The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – by Mark Haddon

Modern First Editions  A - L : Gale - Hyland : The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time

A 15 year old autistic boy investigating the murder of a dog!

That didn’t sound too promising to me at first glance.

But Christopher, our protagonist, wants to write about something “real” as he cannot lie.

And he cares about the dogs!

So, even though his teacher Siobhan tries to discourage him, Christopher decides to write about his investigations into the death of a dog

“Readers care more about people than dogs.” Siobhan tells Christopher. “So if a person was killed in the book, readers would want to carry on reading.”

Guess what, Siobhan.  You were mistaken!!! Readers would want to carry on reading this mystery novel, only to discover that the murder is not the only mystery here. Even though the dog is the only one murdered, it is not the only victim.

As he gets closer to the truth, Christopher begins to investigate certain personal mysteries and the reader finds not just an answer to the initial mystery of the dead dog but also a new understanding of life with autism

“Lots of things are mysteries. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer to them. It’s just that scientists haven’t found the answer yet.”

This novel is an account by narrator, Christopher Boone, of how his world is turned topsy-turvy by the death of his dog. He ventures on an adventurous and dangerous quest and manages to get the “murder mystery solved” halfway through the novel. But, instead of restoring order, this solution leads to the unfolding of such events that threaten the carefully maintained world of Christopher.

Christopher suffers from autistic spectrum disorder called Asperser’s syndrome which is a neurobiological disorder. He’s a mathematical genius and a whiz at science.  But human emotions are particularly complex for him. He hates being touched, even by his parents. He hates the colors brown and yellow, and if one foodstuff touches another while it is on his plate, he cannot eat it. He needs to have the world just-so…. or he will scream, hit, or moan for hours. He is at a school for “special needs”. This means he is taunted regularly by his peers, misunderstood by copious adults, and is mostly reliant on his friendship with Siobhan, the teacher who is guiding him through the writing of this autobiography.

 ‘All the children at my school are stupid. Except I’m not meant to call then stupid, even though this is what they are. I’m meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs. But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties.  Because learning to speak French or understanding Relativity is difficult. And also, everyone has special needs. Like Father, who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets around with him to put in his coffee to stop him getting fat, or Mrs. Peters who wears a beige-colored hearing aid, or Siobhan who has glasses so thick that they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs

For Christopher, the desire for order and stability is a necessity of living. It is easy to feel sympathy and compassion for Christopher. We feel disappointed when those close to him fail to take his needs into account, even when they are trying to help him.

He needs an ordered and stable life to be happy and safe. But, come to think of it.  Don’t we all??? We, just like Christopher, would dislike being lied to on such a scale as he is here. Many of us would switch off, or like to, when faced with trauma. We often are in a position to not see what is staring at us in the face ~ or on the faces of others.  Christopher must learn to work with, and work through his abilities and disabilities, in order to accomplish the goals he sets for himself. He picks his way through, using a logical reasoning. He gets through truth and lies, fact and fiction, relationships with his parents and relationships with the outside world

And yet, the relationship of Christopher’s parents with their child and what being Christopher’s parents does to their relationship, is a fascinating subject and I think Haddon has handled it well. I felt the anguish of the parents trying to deal with a boy who doesn’t want to be touched or hugged even when in a distressed state.

As we peep into the life of his parents through Christopher’s eyes, we cannot but empathize with them. I can relate to the difficulties Christopher´s mother has with him and admire the way his father deals with the situation. Christopher was loved by his parents. But life isn’t easy, money is not plentiful and opportunities are limited.

This book is beautifully and thoughtfully presented too. You will find diagrams, drawings, letters and mathematical problems amongst the text. Small diagrams are used to better explain some of Christopher’s theories on life, the universe and everything, and these again are a simply yet clever way of keeping the book flowing.  You will probably learn a lot too, as I did. I now know much more about Science, logic, Sherlock Holmes and nature than before I had read this book. The title of this book is actually inspired from one of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Stories- Silver Blaze from The memoirs of Sherlock Homes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Blaze

Christopher’s’ investigations will cast some light on their world and on yours, perhaps. Full of faults and limited like all of us, people in this book appeared very real and very human to me as they went about coping with the world and all its stresses and trials.  As Mark Haddon said in an interview I found on the Guardian website.

