has had his rough patches. Life is never a bed of roses. Not for him at least. I can make that out from the way he vies with adversities off and on in the hope of a better day. Sometimes, I wonder whether he has compromised with life for good. At others, his unhurried approach gives an inkling of a larger acceptance , a greater tenacity, a worthier forbearance which I am not and will never be capable of.

In today’s space-rocketing life, Mr. A has found his own orbit irrespective of how many days and nights it takes to complete a circle. Mr. A rests like a freezing glacier in the midst of a turbulent typhoon.

My love-hate relationship with life shall never allow me to think or live life as Mr. A does however inspired it may feel to be. Yet it never stops me to ponder how Mr. A must feel when a posh Jaguar zips past his exhausted Alto 800 on road. Well, I am sure, he’ll sedately change gear and mutter, “I am in no hurry, sir. You first.”

🙂

🙂



This post is based on an article written in my Bangla Blog the link to which is given below for those who wish to read the original

https://vanderloost.blogspot.com/2013/10/blog-post.html

Friends Or Foes??


This post is dedicated to Rekha of Book Decoder fame as she had expressly stated that she would try out Logan only after reading my review. So, here it is.

Four besties, (accompanied by their families), who have known each other half their lifetimes decide to spend an extravagantly planned holiday in a jaw dropping French Villa in the village of Autignac amidst intoxicatingly flavoured vineyards rolling into dense woods. The occasion – celebrating their fortieth year on planet Earth. Let’s meet each of them and their family:

Kate married to Sean parents to Daniel and Lucy

Jennifer married to Alistair parents to Jake and Ethans

Rowan married to Russ parents to Odette

Izzie (unmarried)

The foursome have tangled relationships. Jennifer was Sean’s girlfriend in College. Sean and Izzie were childhood friends – both Irish and belonging to City of Limerick. Kate was all along in love with Sean even when he was with Jennifer. In fact, when Sean realized Kate’s intense feelings for him, he left Jennifer for her. Kate blames herself for Mark’s (Izzie’s fiancé’s ) death and Jennifer and Sean’s break-up. Jennifer is now an obsessively devoted mother. Alistair, her husband, is a professional counselor, who treats everyone, including his own children, as psychological objects of clinical analysis. Rowan is highly ambitious and is looking forward to a million dollar deal with a Concern (of a super rich father and son duo) who are deeply into Christian faith and will even back off from the business alliance if Rowan’s antecedents (both personal and corporate) are found not scrupulously clean. Russ, Rowan’s husband, suspects that Rowan is having an illicit affair but with whom he does not know. Izzie also has now got a partner, someone to live for, but she is keeping it all hush-hush.

Coming to the children. Daniel is in his growing age aiming to be a sensational You Tuber. He spends most of the time taking videos of the Villa and the families in his Dad’s Camcorder. Daniel also craves to be a part of Jake-Ethan team. Lucy is sixteen, a budding beauty, emotional and secretive. Jake and Ethan are a pair of dangerous teens trying out their boundaries as they move on to adulthood. Lucy, Jake and Ethan are in the same school. Jake has a huge crush over Lucy and follows her “with his tongue hanging out”. Odette is a spoilt, attention-seeking child whose parents are more engrossed with their phones than her.

Does not appear to be a very likeable scenario for an enjoyable vacation and as is anticipated, trouble brews as soon as the families land in the Villa. Kate, accidently reads Sean’s mobile messages from one Coral Girl which obviously prompts her to suspect that her husband is having an affair with one of her besties. Who is it? She is determined to find out. Russ, in a drunken state, confesses to Kate that Rowan is having an extra-marital dalliance but with whom he does not know. Alistair stalks both his sons’ social networking sites under fake identity but Kate is horrified to find out that he stalks Lucy too the same way. Sean is ill at ease and awkward when Jennifer and Izzie are around. He is also “too close” with Rowan on one occasion (in Kate’s presence). Jennifer, on the other hand, chases her sons like a super possessive mother, especially, when Lucy is with them. Kate, who is a professional crime investigator, is in a quandary. Who to trust? Who to suspect? What are her besties’ secrets? What is Alistair up to ? What is Lucy hiding? Why is she so shaky? To her Jake and Ethan do not seem like “normal” kids. Their experiments, jokes and games are over dramatic, nay, weird, more so, when they involve little Daniel in their crazy, kooky life endangering ploys.

