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…

Ruby Roy’s Romance With Sleuthing


Courtesy my co-blogger Rekha of Book Decoder fame that I was introduced to the genre of cozy murder mysteries. Being an avid hard core murder mystery fan I wondered what exactly was so cozy about suspense thrillers till I bumped into Ruby Roy (not literally). Based on my own perception, though it may be flawed, I presume cozy mysteries are those where there is a set of mysterious events, including murder, which neither borrow heavily on blood curdling gore and hair raising violence nor induce a surge of adrenaline rush. But these are interesting reads which pull the readers through till the end without being excessively nail biting or edge of the seat, yet, the sleuthing takes its own placid course, nonetheless keeping the readers hooked. I do not know whether the definition is lucid enough – just to give an example, the genre is very much like reading a Famous Five or a Nancy Drew.

Dr. Ruby Roy is well into reading and research. She is a professor on tenure in Baron University, happily married, clumsy in her ways, plus sized with an unusual sense of fashion bordering on nerdy. Except for landing into unintended embarrassing situations, here and there, her life should be as monotonous and routined as any other till she discovers her Chair’s dead body in his room accidentally and gets knocked off by an unknown assailant, most probably, the murderer, who is still present at the site of the crime when she has arrived which kind of threatens her own life. While trying in vain not to swoon over the police officer (who resembles one of her silver screen crushes) investigating the crime, she realizes that she herself can be one of the suspects.

Understandably, the atmosphere in the University, becomes tense as everyone doubts every other colleague as the could-be-killer. To lighten the gloomy environ, the next-in-seniority proposes a hallow-een gathering on Zoom. But things take a macabre turn when the proposer of the gathering herself gets murdered while the meeting is on on Zoom while the other attendees look on helpless and horrified.

It is at this juncture Ruby Roy, herself a murder mystery addict, decides to take matters in hand and get into the shoes of Ms. Marple to find out who the murderer is. Thereon, it is just a game play of activated grey cells aided by an able Watson-ian husband that Ruby Roy ultimately nabs the culprit.

Ruby Roy And The Murder In The Falls being the first of the Series of Ruby Roy mysteries, authoress, Rimi Ray, has taken full liberty and space to develop the persona of her namesake (replace Rimi by Ruby and you have got her). She says her protagonist is sketched in her own mould and her aid, Cloe (hubby), is based on her husband’s. The best thing about Ruby is she is one of us- not a super sleuth, not a super woman – but very much a kind hearted, self effacing soul who goes by her intuitive feelings but also employs her sharp and astute brain when it comes to smart deduction. She is of flesh and blood with her own flaws and frailties which makes her more human than a sheroe.

To summarize, reading Ruby Roy is enjoyable. A few editing lapses taken care of and we have a cozy experience at hand. A more terse narrative can also enhance the read, especially, when humour takes over the suspense quotient. But as Ms. Ray says that her prime aim is to give joy and pleasure of reading to her followers, I think we can happily overlook these minor fallibility.

Here’s to Ruby Roy.

Cheerio!

A big thanks to Rekha for introducing me to Ruby 🙂

!!!

Om Namah Shivaay – #Wordless Wednesday


Wrapping Up


This is not a weekly or monthly wrap up but I just wanted to enlist the Web Series, Dramas and Movies I have watched in the recent past on OTT. Also, the reasons why I am mentioning them though all I have not liked in equal measures.

By now, my friends must have come to know that I am an avid watcher of Pakistani TV Dramas because of their strong content, powerful presentation and outstanding performances. First in the list is Dobara (A Second Time) which deals with the subject of second also late marriage and that too of an older woman with a much younger man. In our society, where tradition plays a major part, women, strictly as per convention, should be younger in age than men, in marriage. On the other hand, men have no age limit. Even in India Shining a much older man can marry a very young girl. In fact, in the matrimonial columns of dailies, middle aged men’s craving for girls in early twenties as their preferred bride, therefore, do not come as a great surprise. In Pakistan, which has a more orthodox social set-up, a rich, middle aged widow (gracefully played by Hadiqa Kiani) with grown up kids marrying a young boy (Bilaal Abbas), fit to be her son, is seriously taboo. Whether the relationship of faith, trust and loyalty remains unblemished amidst fierce opposition from families of both sides and usual misconceptions and misgivings of society at large, is the central theme of the story. Hadiqa adds dignity to the characterization of Meherunnisa, the generous, kind-hearted elderly lady and Bilaal sails effortlessly through the portrayal of an undisciplined but intelligent young man. Both grow as their relationship matures with time which signifies that growth and maturity have more to do with experiences than with age. The storyline is not very subtle, actually quite predictable at times, but there are certain unexpected moves which lend a quality of unusualness to the Series.

