Friday, 11 May 2018

The Clockmaker by Ceri Williams and Drew Neary - Book Review



Very Good (****)

Received "The Clockmaker" as part of an eARC a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This book is a fabulous mix of many genres as the story has so many things going on. There's a bit of magic/supernatural, there's some sci-fi elements, history; we could even call it a thriller/ horror fiction. The story is about a little child, Duncan and his mother, Annette, who are moving to his father's ancestral place in Scotland, where they plan to start a lodging service. Duncan's father died in WW2 and the story is interspersed with soft, loving memories of the man. On their way to Scotland they meet a man whom they later find in their own village as a guest in their lodge. Who is this mystery man and does he have any role in the many strange things happening in this little Scottish village? The answer to these questions is what this book is about. 
The book is a complete page turner and you won't be able to keep it down, once you have picked it up. The story flows beautifully from one view point into another. While there definitely are some loops left opened at the end of the story, I believe the closure to these would be attained in the sequel (really looking forward to it!). Overall, a great read! 
The book is a complete page turner and you won't be able to keep it down, once you have picked it up. The story flows beautifully from one view point into another. While there definitely are some loops left opened at the end of the story, I believe the closure to these would be attained in the sequel (really looking forward to it!). Overall, a great read! 

#TheClockmaker #NetGalley #CeriWilliams#DrewNeary #TroubadorPublishing


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Dream: 7th March


I had two dreams. The first one before 3.30 am, which is when I woke up for a bit, changed beds, tried to recall the dream, and slept. The second dream was in this second half of my sleep. I woke up at 7 and tried hard to recall the first dream but could not. In fact, now I hardly remember the 2nd dream too. I mean.. it’s late at night and am probably just a few hours away from my next dream … so anyway.
My dream begins at the office, don’t remember much of it. But, then I am leaving work with some walking ahead of me – one of which is Dr. S. I don’t want to be just behind her and so I turn left from a certain point in our corridor (from where we usually turn right). Walking alongside me is Dr. T. We leave the office from the main gate and we are standing there. It’s still day. I mean it’s not dark. It’s like afternoon. So, we are standing there at the gate and I guess someone’s child is left behind and I am bending down talking to it. And suddenly, something happens- I remembered it in the morning, I don’t remember it now. And Dr. T is replaced by someone else and we are lifted into a hot air balloon- from bada room in my Port Blair home. There we float around for a while and try to come down. It’s kind of like a captive situation. But, I muse that the balloon/parachute will collapse if we do something- don’t remember what. Then, anyway … something happens and we fall down. And we notice that we have fallen down on water flowing through the streets- coz ‘something has happened- like a flood- or a war- I don’t know- and the streets are of India! And we are sooo happy that of all the places we could fall on, we have fallen in India. (As if we were not on a hot air balloon, but a spaceship *rolling*eyes*!) And then we know that the movie is over. Yes, suddenly I was part of a film inside a dream, and the part of me which is not in the film thinks that okay this is where the film ends.

After that too I had some dream I guess but I remember nothing of it except that  I am thinking that if someone asks me why did I move from Amar Colony even though I was always so much praise about it, I would answer that now I could afford something better- maybe I will shift to Kailash Colony. I recall no visuals related to this thought. Maybe it was not a dream at all. Maybe it was just a sleeping thought.

Do we think while sleeping?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Dream: 6th March 2018

I had a most amusing dream last night. The first part is where I get a cat- a kitten, to be precise. A teeny weeny kitten- probably sick, I do not quite remember. Then mummy, abbu and me (the dream is set in Port Blair), go out somewhere in our Ambassador. I think I am sitting in the front seat and the kitty is quite comfortably sitting at the window (Closed) at one of the back seats. Then we stop somewhere and we are all worried coz the moment someone would open the door to come out, the kitty would also jump out and run away, and we definitely didn’t want that. It was far away from where we found her and if she ran away, she would be lost in an unknown place. Somehow I managed to step out of the car, but the moment mummy came out, the kitty jumped out too and I had to run to catch her and put her back in the car telling her softly that she would get lost. Now, all this was perfectly fine as I have been thinking  a lot about getting a cat and how I will need to take care of her so that she doesn’t go missing. In fact, only yesterday I had a mini-argument with H about getting a lovely baby named Bobo. (He doesn’t want a cat). 

