Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Genius named Agatha Christie

What Longinus said eons ago is after all true. Often 'tis much later that the true realization about a story strikes home. Though one has been badgered by theory, a really analytical, perspicacious understanding of a book has happened only now.
Agatha Christie always meant a truly gripping story which can't be put down till one reaches the final full stop. many a time one has wondered open-mouthed at the sheer brilliance with which the dame arranges the plot, the crime, the way Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot reaches the conclusions. recent reading of two her her murder mysteries -- The Murder on the Orient Express and The ABC Murders -- opened one's eyes to the subtle social criticism enmeshed in an intriguing plot. this particular social critique pertains to a certain sense of xenophobia that the English harbour. This is particularly felt in The Murder on the Orient Express where the train presents a host of people of different nationalities. The English characters seem to be apprehensive about the Americans and vice versa, almost bordering on mutual dislike. also, there is a mild satire on strong beliefs in stereotypes -- as in when Poirot's friend is quite certain that it is the Italian passenger who committed the muder 'coz only Italians stab ! However, as is usual with Christie, the story takes a rather unpredictable turn, which only Poirot could have guessed !
This xenophobia is more manifest in The ABC Murders, wherein the killer openly states his dislike for the Belgian Poirot. However, the plot is more gruesome given the fact that the crime was prompted by personal grudge. Again, true to her style, Christie works up a series of murders, alibis and an almost graphical representation of how Poirot thinks up his unmatchably brilliant conclusions.
Self also happened upon two non-crime fiction by Christie -- The Harlequin Tea set and Other Stories & The Rose and the Yew Tree. the former is an excellent collection of short stories with the characteristic unpredictability and as unputdownable as the crime mysteries, and proves that 'tis not crime alone that can thrill the reader. If the short stories were supremely interesting, the latter one is a romance which is not all that great an entertainment. Self picked up the book sans perusing the blurb and thought 'tis gonna be another thriller. At every turn of page self kept thinking somebody will get murdered now, but was sorely disappointed to know that the story is all about a wounded soldier who falls in and out of love, and always finds himself in company of either too fussy or too calm women. There is a death of course, but there is no wild guesses to be made, in other words, no unpredictability: the lady merely puts herself in front of bullets to save her lover. No wonder Christie wrote it as Mary Westmacott; most people won't expect that story from the name Agatha Christie. Now, that is one stereotype nobody would want to break !
Well, such analysis of Christie's cultural perception might be stale; self understood it only now though. So time for yet another mystery . . . here self goes . . . .

** coming up next -- two books that assure one that being single is not such a bad idea :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Self-appraisal for self-assurance

In life, there will be many occasions when one is faced with the prospect of crossroads and then one wonders as to which direction to choose. Because the direction touted by practicality, common sense, will not be the one the heart wants. That is when one most needs a strong punch of reassurance. Choices, decisions are never easy to make; because every choice/decision will have some consequences which could be both beneficial or otherwise. But when the choice/decision is finally made, one need to stick to it and never try to apportion blame to others.
I took a decision, on what some might have called a turning point in life, and chose to listen to my heart. 9 out of 10 people would judge my decision as the worst, especially given the circumstances. It could lead to disastrous results, but there is an equal chance that it could turn out well for me, don't know . . . . So, the fact remains that i chose and i firmly stand by it. If anything goes wrong, i'm solely to blame, and no one else, and i'm extremely sorry for having caused even the smallest bit of pain to those close to me.
I want certain things in my life, but there are no neon signs to indicate whether those things will be good or not. But i'm certain it is not atyagraham or ahangaram. Still, the uncontrollable mind desires and imagines as if constant mental visualizations would make things real.
As the saying goes in Hindi ... sabr ka fal meetha hota hai and i wait and i wait. . . . and there is strange sort of calmness in me
After all, there is One up above Who is witness to all this, and Who definitely knows how things will turn . . . . So dekhte hain kya hota hai . . . .