Sang-e-maah (Moonstone), is second in the list, which has grossed million views in no time. This serial marks Atif Aslam’s debut in TV Drama. Undoubtedly, his screen presence and theatrical execution, are one of the main attractions of this Serial. Followed by the towering performances by Noman Ijaaz, Saina Saeed and Samia Mumtaz. The drama pivots around the baneful practice of compelling families to give away their daughters to men almost at gun point. This is the second of the Trilogy, the first one being Sang-e-marmar (Marble Stone), which dealt with the futility of prolonged family feuds and bloody revenge. Show of power in any form is bad, be it grabbing a woman’s hand in marriage or bartering women to save family prestige. Both the Serials have almost similar cast, deal with exploitation of women in various forms and evils of patriarchy.

Sinf-e-ahaan (Women of Steel), is a Serial produced by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media and PR wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces. It is the story of seven girls from different social backgrounds whose lives change after joining the Pakistani Army. It is a very different way to encourage women to join the Armed Forces. However, it also makes for an interesting watch. The tough Army training infuses determination, courage and dignity in the hearts of these seven women and teach them new meaning of existence. Those who came from backgrounds of affordable luxury learnt that life is much more than being presentable in society and those who came from minority groups and remote tribes, learnt to stand tall and make a place for themselves in their worlds.

In between these weekly shows, I finished watching the Poirot Series on SonyLiv. Sir David Suchet, as Poirot, is riveting. One cannot imagine anyone else in his place as the sharp and shrewd detective created by Dame Agatha Christie. I am yet to watch the Ms. Marple Series which is in my to-watch-list. But there have been many Ms. Jane Marple but only one Mr. Hercule Poirot with his quaint English and inimitable mannerism. I can watch the Series several times over. However, the dramatizations are quite different from the novels which provoke me to re-read the books.

Coming to Netflix-ing, I binged on Craiglist Murder (based on true story) but it saddened me to see how a bright young Med-student succumbed to his psychological challenges. Heart Parade, on the other hand, is heartwarming and a feel good movie, all about taking life slowly and enjoying every moment of it. Needs to be jotted down to imbibe in my whirlwind daily routine!

After watching Ajay Devgan as Captain Vikrant Khanna in Runway 34, on Amazon Prime, I could not stop myself from binging Rudra on Hotstar Special. Frankly, it was a wrong choice although Devgan was power packed and perfect in both. Captain Khanna is an ace but arrogant pilot and role model for young, starry-eyed co-pilots. However, on a cyclonic night, way back from Dubai to Cochin, his miscalculated risks lead to an enquiry by none other than the intimidating Mr. Narayan Vedant(Amitabh Bachhan). The film is inspired by an incident of a Jet Airways flight from Doha to Kochi in 2015. Directed by Ajay Devgan, the film received positive reviews but did not do so well at the box office. However, it is an edge-of-the-seat-thriller with a message. Rudra, on the other hand, is about a super cop, Rudraveer Singh, obsessed with his job which has spoilt his personal life beyond repairs. His USP is that he thinks like a criminal and that is why able to understand their minds and catch them red handed. But, at times, his methods transcend the limits set by law. The Season – 1 is nail-biting but the violence and gore quotient is too high for family watch and at times cringe worthy.

At present, I am watching Habs (Imprisonment) on You Tube, again a Pakistani Drama, about Basit (Feroze Khan) whose father dies an untimely death. His will reads that his son can only become heir to the family inheritance if he gets married. Otherwise, the reign of control will pass on to his mother, whom the boy abhors, as she had left him and his father when he was a child. Incidentally, his father calls her back before his death. Basit, understandably, does not believe in marriage but is compelled to enter into an arrangement of convenience with his secretary, Ayesha (Ushna Shah) to secure a nikaahnama (Marriage Certificate) in order to run the business which is going out of hand because of fiscal crunch. Ayesha comes from a humble background and is currently the sole breadwinner of the family but she is principled and a responsible daughter. Turn of events bring Basit and Ayesha together as husband and wife but will it lead to a bond of love and happiness?

There should have been a longer list of to-watch Serials and Movies but as I am veering to my earlier passion, i.e. reading, I am keeping it to the minimum.

For the present, it is traa-laa and a Happy Weekend…

REFLECTION – #WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


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All About Antarctica


Name of the Book : Antarctica – Life On The Frozen Continent

Author’s Name : Conor Kilgallon

Category : Coffee Table Book

Pages : 226

Publisher : Amber Books

Ratings : 5/5

Highlights : Spectacular pictures of stunning landscapes curated with scoop of interesting and intriguing information about the mysterious Continent Antarctica which was unknown to human civilization till the 19th Century.

