And then there were none

Novel Title – And then there were none
Author – Agatha Christie
Genre – Thriller/Suspense/Mystery
Year of Publication – 1939

The 2015 BBC mini series is official adaptation of Agatha Chrtistie's novel

The 2015 BBC mini series is official adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel

And then there were none is the most popular suspense novel which has never been out of print since its release in 1939. Originally titled as ‘Ten Little Niggers’, this masterpiece novel was adapted countless times by Hollywood. Agatha Christie’s writing is very tricky which unfolds a new secret in every word and paragraph. If you plainly read the lines, you won’t understand the premise of the novel. Though this novel may be old fashioned compared to present times, but Agatha Christie was away ahead of time in terms of storytelling. The popular TV show – Big Boss seems to be heavily inspired by the premise of this novel where a certain number of celebrities are invited to participate in a reality show. Slowly as the time progresses, the members start showing their actual nature.

Still from the BBC mini series - And then there were none

Still from the BBC mini series – And then there were none

Agatha Christie’s novel brings a group of 10 people from different walks of life, each one unknown to each person. They are invited to an isolated island named ‘Soldier’s Island’ by a mysterious person known as U.N.Owens. To their surprise, they discover that their host is not present on this occasion. But the plot takes a shocking twist when a voice from a gramophone discloses the crime committed by the 10 people present on the island. This leaves all the 10 people baffled and shocked. Cut from the civilization, they have no other way but to stay on the island. Suddenly one of the guests – Anthony Marston gets killed due to choking. Now all the nine guests are surprised by this sudden death of their member. As the story progresses, one by one, each person is brutally murdered on the island and now it is up to the remaining survivors to trace out the killer on the island or figure out who is the actual killer among them.

This novel by Agatha Christie is hailed as one of the best mysterious novels of her career and is even read by millions of readers worldwide. A game changer in world of suspense novels, ‘And then there were none’ boasts of a gripping storyline about 10 strangers who are trapped in a mysterious island and how they fall prey to the psychopath killer who is mingling among them, playing mind games with his victims. Unlike other books, it is not an easy read. To stay gripped to the storyline, you have to read each and every word in the novel which gives a clue on the forthcoming events unfolding in the book. I was baffled every time when I tried to guess the real killer in the book and was more baffled when that suspect got killed in the novel. Highly engrossing from page 1 till the climax, ‘And then there were none’ is an unconventional thriller that will keep you thinking about the plot even after the completion of the book.

Novel cover of Agatha Christie Book

Novel cover of Agatha Christie Book

Though many motion pictures were inspired by the storyline of this novel, but none of them promised to bring the fear that Agatha brought in her novel. The highest and surprising point of this novel its twisting, scary climax that will leave you puzzled.

Pradyumna – Son of Krishna

Book Title – Pradyumna: Son of Krishna
Genre – Mythology/Fantasy/Adventure
Publishers – Penguin Metro Reads
Author – Usha Narayanan

pradyumna

Sages, poets, writers have praised a lot about Arjuna, Krishna, Ram, Karna and Abhimanyu through their scriptures, poems and stories. Later these writing materials were passed on from generation to generation. Our childhood was fantasized by stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata. We knew about the mighty bheema and powerful Hanuman, but hardly heard about Pradyumna. Even in Indian scriptures, very less is written about the glory of Pradyumna. So who was Pradyumna?

Penguin Metro reads has come up with an interesting mythological novel – Pradyumna: Son of Krishna written by author Usha Narayanan. An intoxicated asura prince named Vama visualizes a deva being getting burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva. He is even mocked by a fiery rishi in his dreams. The lusty prince Vama discovers that he is actually Kama deva – The God of love and passion who was reduced to ashes by the fire emitted from the third eye of Lord Shiva. Rati, wife of the slain Kamadeva undergoes hard meditation to restore her love back to life. On blessings of Lord Shiva, Kamadeva reincarnates as Pradyumna, the son of Lord Krishna and Rukmini.

But a demon Kaalasura abducts the infant Pradyumna to seek a revenge on Lord Krishna. After realizing that he is actually Kamadeva reborn as son of Lord Krishna, Vama embarks on a journey to vanquish the cruel demon Kaalasura and reunite with his parents. But Vama has to face several heart breaking defeats from Kaalasura before he could actually slay the demon. How Vama transforms himself into a courageous warrior is best to be read in the novel ‘Praydumna- son of Krishna written by Usha Narayanan.