The vacation is for a week but as the days progress the atmosphere charges up with suspicion, betrayal, mistrust, guilt and hostility. Its sooner over the better. But does Kate know that there is one amidst them who is a killer so deadly that there’s no way she can avoid the catastrophe. She has all the evidence which points at her husband whom she had once loved and still loves madly. She sees her marriage falling apart like a pack of cards. She does not know how she will handle this heart wrenching separation. What will she tell Lucy who is in the delicate cusp of teen and adulthood? How will she manage her adorable but fatherless son Daniel? Above all, how will she forgive her treacherous, disloyal husband turned infidel? Where did she go wrong? Is she paying for her past sins?

T. M. Logan craftily ladles a cauldron of suspense into a cyclonic stir as though a master is orchestrating a stormy symphony octave after octave to its crescendo. When ? When ? When ? Who ? Who ? Who ? Why ? Why ? Why ? As the maestro plucks his instrument the strings go berserk pulling the readers along with its almost satanic chants unstoppable, unignorable, cluelessly wandering amidst such maddeningly flawed characters – their fears, their insecurities, their shame and their lunacy taking turns to edge towards massacre so devastating, so life changing and so unforgivably harrowing.

Here it is for you all. “The Holiday” is so unimaginably tension-ridden that even readers will not be able to remain detached or untouched from its overwhelming turbulences and friends will think twice before vacationing together.

This is my first Logan. Taking my time to move on to the next as I am still not fully out of the hurricane of lies, deceits and conundrum of conspiracies ( a few questions do remain unanswered). But sure I am trying my level best not to egg on towards the next soon enough. You know why? If I do then I will forget all my other To-Dos of daily household chores and remain shamelessly hooked to it.

Exerting my Will to the Utmost…

Rekha…..

How Much & How Long


Is endurance a virtue or a vice? A question I have been struggling with for quite some time now, has taxed my rationale to a great extent. I belong to that segment of society where values are deemed invaluable. “Je shoi shei roi“, my elders have time and again reiterated the adage which literally translated means those who endure shall survive. Survival, in larger perspective, is not merely staying alive or adapting to change. Its compass transcends the boundaries of physical existence. Ideally, adversities should strengthen us mentally. A survivor, in the final analysis, should evolve into a higher being emotionally, intellectually as well as spiritually.

There are various ways of overcoming the odds in life. You can either be the bull who charges head on at the sight of red or be the matador dodging and parrying till you succeed to emerge victorious. Either way, you challenge fate to the optimum. A raging bull or a defensive matador, both are extremities of the opposite order, yet treading on treacherous grounds, gambling with uncertainty and scorning God in unison. A cautious mind may contempt adventure as a series of foolish attempts to outwit danger. But does a tight rope walk on a string of compromises be deemed a more clever option? For that matter, does endurance silently reproach you of indulging in self-delusion?

I know the answer cannot be a simple yes or no. Survival is a technique best employed in accordance to an individual’s constitution. There are door-mats who will let the bullies run over them with ease. There are rebels who will rage wars, on the blink of an eyelid, at the slightest apprehension of a trespass in their private domain. But life is fraught with dilemmas for those who are neither door-mats nor rebels. These are the thinkers who judge the minutest pros and cons before lifting a toe. These are the negotiators who endure because they think that is the best possible strategy in a given circumstance, taking into consideration all internal and external stimuli. These are the procrastinators who check and balance their acts on mental conviction. These are the analyzers who endure not because they are by nature acquiescent but because they perceive greater disadvantage in the offing if they don’t.

“We endure because we don’t have money or muscle power”, clucks my neighbour who has been after the MCD officials for months to get the overflowing manholes cleaned at regular intervals. Ms Sharma, my colleague, has often lamented about her sister’s failed marriage, “She was subjected to physical torture for years before she decided to quit and come back home.” “Why didn’t she report the matter to the Police or the Women’s Cell?” “Oh! She was afraid. The children were small and she did not have the requisite finance to support them.” Kanika decided not to get married ever, even though there was no dearth of suitors. In a moment of weakness, she had confided that it was her scarred childhood which prompted her to take such a decision. “One of the close relations.” She had sobbed uncontrollably. Vanita, my friend, chucked her job because Mr. Ramabharan, her pot-bellied boss, wanted her to’entertain’ his guests after office hours. Social oppression, sexual harassment, child abuse, domestic violence, poor governance are burning issues which call for political as well as collective will for effective resolution.

But my concern veers towards those little deprivations and dichotomies of life which we casually term as’adjustments’, in want of a better nomenclature, to make our lives livable. These have never been the focal point of stormy Parliamentary debates. These have not been accorded flowery eulogies in literary tomes. These do not find mention in the blood-boiling speeches of king or Queen makers. But these are like those perennial itches which embarrass as well as at time irritate us constantly. My six year old maid has a very quiet way of refusing assigned work. She either pretends not to remember or promises to do it later. She is the best judge of the time she wants to pay a visit to my household. I keep reminding her that her afternoons have now strolled into evenings. She maintains a stubborn silence on such crucial issues. Her USP – Integrity and Patience. So I endure her disobedience in silence because replacing her may endanger the safety of my house.