But, what happened afterwards in my dream was the really funny part. So, here we were in the outskirts of Port Blair, on a family outing, with a tiny kitty, and abbu comes up to me and asks, ‘What are the vaccines that are to be given at 1 and a half years of age?’ And I turn to look and wow! All of a sudden, there is a health centre before me and I peep in to see that someone has come to get vaccinated- it is a 13-14 year old boy who says that he is there to get the ‘dedh saal ka teeka’. So, leaving my mummy to wait in the car, I quickly look up on the internet about the vaccines that are to be given at 1.5 years, as the only ones I remember then are DPT-OPV Booster. The fact that the internet actually responded in Port Blair, on a mobile, should be a joke in itself! But, anyway…The internet proudly came up with Rotavirus vaccine (And that, outside the dreamworld, is wrong)! So, I tell the sisters to give rota as well. Then, for some fabulous reason, I put on the hat of my previous-immunization-supervisor-avtar and ask them to show me the vaccine. They pull out this strange looking bottle from somewhere. Not a vial, a big fucking bottle! Which is half filled with some liquid! And has a violet rimmed cap (probably the VVM)! And I, like a good ex-state manager, start asking them about from where they got it, how long ago, and why were things so unclean. I start taking pictures and in my mind (i.e. in my mind within the dream) I think that I shall share these pics with my ITSU colleagues to show them the sad state of affairs. Then I ask them to show me their ILR. The CCH (I presume he was the CCH, coz I am so sexist!) fumbles for an answer and points towards a box stating that he just took it out from there. Now, I am a firm supervisor so I don’t get carried away by excuses! I ask him in a loud and firm voice to SHOW ME THEIR ILR. And again they just keep looking around and I tell them that without an ILR and a DF, it cannot even BE a Cold Chain Point! Then they all chime together--- “Ohh!! THAT we anyway are not!” And I’m like, okkkaaayy…. And the sisters seem to be very happy and say, “Oh madam! That is why you were confused, you thought we are a CCP!” 

 Then I woke up. 

 Well,that guy was not a cold chain handler after all!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Just another day in just another year

Novelty matters when it happens once in a while. A new dress, a new cuisine- the charm in their 'newness' would disappear if one were to get a 'new dress' every week, or try an exotic dish every next day. And that is why 'New Years' don't seem to hold as much charm as they did once. The very fast pace of our lives gobbles down 365 days in a jiffy, making us wonder if it really takes a whole year to reach the next year.

We are already into a fortnight of 2018. Everything is as it was. Nothing seems to have changed. I am as confused as ever. H is out walking coz he is getting tired of staying indoors. He's been here for almost ten days now.

I was thinking about my blog today and of the first time I made an entry here. It was at the internet cafe near TDMC. It feels as if millions of years have passed between then and now. 
Time is amusing.

A decade feels like a lifetime. A year feels like a week. Yet the most elusive is a moment..every moment. And how we feel about our decades and weeks is based on how we had felt for those moments ... those moments that made up our decade... our year...

I want to sleep. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Memories of a life: Fireworks!