This mythological novel is full of action packed sequences which will thrill you from start to finish. The role of Lord Garuda in helping Pradyumna win the war is the most exciting segment in the novel. The novel is filled with lot of back stories – origin of Kamadeva, Parshuram’s vengeance on Kshatriyas, curse of Brahma and the real reason behind Abhimanyu’s death. Several Gods and Goddesses play a prominent role in helping Pradyumna slay several demons. But the powerful enemy of Pradyumna is none other than Samba, his own brother who is envious of Pradyumna’s valor and will go to any extent to vanquish him.

According to Narada’s prophecy, one of Lord Krishna’ son will bring an end to Yadu clan. Will Narada’s prophecy turn true? Who will be the destroyer of Lord Krishna’s glory? Is it Pradyumna or Samba? To know more, you have to read Pradyumna – son of Krishna.

A sequel to this book is soon to hit the bookstores this July. I highly recommend this book to the readers who have penchant for fantasy and mythological novels. If you loved reading Shiva Trilogy, then you will definitely like Pradyumna.

Will we know the real story behind the biopic movies?

Biopic seems to the new successful formula to guarantee a hit for Bollywood filmmakers. Just pick any real incident from history and turn it to a motion picture to let the world know the story. The new motion picture – Sarbjit is an emotional journey of a sister to free her brother who was accused of being a terrorist.

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Inspired by the real life story of Sarabjit Singh, the movie highlights the pain Sarbjit underwent in jail and how his sister Dalbir Kaur begged for justice for 23 years. Sadly, Sarbjit was killed in the jail and the struggle of his sister went unnoticed. The team involved in making this movie will earn lots of profits, awards and appreciation but the true story will get lost somewhere in pages of history. Later no one will be bothered to know who really Sarbjit was. Even the movie ‘Ek ThaTiger’ was loosely inspired by life of late Raw agent Ravindra Kaushik who was known as ‘Tiger’ in world of espionage.

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No one knew about air hostess Neerja Bhanot who sacrificed her life, taking the bullets which were aimed at three children. After the release of movie – Neerja, everyone was keen to know who really Neerja was. For movie audience, it was just a biopic on a slain air hostess, but for the family of Neerja, it was a tragic loss than cannot be compensated even with money. I really liked the biopic on Neerja Bhanot and had written two articles in memory of her sacrifice at such a young age.

The 2011 movie – The dirty picture was loosely based on Silk Smita, the sex siren of South Indian movies. Vidya Balan portrayed the role of a struggling actress who rises to become the overnight star of soft porn South Indian movies. Dirty picture showcased the dirty face of cinema and compromise that actresses make to gain success and how they fall victim to stardom and money. Though world may label them as slut starlets, but the actresses are after all human who crave for success, fame and wealthy gains. We as audience see the bright lights and cameras surrounding the actresses, but don’t notice the dark story behind their struggle which is full of tears, pain and compromise.

Hollywood recently came up with a biopic – The man who knew infinity which was based on Ramanujan, the great Indian mathematician whose brilliance even won the hearts of people in foreign nations. Ironically, audiences were more interested in watching the biopic ‘Azhar’. It is sad to know that the inspiring story of Srinivas Ramanujan is lost in pages of history while people fantasize to watch biopics on gangsters, match-fixing cricketers and sexy sirens.

Among the movies inspired by real life, ‘A beautiful mind’ is one of the best realistic movies showcasing the life of John Forbes Nash Jr who won Nobel Prize for his equilibrium theory. People knew him as a recognized professor in economics, but no one knew the pain he underwent while suffering from schizophrenia – a mental disorder. He emerged from the metal disorder later to bag the Nobel Prize.

jobs

The recent movie ‘Steve Jobs’ based on Jobs was a stunning tribute to the great genius who changed the face of technology through his hard work, dedication and knowledge. I really wonder why this movie wasn’t released in India. For the world, Steve Jobs was an innovator, but for his friends and family, Steve was a stone-hearted, mood-shifting psychotic person who would break relationships for no reasons. At one point, Steve Jobs even abandoned his own daughter. Whatever personally he was, but the world will always know him as the genius who faced countless obstacles to make Apple a global success in world of technology.