My driver has a quick silver temper. I am told all drivers have their own idiosyncrasies. The young boy throws tantrum at the drop of a hat. Yet he is excellent in exigency for which I am ready to give him brownie points and bear with his eccentricities with a matronly smile.

My boss is a workaholic and expects equal amount of devotion from his subordinates. So, I have no other option but to accept the stretched work schedule. He has stood by me on trying occasions which prevents me from rebelling. Since Organizations do not let you choose a boss, I grit my teeth and endure the extended time-table, with a forgiving sigh.

There are thousand other instances which are illustrative of such compromises that we indulge in, in the absence of a better alternative. However, there is that undeniable friction when mind and heart graze past each other. Is it lack of courage? Or is it the comfort factor which does not let us think or act out of the box? Or is it fear of change and the accompanying uncertainties that prevent us from exploring newer avenues? Whatever be the reason, the fact remains that we have all become a patient lot persevering hard to maintain status-quo even though at times it may or may not be desirable to do so. Perhaps, it is time we rage on like the mad bull instead of scampering hither and thither like the dodgy matador? Again, there is no sovereign remedy for the maladies of life. A compromise for me may be perceived as prudence by some.

So, we come straight back to the pavilion. Are we being over-optimistic with our easy-going attitude? Can such little compromises pave the way for a hassle-free life? Or are we playing into the hands of those we depend upon by letting them have their own way in matters where we ourselves should be the deciding factor? Are we really being virtuous by enduring or pampering a vice just because we lack the will to oppose? If its the latter, there is urgency for corrective measures. And if its the former, the question is how much do we endure and how long?

Food for Thought.

The Dulwich Detective


The problem being a diehard Christie fan is that I tend to compare every murder mystery novel with that of the dame. Alas! I seldom find one which matches her (detective’s) analytical acumen and deducing prowess. I am sorry to say this in the preface itself before proceeding to talk about my intro with Alice Castle’s clever sleuth Beth Haldane of Dulwich Village.

Alice tries hard to create the rural backdrop of English countryside. But this is not the laidback, sleepy St. Mary Meade of Ms. Marple. In Dulwich the mothers are kyoiku mamas hell bent upon competing with each other in so far as their children’s academia is concerned. Their offspring’s entry into Wyatt, the poshest educational institute of the village, is every mother’s ultimate ambition. The institute is famous for churning out notable alumni.

Beth Haldane is a single parent of a boundlessly energetic son, Jake, around whom her life pivots. She is obsessively cleanliness and routine conscious. A systematic eliminator of junk (I see a glimpse of Poirot here). Her forte is research (Another very sleuth-ish component). To foot the monthly bills she is in need of a steady source of income in addition to her freelancing jobs. Her appointment as the assistant archivist in Wyatt comes as an overwhelming tiding of a worthy beginning of a promising career.

But her first day turns out to be more than dooms day when Dr. Jenkins, the head archivist, whom she is supposed to report and whom she comes to hate at first sight, is found murdered in the school backyard amidst the bins. Beth’s first reaction is to save her own skin as she is the one who first discovers the body ,which unfortunately and customarily, makes her a prime suspect. Her only target now is to clear her name not only for her own self but for the sake of Jake whom she wants to shelter from all evil and bad name.

Necessity is the mother of all inventions. So Beth tries all tricks of the trade, smart or lame, to dig out more about the lecherous Dr. Jenkins (yes, he has many qualities of a potential/actual murder victim) to uncover the motive behind his murder. In doing so she not only endangers her own life but also brings the murderer closer home and unintendingly very near to Jake. But she is Beth Haldane – clever, courageous with a Shetland-pony-like-strength-and-hardiness-coupled-with-an-untamed-fringe and an uncanny knack for “poking her nose” into matters from which she should ideally keep herself at a safe distance. That is what Inspector Harry York reminds her again and again to her great annoyance. He is also very reticent about divulging information and updating her about the latest police findings on the matter which does not help Beth any further.

So Beth has to do it on her own. Is it just because she is incriminated in some way? No, because she gets a kick out of it, whether she admits it or not. In doing so, she dishevels the prim and snooty Dulwich life.

Alice Castle does a very good job of contemporizing the backdrop – Dulwich is not the rustic backwater where people retire after a hectic career in the city to have a sedentary time table of long walks, leisure gardening, evening gossips and early bedtime. The South London suburbia is a modern hub of aggressive parenting and rat race of grooming children into the future who’s who. The zeitgeist of elitist high flying of the uber-rich insurgently robbing the English countryside of its quintessential charm of unexciting and dull ethos.