The book is divided into four parts – East Antarctica, West Antarctica, Islands and Wildlife

Excerpts : Antarctica is the fifth biggest Continent twice the size of Australia. It comprises of rocky land mass covered with ice in contrast with the Arctic which is land surrounding frozen sea. The continent records the lowest temperature on Earth which bottoms down to -89.2 Degree Centigrade. During winters the size of the Continent doubles due to the enormous amount of ice. It holds 70% of world’s fresh water in the form of ice which, if it were to melt, would raise the global sea level up to 60 Meters (i.e. 200 Ft.). 19th and 20th Centuries saw a spurt of expeditions to the Continent and a race to territorial claim which is governed by the Antarctica Agreement whereby a lion’s share of the freezing land mass is held by Australia followed by Norway and a slim slice by France. Presently, the Continent is dotted with Research Stations, Igloo Satellite Colonies, Progress Stations and Support Bases. The Russian Support Base or Progress Station runs throughout the year while the other Research Stations remain open only in summers (October to February) to study marine life, sub atomic particles of the sun etc. The Ozone Hole in Earth’s atmosphere was first detected in 1985 by one of these Research Bases (Halley). However, these man-made Units are seemingly in ugly contrast to the majestic, snowy tansantarctic mountains (dividing East from West Antarctica), silently floating tabular, tibular, dome shaped azure ice bergs (which drift away from the land in summers and get trapped in fast ice or sea ice in the winters), sculpted by wind and water, the millions of meditating penguins, the horde of lazing seals on the coastal beds, the flapping but fast extinguishing albatrosses, the visiting whales, fabled Midnight Sun and the magical red moon. Antarctica also hosts the legendary South Pole. With increasing global footprints Antarctica now also houses a living museum, post office, shop and churches.

To give glimpses of a few more fascinating facts about this huge Continent lying across Eastern and Western Hemispheres :

Antarctica is the driest, windiest region and actually a polar desert.

West Antarctica is known as Lesser Antarctica, most probably, because it has milder climate (temperature bottoming down to merely -20 Degree Centigrade) than East Antarctica which has harsher Winter. It is also the part which is warming very fast. The summers in Antarctica is supposedly barmy i.e. only 0 Degree Centigrade in temperature. 🙂

Ross Sea lying in West Antarctica is called the last ocean of the Earth as it is the most southerly sea.

Antarctandes mountain range in West Antarctica is a continuation of Andes mountain range of South America.

Lambert Glacier in East Antarctica is the fastest moving glacier.

Scotia Sea (West Antarctica) is also known as Iceberg Alley because all ice bergs pass through this sea passage due to the anti-clockwise coastal currents and clockwise circumpolar currents.

Mummy Lake in East Antarctica is named after the mummified seals found on the edges of its waters.

The mountains of East Antarctica has several ranges, namely, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and the highest peak is 10590 Ft.

Tide Cracks appearing on ice beds are feeding ground for birds and breathing hole for seals.

Penguins only breed in winters. The Empire Penguin weighing around 45 Kgs and height around 39 inches are the largest and hardiest. Surprisingly, they can dive almost 1800 Ft. deep and hold their breath for almost twenty minutes long underwater. The male penguins huddle around an incubating egg in harsh winters alternating between the cooler edge and warmer interior of the huddle (this process is known as thermoregulation wherein the male penguins lose almost 12 Kgs. in weight as they renunciate food to keep the egg warm) while the female penguins walk away to the sea to feed and bring back food.

These and many more astounding facts and figures along with beautiful photographs of volcanic islands, thriving wildlife, cruising ships, magnificent sky show of Aurora Australis, regal mountain ranges, ice sheets waltzing on cold sea water, serrated ice bergs (seracs) predominated by the colour blue (as they absorb long red wavelengths and throw off blue short wavelengths of light) serenely gliding by carrying with them at times bergy bits and growlers are captivated in the pages of this magnificent book.

The book while giving a wealth of information, presented picturesquely, heightens curiosity of the reader to know more about this mystique Continent. And that is the USP of the labours of the curator, Conor Kilgallon, which has truly paid off.

A Coffee Table book, while being attractive and informative, does not drag with long drawn out descriptions and statistics. It is easy to read or browse through, the insights are relevant and precise supplementing the visuals and can be really enjoyed with sips of a piping hot cup of coffee on a summer evening.

And that is what I did.

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