When it comes to biopic, Hollywood has told great stories of Charles Ray, Lincoln, Erin Brokovich, Howard Hughes (Aviator), Stephen Hawking (The theory of everything), Frida, Bruce Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee story), Chaplin, Muhammad Ali and Gandhi. Even Bollywood has come up with biopics on Bhagat Singh, Milkha Singh; Mary Kom, Neerja Bhanot, Paan Singh Tomar and Painter Raja Ravi Verma.

The biopics are a fine blend of reality and fiction which come together to tell a memorable story of a personality or an incident connected to it. Some people applaud the story while some forget. Hope someday Hollywood comes up with a biopic on George Mallory, the mountaineer who lost his life while climbing Mount Everest. According to sources and reports, George Mallory was the first person to reach Mount Everest. Will the world ever know the story of George Mallory? Only time will tell the story to the world someday in form of a movie.

If God was your friend on social network

What If God was on FB, Twitter and Instagram? What would you be your reaction if he accepted your friend request? Life will be easy for you to get your wishes fulfilled without standing in queue at temples. But will God fulfill all your wishes without testing your devotion? Let’s see if God can solve all your queries in a easy way.

In olden times, sages meditated for thousand years to seek a boon from their god. But now when you have God as your friend on FB, your prayers will be answered instantly. Every now and then I see people lining up at temples to offer their prayers to God with a hope to gain some materialistic things in life. The prayers sent from our heart connect with God sooner or later. Since God has so many devotees to bless, our wishes get delayed sometimes. Human being is an impatient species whose desires are endless. The moment he realizes that his prayers are not answered, he starts blaming luck and God for it. Even I get angry on God sometimes.

Now that God has realized that he must find out some way to make life easy, he will create a verified account on FB, Twitter and Instagram. All thanks to Mark Zuckerberg 🙂 Since God is active on FB, the friend list of his devotees will go to zillion. Every second, a new devotee will send a friend request to God with a hope to get his prayers answered. God’s FB messages would be filled with complaints, requests and melodramatic queries (job, marriage, business, a sweet girlfriend or even becoming immortal). The other advantage of God’s online presence would be the end of flourishing business of Godmen and astrologers who keep misleading people with their false predictions and advice.

God would fulfill the wish of every devotee at the click of mouse. The most joyful part of God’s participation in social networking would be receiving weird Candy Crush requests from devotees all over the world. Especially on his birthday, he would be receiving a millions of birthday wishes minus the offerings. The most herculean task for God would be to fulfill a boon in form of a miracle of his countless devotees active on FB, Twitter and Instagram. His updates on miracle would get millions of likes and followers on FB and Twitter.

But in this process, God will realize that somewhere he has lost his significance by making himself available easily on social networks. He will notice that people on earth have stopped struggling, lost the value of emotions and have turned more impatient than earlier. The next day all the devotees will be shocked to discover that God has deactivated all his social network accounts and is no more available online. Now it is time to rebound for human beings.

I had seen the Jim Carrey movie – Bruce Almighty long back and found it interesting to see if a mortal person would have got the divine powers to become god and fulfill all the requests. Being a human is easy, but performing role of God is really herculean and out of our capabilities.

God listens to all our prayers calmly and even fulfills it quickly. But we human beings are so impatient in desires that we don’t notice the miracles happening around us – the gush of life giving air, the cool shower of rains and the beating of heart that keeps us going. God doesn’t need a social network to fulfill our prayers.
The whole world is a social network for him and the people in this world his followers. Just remember God from the bottom of your heart and it won’t take a second to witness a miracle in your life.

With God, everything’s possible. Through this article, I wanted to convey a message that no matter how heart breaking struggles may be, our steps to temple always find a way to him. We will lose the significance of struggle if we don’t stand in queue for tireless hours to get his glimpse.

I hope God will read this article once I publish it on wordpress. Maybe, he will definitely join us on social network someday to answer our prayers a little instantly. After all, it is the Instagram age 

Is Indian Mythology an inspiration for Hollywood?