Christie set her stories in times which she was part of. Yet, those are timeless period pieces showcasing the follies and fickleness of human psyche, villainy germinating from intrinsic vulnerability and vanity of human species which segregate them as the most intelligent and at the same time the most dangerous animals.

Alice Castle is not comparable with Christie. (In fact, such comparisons are fruitless and inappropriate). The flow of her narrative can keep readers hooked. Its a cozy mystery which is more of a coming-of-age genre. The who and why of the crime kept me going but the final denouement did not come as a great shocker. In the process of identifying the culprit Beth opens up another Pandora’s box which kind of leads to a parallel trail but however ends in Beth’s favour.

It will be wrong to conclude that I will not be on the lookout for subsequent Beth Haldane Mysteries. All said and done, it was an interesting and enjoyable read and I will not hesitate to recommend it to those who love a cozy bedtime read before going off to sleep wondering what’s going on in Beth’s mind and how will she unearth the perp at the end.

Thanks again to Rekha of Book Decoder fame for the maiden review of this book which undoubtedly tickled my curiosity.

This is my honest opinion about the book and anyone who does not agree with it is free to her differences.

This review is shared with #Netgalley, #bookouture, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Mouthshut.com, Linkedin.

GAFFITI – #WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


I have always been fascinated by graffiti which make me wonder whose art work these must be, in what mindset these must have been written, what is the intent of the writer so on and so forth.

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This one attracted my attention while returning from office – it was on the way just passing through the Pragati Maidan Crossing on Ring Road and of course, much before the unduly prolonged farmers’ movement. Now the Crossing is no more a Crossing and post movement, the art work has been promptly modified thus:

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This again is on my way to office. I have been trying to take a pic for long but the ongoing traffic during peak hours has always prevented a good view. But this time I was lucky and clicked readily. This graffiti always makes me wonder whose imagination has played riot! It also reminds me of Hogwarts – cakes flying aided by a swoosh of a wand. 🙂

Yoohoo!!!

Ghost With A Mission


This is my first C J Loughty and not the last one I can say for sure. Though The Mystery of Darkhill School is for kids (between nine and twelve years), the mature writing style makes it an intriguing read for even young adults and adults.

I got this one on Amazon Prime Reading. I had heard that many good books were available in this section at simply no cost. It was the book cover which attracted my attention. I do not remember reading the blurb. Just had a sixth sense that this book would be interesting. And so it was.

Following pay cuts at work Mr. and Mrs. Gubbins and family (Son Josh and daughter Bella) were compelled to shift to Darkhill. The children got admitted to Darkhill School. One look at the old, gloomy façade, Bella intuitively knew that the place was haunted. Josh did not like it either. But the school had a good reputation, The Head Master, Mr. Curshaw was old school and formidable. Mrs. Gubbins, highly impressed by the school tour by none other than the Head Master himself, would not hear a no from the children as she thought both could do better with some discipline and focus. It was not that Josh and Bella were rowdy. But perhaps they needed some “special” tutelage!

Bella’s first day at school ended in detention with the school bully Dawn who had made Bella her target at first sight. But more than detention, it was that odd feeling of being constantly watched over which most of the children cribbed about in the school, that bothered Bella. And who was that grey, shadowy figure hobbling in the winding corridors, tip tapping on the icy cold floors with his walking stick? Why did the lights flicker and temperature drop suddenly with his imminent approach? Why would the form teacher Mr. Grouse not hear a word when Bella screamed that she was being spooked? What was Mr. Curshaw’s “special punishment” for disobedient pupils who would not pay heed to solemn advice and stern admonition?

Loughty’s writing style is impeccable. His language is pristine. Visuals are vibrant. Narrative is crisp. Epilogue is fitting. Without getting into lengthy descriptions, Loughty is able to convey the foreboding atmosphere of the school – a character in itself – the bottomless stairwell, the half lit rooms with shadowy cupboards, the creaky doors and windows, the chilly, numbing draughts whizzing in now and then, the whistling winds shrouding the premise in an invisible cloak and above all the Head Master’s room atop of overbearing disposition overlooking the sprawling grounds watching over with unseen eyes every child who dared to be wayward.

I recommend The Mystery of Darkhill School not only for children but for parents as well.

After all, not all scary, goose bump inducing experience is ghastly or ghostly. Who knows whether the other worldly being chasing you may have a noble intention or an invaluable lesson to teach which may be life changing for you and your offsprings?

Try on…