It’s about how badly we communicate with one another. It’s about accepting that every life is narrow and that our only escape from this is not to run away (to another country, another relationship, a slimmer, more confident self) but to learn to love the people we are and the world in which we find ourselves.’

Refreshing, enlightening and ultimately heartwarming, this book is neither a murder mystery nor a book about aspersers. It’s a story about people, with a different perspective.  Looking at life from a different perspective enables us to realize that our circumstances can be different, yet life per se is essentially the same for everyone. We all carry our own personal Cross which was handed down to us by our circumstance. At the same time, we are also struggling with our individual weaknesses… (Physical, mental, social and psychological)…which put a limit to our ability to bear the cross

A lucky few, like the boy and his father in this novel, manage to overcome this. The mother is overwhelmed by the situation and still we find that we cannot help but sympathize with her because she DID try her best. Only trouble was that her best was not good enough.

 

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Happy Children’s Day!
Let kids be kids, and if you can, be one yourself today!
🙂 🙂 🙂

A HOUSEWIFE'S CHRONICLES

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.

~Stacia Tauscher

  When I was growing up, there used to be a joke about a child reading book titled “How to take good care of your child and raise them properly” His parents,quite naturally, were quite surprised to see this as this was a book not for the children, but for the parents to read.They queried him regarding his reason for reading this book” The child coolly replied, ” I just wanted to find out whether or not I am being raised properly.” 🙄 :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

This joke  usually had the audience in splits…I remember distinctly that I used to be amused at this joke myself. The idea that the Child himself might want to and/or NEEDS to be conscious of how he must be treated was perhaps alien to the people at that point in…

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Why is Fast food served at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute?

The reception area of the hospital…

Burgers, pizza, cakes, sandwiches, chole bhature, pasta, chow mien, aerated drinks….all displayed attractively.

This is the place where people who are attending to or visiting the patients admitted to the premium Hearts have to languish long agonizing hours and sometimes endless days while someone from their family or friends is either in surgery or in ICU. No need to point out that these people are quite stressed out, tired and often spend sleepless nights waiting for their loved ones to recover from whatever dreaded heart ailment has befallen them

Needless to say that a food counter is very much a necessity at a hospital to cater to the needs of the attendants for clean and hygienic food. I would expect the food served at the hospital to be healthy. But all I could find available there was junk food…not a single item that could even remotely be categorized as healthy. In fact, if you wished to eat a fruit, you would have to go out of the hospital premises to the nearby market about a couple of Km away.

Doesn’t anyone see the incongruity here?

In-Patients undergoing the treatment here, of course, are provided the meals by the hospital which I would assume to be “healthy”. But the attendants and the visitors have no option except to have junk food.

It is quite difficult for me to “digest” the fact that the hospital is in fact endorsing unhealthy food in its own premises. Some of the people who opt for the home-cooked food find to their consternation that outside food is not allowed into the reception area…all in the name of hygiene. To have your food you are required to go outside to another building which houses a canteen. I am told that this canteen area is quite neat and clean and quite OK, broadly speaking. But what I find hard to palette is the subtle conditioning that is taking place here that having home-cooked food is not “hip”

If the hospital really cared for the “health”, it would expect it  make it easier, rather than difficult, for the people to eat healthy on their premises.

Why is the hospital forgoing the opportunity to educate the people about ill effects of these foods?

 

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Book Review: 2 States-The Story of my Marriage

Love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore Chetan Bhagat.Now that is as cliched a way of introducing an author as possible. But isn’t that just the way an author who thrives on cliches and stereotypes should be introduced….through a cliche  :mrgreen:

I tried to ignore him for a long time, but ultimately failed. So I might as well warn you against this.