It is hard to believe that twenty years have passed since that beautiful evening which makes one of my richest memories. It is also hard to believe that I have changed so much from my almost-ten-year-old version.
It was the evening of 15th Aug 1997- India was celebrating 50 years of Independence- Golden Jubilee of Freedom for the Golden Bird. Port Blair, my little hometown, far away from the hustle and bustle of mainland India, was very different from what it is today. There were fewer people, fewer buildings, fewer shops, fewer cars, and a lot more rain. I remember being torn between watching “Gandhi” on television and watching celebratory fireworks by the Defence near the seafront. After much prodding by my mother, I chose the latter. Wearing a pretty peach frock I rode behind my Abbu on his old scooter, the two minute distance to the ‘Hospital Road’- from where we could see a snapshot of my whole world… well, at least my most favourite spots in this world. To our right we could see Aberdeen Bazaar commencing and just round the corner from there is my home. To our front was Gymkhana ground. To our left- our beautiful Andaman Sea with the Ross floating on it- as our friend, our neighbour, and as were to realize after the 2004 Tsunami, also our guardian.
That night, as on all important nights, Ross was splendidly decked with lights. Naval ships too lit up the dark sea with their decorative lights. Soon the sun would set, there’d be a black out- and in the pitch darkness would begin the fireworks for which I was waiting impatiently.
Pumped up with patriotism, we were soon staring wide eyed at the night sky adorned with flickering lights of all colours, in all shapes, making patterns from this world and beyond. If this man made beauty was falling short in any way, divinity intervened and blessed us with a rain that drenched us to the bone. And that- THAT vision of fireworks rising up to meet the night sky and the night sky pouring down its love as rain to  meet us on the ground, as man and nature joined hands to celebrate “India”- remains one of my most vivid, most spectacular and most favourite memories. Few things can compare to what I felt then- there on the road to the Hospital, with my Abbu, next to his old scooter, soaked in skin-ripping rain.
Both India and I have changed so much in the past 20 years. I have gone through both enchantment as well as disenchantment with Nationalism- India too should have, by now… I hope!
What remains is a memory of celebrating freedom- beautiful, plain, simple ‘Freedom’ in the very land where some forefather, long long ago, had lost his.

That pride, that happiness, that love- how I miss it! How terribly I miss it!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Nights such as these...



Sometimes,
On nights such as these,
When the heart is as careworn
As it is carefree,
I sit down to think
Of you.

 I then
Let my mind run free,
While it delves into demons
That recklessly build
A life that is not
With you.

 Who would
Ever, So love me,
Guide the rest of my life and
Be able to fill
The holes left gaping
By you.

 I would
Trade my soul with it
That would carry me to you,
And seal up my being
Until forever
In you.

 None know
What soulmates we’ve been.
No death could part us, And in
All new lives we’ll live
Am always coming
To you.

 Sometimes,
On nights such as these……  

~Almas Kiran Shamim

Monday, 27 March 2017

Taliban



An iconic picture this one is…. Has always reminded us of how dangerous extremism could be. How perfectly normal lives could turn upside down, without their choice, without their consent. At some point, this picture must have made quite a many atheists- what with a so-assumed ‘SkyGod’ demanding control over women’s bodies, attire, whole lives! Unfortunately for them, as it stands today, there appears no requirement of such a role- that of a SkyGod- for History to repeat and for the same situation to occur elsewhere, all in the name of an international border- as man-made as this laptop on which I am typing my head out.  

It is saddening to see the same picture which only years ago represented the nostalgia of a war-torn-brought-down-to-shambles neighbour, now be used to represent the India of today, used to represent, in an ever so subtle way, our future.

I remember, as a school kid, I maintained a notebook where I noted down new words and phrases that I read- their meanings- and sometimes also sentences, showing the usage of the words. I also remember learning the meaning of ‘Impending Doom’ and noting it down in my notebook.
This picture, today, ceases to speak a tale of Afghan misery…. It now reeks of India’s ‘impending doom’.

Meanwhile, I ate Chicken Manchurian today.

Considering India’s current situation, who needs to go all the way to Spain? A trip to Kerala and a sumptuous dose of porotta and beef curry should be daring enough!! Taste it while it lasts...

Now, am a veggie lover all the way, but given that India is anyway going down the Afghan path (of Talibanization), we never know kya kya band ho jaaye. Kal thha beef, aaj hai buffalo aur kal kya hoga...chicken?? Andaaaa???? Pura mulk Saravana Bhavan??

Isliye, Happy Chicken Manchurian for today.....


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