Valmiki’s Ramayana is unarguably the epic poem more popular than Homer’s Illiad. The Indian scriptures like Mahabharata, Garuda Puran, Shiva Puran, and Vishnu Puran are filled with so many inspiring stories of heroes like Krishna, Nandi, Kartikeya, Pradyumna, Bhima, Arjuna that even one lifetime will not be enough to complete reading it. If the pages of Greek mythology are filled with glories of Zeus, Thor, Hercules and Achilles, then our Indian mythology has uplifting stories of Lord Hanumana lifting a mountain on his hand to rescue Rama’s brother Lakshmana.

avatar movie

The 2009 motion picture – Avatar directed by James Cameron is highly influenced by Indian Mythology. The word ‘Avatar’ is of Hindu origin where Gods had to incarnate on earth in various forms to fight demons and vanquish evil. The Indian scriptures were a helpful inspiration for Cameron to pen down the script of Avatar. Even the character of movie Avatar is inspired by Lord Vishnu and Shiva. The avatar program in the movie is a high tech form of the mythological concept ‘Avatar’.The movie was not only a successful Sci-fi movie on box-office, but also a topic to discuss and research whether it is possible to create such humanoids in near future.

matrix

The Hollywood movie – Matrix starring Keanu Reeves was based on concept of Maya (illusion). The Indian Gods had the divine power to create ‘Maya’ – an illusion to lure away the demons. According to Indian scriptures, this whole world is an illusion. When Keanu Reeves gets shot down by Agent Smith in Matrix, he assumes it to be real and dies. But later he regains consciousness only to realize that the entire matrix system is an illusion. This Maya concept was beautifully presented in movie ‘Matrix’ where the illusionary world is more real than the actual world.

The term ‘Mutant’ became popular through movie X-Men. But is this theory new to the world or did it exist even in Indian mythology. The mythological heroes like Nandi, Narsimha, Garuda, Hanuman, and Varaha possessed super human powers to outwit their foes. Their forms were intriguing so were their powers. So does the concept of mutants’ dates back to mythological times? Did the X-men or mutants exist even in times of Tretayuga and Dwaparyuga? The reality is yet to be unraveled.

X-Men-Movie-Retrospective-2000-2014

Wright Brothers were the first inventors of airplane and had successfully flown the first plane on December 17, 1903. But there was an Indian who actually invented and flown a plane in 1895. The inventor was Shivkar Bapuji Talpade. The concept of airplane or flying machine is originated from Pushpak Vimana. The flying chariots shown in fantasy movies are the evidence that flying machines did exist in Mythological times. Even the flying hero ‘Superman’ or man of steel is highly inspired by the mythical gods – Hanumana, Garuda who had super human power to fly in the sky. Even one of the mutants in X-men is modeled on ‘Garuda’.

The 2011 superhero movie – Thor was highly inspired by mythology where Thor forgets his power due to his arrogance. It was bit similar to the Ramayana’s hero ‘Hanumana’ who forgot his power due to curse and realized his power when Jambavan gave him the knowledge of his super powers.

Brad Pitt as Achilles in movie Troy

Brad Pitt as Achilles in movie Troy

The Hollywood movie – Troy which was based on Homer’s Illiad had Brad Pitt playing the role of brave warrior Achilles. Achilles was bathed in divine waters by his mother to make him immortal but his heel was left untouched by the divine water. In the Trojan War, it was the heel that claimed the life of Achilles. Even in Mahabharata, Duryodhana the kuru prince had gained immortality due to the powerful rays emitted from the eyes of his mother Gandhari. But his covered thighs left untouched by divine rays. Bhima killed the cruel Duryodhana by breaking his thighs with mace. Isn’t it a striking coincidence that two epic characters from different worlds met with same fate! As Draupadi’s mock on Duryodhana triggered the war between pandavas and kauravas, Helen’s affair with Paris gave birth to Trojan War.

There are lots of stories in mythology which are still unknown to people and with time, every story will unfold slowly to the world and no wonder Hollywood will be the first to present the story to movie viewers.

Why Classics still connect with readers?

‘Some books are so familiar, reading them is like being home again’ – Louisa May Alcott

little women

Even after several years of publication, these lines from novel – Little Women are still etched in memories of readers. Not just the story-line, even the dialogues and characters stay memorable. From Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, every character in the classic novel has become an iconic figure in world of literature. But today’s books lack that punch to connect with readers. Today’s contemporary authors either write about their personal love experiences or pen down youthful books on BPO’s and call centers. Such books are purchased only to kill time. People read and forget such stuff. Whenever I visit a bookstore, I only find novels on teenage love stories and breakups or some racy thriller novels filled with mythology and ancient secrets as backdrop. These books are definitely entertaining, but fail to find a place in heart of readers. Mark Twain’s classic novel – Adventures of Tom Sawyer was the first book that inspired me to become a writer. What a wonderful book!! The classic novels had a touch of joy, compassion, humor and nostalgia to it. When I read Tom Sawyer, David Copperfield or Captains Courageous, I could relate to it. If Tom Sawyer was written for kids, then Shakespeare’s Romeo-Juliet was a sweeping tragic romance that set a new milestone in world of theater and literature.

