Scare Me No More!

When will the last grain of sand fall;
How much more is there to go?
When does the ticking of the clock stall;
When does my breadth cease to flow?

And since I do not have answer to this question I have to live in oblivion. I have to take each day as it comes but yet look up to the next one that is to come. I have to make plans for the coming day and be ready to deal with every situation life throws at me.

Everyday is a new chapter in the story of life. From the day we are born a story starts taking shape. Each day hold a new adventure. Some may be very thrilling while others may be just ordinary but an experience and lesson nonetheless.

Miles away from home, life in a boarding school is rich with experiences and never to be forgotten lesson.

A measles outbreak is reason for this little six year old girl to be moved to the school infirmary. Her bed is adjacent to a window that overlooks a narrow path leading up to a cottage far away. As the night creeps in so do the spooky stories from the other inmates. The lane is haunted and the window falls just in the path of the ‘ghost’.

With lights switched off in the infirmary rooms there is complete darkness. The hills outside are bathed in a black cover and the moon too is on vacation today. The little rustling of the leaves on the path outside are enough to cause the little soul to jump every now and then. An earnest plea for a bed change had been dismissed because no other bed in the room is vacant and moving to another room is out of the question. Measles is an infectious disease so others cannot be put at risk.

Dark Window

Soon the showers in the sky also run loose and there is the pitter-patter on the tin roof. Sloshy footsteps make the heart skip several beats and tears start rolling down. Curled up in a ball inside the blanket and with bated breath this little girl keeps praying for her safety. She has never seen a ghost or an evil spirit but descriptions and narrations can have a nasty effect of churning up the contents in the abdomen. The pillow covers are soaking with salty tears but the sounds soon start fading. The eyes get heavy and the grip around the knees fall loose. Sleep has found it way into the blanket.

The rays of the sun break through the glass panes and the peaceful sleep is broken. Rubbing her eyes she wakes up to greet a bright and sunny day. The ‘scary’ lane,  bordered with beautiful daisies and butterflies fluttering in a playful mood, disappears round the bend. Soon the happy and joyful spirited English teacher emerges from the bend and a smile flashes across the girl’s face. She greets him ‘Good Morning.’

Daisy

“Are you taking a morning walk?” she asks.

“Good morning dear! I live in the little cottage down this lane.”

Fears are put to rest and ears turned away from ‘stories’. The nights are now tranquil and peaceful. The road to recovery a pleasant journey.

 

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Love Affair with Books

Heather has been caught in the act. Her darkest secret is going to be revealed; not just to the world. She can face the world but how is she going to face Jason? (The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper)

No one understood Heather but for Jason. He sympathised and empathised with her, helping her in her efforts to unravel her life’s mysteries. He loved her for what she was but little did he know of her shoplifting habit.

Discomfort, disgrace, shame, embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, indignity; a rush of emotions are flowing. Not through Heather but me. I just had to close the book shut before Jason turns up at the scene.

What would he say? How would he react? Will he understand? Will he walk away? Will this be an end of his relationship with Heather? I am not ready to face this situation just yet. I needs some peaceful time to deal with situation. This needs to wait.

This is one of the many occasions when a character’s life has secretly crept into mine. The joys, sorrows, elations, miseries, achievements, failures and circumstances in life leap out of the pages to engulf me. My surrounding are unchanged but with every book a river of feelings flow, sometimes uphill and sometimes downhill. There are calm days while others are stormy and turbulent.

Am I the only one going through these turbulences?

Did any heart skip a beat when Mr Darcy appears before Lizzy at Pemberley when he is supposed to be in London? (Pride and Prejudice)

Did emotions change from pity to bitterness towards Heathcliff? (Wuthering Heights)

Was there sorrow and despair for Rhett Butler when Scarlett held him responsible for Bonnie’s death? (Gone With the Wind)

Did the eyes light up and the heart blush at Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne? (Persuasion)

Was there compassion for Kathy as she saw here father deteriorate with every passing day? (Inside the O’briens)

.  .  .

It is strange how stories and characters glide into our lives and take us on a new journey every time. They have the power to capture our emotions and make us one of them. To the people around us we are the same but the heart takes flight to unseen lands to live among foreign people with varied cultures and leaves us back home with myriad experiences to stay with us for a lifetime.

I am in the midst of one such adventure. I need to go face Jason now. There is a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach but the music has to be faced.

Keeping fingers crossed.

Not easy to be a parent in today’s world?

How easy is it to be a child in today’s world?

  • Why can I not stay up late like other children?
  • Why do I have to have meals at the table with you? What’s wrong in having meals while watching TV?
  • Why can I not do my homework in front of the TV?
  • Why can I not get a new phone? This is already a year old.
  • Why can you not buy me online ‘gems’ for my online game? My friend’s father just bought him a whole ‘bagful’.
  • Why don’t you buy me the latest gaming console like the ones all my friends have?
  • Why do I have to go visit relatives during holidays? Why can we not go on vacations abroad like my friends do?
  • Why can we not buy a bigger car? This is such an outdated one.
  • Why can we not order food more often? Homemade food is so boring.
  • Why is it important to go out and play? Am I not playing on my phone/tablet?
  • Why can Alexa not help me with my homework?
  • Why do you want me to read the book? May I not watch the movie instead?
  • Why don’t you also allow me to throw a sleepover party?
  • Why don’t you throw a theme based birthday party for me too? Don’t you love me?
  • Why can I not apply makeup like my friends?
  • Why do I have to be ‘smarter’ than my cousins?
  • Why do we live in a rented flat while all my friends have their own flats?