huck finn

‘I never seen such a beauty till this night’ – Lines from William Shakespeare’s masterpiece ‘Romeo-Juliet’

Every time I read Romeo & Juliet, I cannot stop myself falling in love with Juliet. Such was the power in story-line and characters created by Shakespeare. If Mark Twain made me smile, Dickens taught me the seriousness of life through his novels – Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and David Copperfield. I really cringe when I see people reading romantic novels filled with erotic scenes. In name of romance, cheap authors are selling porn literature to boost the sales of their books. People should definitely romantic books that have touch of emotions and tenderness to it. Among all the novels, ‘Wuthering heights’ by Emile Bronte is one of the intense love stories that will inspire you to fall in love. The classics had a story for everyone – Little Women for siblings, 20 thousand leagues under the sea for adventure lovers and Jungle Book for kids.

The recently released animated movie – Jungle Book is proof that people loved it to their heart and enjoyed it with their family. Though I am not a very speedy reader, but I had managed to complete reading ‘Little Women’ in flat 2 hours while traveling.
You enjoy reading the books to the fullest when you are on holiday or when you are sick. I have read most of books when I was sick and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen was one of them.

With times, even the trends of writing change. Books are written by keeping the current trend in mind. But even today, people still flock to get a copy of Tom Sawyer and Othello.

In memories, love lives forever

A 100 year old woman’s memories are revived when she sees a documentary on Titanic. The titanic survivor describes her memories on boarding Titanic, meeting Jack Dawson and witnessing the biggest maritime disaster happened in 1912. Jack drowns in sea while rescuing Rose but his memories are still fresh in heart of 100 years old who is actually Rose Bukater. Titanic’s epic love story is still fresh in memories of every movie viewer. Even though Rose didn’t have photo of Jack, his memories were still alive in her heart. Without memories, life is nothing. This article was in my mind for past 2 months but it was not coming on paper unless I remembered someone close to my heart.

Our memory is only the place where our love is safe, untouched by hate, misunderstandings and ego. The photograph of our love mate has found a place in memory of our mobile phone which we gaze every time for unknown reasons. After all, love has reasons which reason cannot understand. With times, way of remembering love has also enhanced. We now call it digital memories. Whether we store the picture of our beloved in our wallet or in mobile handset, our main purpose is always cherishing the best times we spent.

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Irrespective of our heart breaking troubles, responsibilities, failure and melancholy, we take a time out to go down the memory lane where we aspired for a beautiful future with our loved ones. But nature isn’t always in favor of our desires. Hopes shatter, ego arise, love disconnects and what left later is just loneliness. Time does give us courage to arise from our lonely disappointments and we march on to achieve everything that we aspired for. But in the midst of struggle, the best times and the best person is left behind. No matter even if you have a caring life partner and lovely kids, you will always miss the presence of your love with whom you vowed to stayed together till the last breath. Wish if we could have a time machine to go behind the time and connect with our loved ones, the first thing we would have done is to make the time stand still. But objects like time machine are only fantasy we find in books.

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Some lovers are so intense that they stay with their partner even after their death. Author Cecila Ahern’s novel – P.S I love you is about the story of Garry and Holly. Holly’s is left lonely after the demise of her loving husband Garry due to tumor. But before dying, Garry leaves 10 letters addressed to Holly during his last months. Each letter is written to Holly encouraging her to start a new career, find a new partner and settle down in her life. The letters infuse a new hope in Holly to start up a new life full of hope. What an extraordinary love. Even after his death, Garry lives with his wife through the letters he had specially written for her. The loving memories of our loved ones always give us a miraculous strength to face the adversities of life lonely.

In the midst of achieving our goals, we lose out on most precious thing – the affectionate presence of our love whose memories gave us encouragement to succeed in life and helped us become a better person. The relationship established with touch of compassion and commonness lasts long while other relationships like wife, kids, uncle, aunty etc are only for name sake. There may come a time when you will be left alone with no one for company and this is where the memories of your smiling love will give you strength to go on.

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The idea for writing this article came from the novel – Message in a bottle written by Nicholas Sparks. Everyone is not lucky in matters of love. Some succeed; some live their life remembering their loved ones.

I hope that after reading this article, you will definitely recall your tender memories or call back that person to say ‘I am always there for you’.