And we say it is not easy to be a parent in today’s world!

 

 

 

 

Not a Happy Coincidence

Could this be a coincidence? Do you believe in coincidences? I am not sure of myself but there was a book I read long back titled ‘The Celestine Prophecy‘ which said that coincidences happen for a reason. This is an excellent book which forces one to think and ponder. It stays with you. But more on the book sometime later.

On this Valentine’s Day one of the first WhatsApp messages that I received was related to cancer. It was a forward which said that cancer can be avoided by eliminating sugar from the diet because cancer cells feed on sugary substance. I don’t know how far this is correct but that is what the message said. Considering it as just another ‘forward’ I ignored the message. Can hardly devote all my attention to such forwards because everyone nowadays is an expert in every field.

Then, a couple of hours later an old colleague messaged that an erstwhile female teammate passed away. I could remember this lady by name but could not quite place her. After thinking for a while she came back crystal clear and ‘Oh my God! She was so young and dynamic.’ She had fallen prey to cancer, pancreatic cancer.

Cancer Ribbon

There is a school friend who has been very active on Instagram. It is a pleasure to see here vibrant pictures, her captivating smile and the energy seems to flow out of her photographs. Each picture of hers depicts positivity. Almost twenty days back she posted a picture of herself in hospital but again with the smile intact. Then there was a lull. No posts came from her account so I messaged her a couple of days later. Today her reply came and that was heartbreaking. She has been diagnosed with colon cancer and has had to undergo a surgery.

What do I make of this? Hope everything is going fine. I do not wish for coincidences of such nature. It’s Valentine’s Day today and hope there is love and happiness in everyone’s life.

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Why Did I Read the Introduction to this Book?

Why did I read the Introduction to this book? This is a question I have been asking myself endlessly ever since I started reading The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré.

The introduction to The Spy Who Came in from the Cold  has been written by William Boyd. I had recently read his Restless and found it to be an interesting and captivating read. This prompted me to go ahead and read the introduction he has provided to the John le Carré’s novel.

Going against my usual habit I decided to read the Introduction and that proved to be a big blunder on my part. No doubt this piece from Boyd is worth a read but not before you start the book. These seven pages of introduction gave me much more than just an idea of what I was to expect in the 256 page book. As a result, I did not get surprised where I should have jumped up. The turn of events seemed evident. The book, sadly, became predictable to me, in many ways.

Why do novels have introductions? Am I the only one wondering this? Introductions are meant to prepare us for what is to follow. Does a storyteller want its readers to be ‘prepared’ for the story? If it was so would not the writer himself write down an introduction to his own story?

Every story has ups and downs; it takes its reader on a roller coaster of emotions and experiences; it intends to surprise, startle, think and deduce. And all this is supposed to happen in the course of the journey through the pages. So then why present views and thoughts of someone else?

Reading an introduction to a book is, no doubt, completely at the discretion of the reader. However, I still wonder, what is the purpose of an introduction?

Anyway the damage has been done and I have learnt my lesson. Now introductions to books are not for me. I would rather take up a book from page 1 and take each page at a time. Every book is an adventure in itself and each page has something to offer. To experience the thrill and excitemnet at each step the mind must be a blank slate. So when it comes to a book, I prefer the path ahead to be dark and mysterious.

Hitchcock’s Young and Innocent

The views here are completely personal and not a film review.

Just finished watching Young and Innocent by Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Last time we sat down to watch the movie we got a sudden invite from a friend and we ended up playing UNO followed by some tea and later noodles and manchurian. And the day was over. We had lost an opportunity to watch a Hitchcock movie.

A week went by and this weekend finally presented favourable situations. Lunch was over on time and we had just enough time to watch this 80 minute movie. Expectations were high as this was a movie from a master storyteller. The plot was also very interesting. A man is falsely arrested for murder and he has to prove himself innocent. Fleeing from police custody he gets a ride from the police chief’s daughter who later helps him in his mission.

This was bound to be interesting but why did I not find it to be as engrossing and exciting as it was supposed to be? The movie has got good reviews with good ratings. (I did check up movie review websites after watching it) I feel there was something I failed to capture or comprehend. There surely was some lack of understanding from my end for not having enjoyed it as much as it should have been.

I found the movie to have strange co-incidences as well as some unexplained ends.

  • A woman is strangled to death by the belt of a raincoat. When the body is washed ashore the belt too comes along. The belt happens to belong to the man who first, by chance, notices the body on the shore.
  • The man is seen running away from the body by two ladies from a distance but they are able to clearly recognise him. Since the belt belonged to him he is pronounced ‘accused’.
  • The belt was a part of a raincoat that the ‘accused’ has lost some time back. Why was his raincoat stolen in particular?
  • The accused managed to escape from the police and lands up getting a ride in the car of the police chief’s daughter. Gradually she believes in his innocence and decides to help him.
  • A tramp too, for no apparent reason, decided to help the ‘accused’ identify the person who handed him the raincoat.

I found the final moments of the film to be a too hurried too. Suddenly the murder is identified, he confesses to his crime and the accused is pronounced innocent.

However, these are my personal views on the film and views vary from person to person. You can click on the image below to get a copy for yourself to form your own opinion.

If you are a Hitchcock fan you should anyway watch the movie. All works of art need an audience and due consideration. And this being a Hitchcock sure needs attention.


Young and Innocent was released in November 1937. This crime thriller is based on Josephine Tey’s novel A Shilling for Candles. The film runs for 80 minutes and stars Nova Pilbeam and Derrik De Marney. It has been directed by Sir Alfred Hitchcock.