Somehow or the other, the novel “2 states-The story of my marriage” failed to ignite my interest.

Even as the blurb describes in a cute summary:

‘Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.
Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.
Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.
Girl and Boy still love each other. They get married.’

Love story….parents opposition…so what else is new??!! Curiosity level was absolutely non-existant. I would never have gone out and bought this book for sure. I chose to ignore it.

Then I found my sister reading this!! She said she liked it and even though she virtually THURST this book on me,  I chose to ignore this. And then finally after letting it sit by my bed side for the past 7-8 months, I  picked up the novel to read over the weekend when I really did not have anything better to do. Little did I know that there was a surprise in store just for me. I did not expect the book to be a literary master piece and it wasn’t. But I wasn’t expecting it to be as entertaining as it turned out to be.

As we accompany the protagonists on their almost Herculean task of converting their love story into a love marriage  we encounter close to the bone description of how people’s expectations for their children’s marriages are often not in keeping with the real needs of their children. The description of disparities between the two cultures is accurate and amusing and the exasperation of Krish at evident in his light hearted digs ridiculing the nature and idiosyncracies of the people around him be it his Punjabi relatives, his  Tam Brahm in-laws or the corporate collegues.

There are wisecracks that are totally hilarious and the book is Laugh-out-loud funny. There were instances where I actually doubled up laughing!!! And guys, we DO need writers with a sense of humour. They really really are in a short supply.  Deep literary rumination is not everyone’s cup of tea. And even if it were, we do  need a few lighthearted moments everyonce in a while. Not all books are meant to be literary works with complicated plots. As a writer, Chetan Bhagat’s writing may lag well behind many others. His may not bethe most elegant style of writing, but he is one Indian author writing in English who gets across to everyone with a huge impact. I feel his style of writing, which is a combination of light humor and incidents which a normal youngster in India can relate to, is what has attracted the masses. People wanted to hear their own stories in the idiom that they are comfortable with. Bhagat gives them that and he does that well.

Don’t expect a literary masterpiece and you will not be disappointed. This book is written for entertainment and this is what it does with élan. So enjoy!!

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Bloggers of a feather flock together at Indiblogger’s Meet

One fine Sunday in October, 100 odd women bloggers decided to congregate, confer,  mingle, schmooze, gab, wander, watch listen and interact in person rather than online.

And I was one of them

This happened on 14 October, 2012. The occasion was Pantene Nature Fusion Women’s IndiBlogger Meet and the place ITC Sheraton, Saket, New Delhi.

Photograph by Indiblogger


This was my firstever Indiblogger’s Meet. On earlier occasions, I had chosen to play ostrich and keep my head buried, firmly and properly. Actually, it was my guilty conscience that had restrained me from attending such meets in the past. Proclaiming myself a blogger sounded downright audacious to me when the very blog I am taking credit for, is comatose.

Now guess what!!!……  I have rediscovered my writing mojo 🙂 🙂 :)This consequence was pretty much expected. You cannot possibly rub shoulders with 100 odd amazing women bloggers and remain unaffected by their collective enthusiasm and passion for blogging Some of it is bound to rub off on you as well.

So it did on me 🙂 🙂 🙂   

Thanks Sangeeta for not giving up on me. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Because, hey!!!…. It’s super cool to meet online friends in the real!

It was delight to  meet Zephyr, Varsha,Indian Homemaker Ritu and Nirvana, whose blogs I have followed in the past. After meeting these awesome ladies, I realise that however stimulating and intellectually satisfying online interactions might be, they are still very 2D.  But when we meet up, we add another dimension to our interaction and make a even more wholesome helping 🙂

Going to meets like these is filled with  possibilities of meeting hitherto unknown bloggers. And my expectations in this regard were amply fulfilled. Glad to be acquainted to bloggers like Ativaas, Atula, Jasmeet, Riddhi Takyar, Akankshya Anupama, Anisha and Indu. Be prepared, ladies, to be haunted. I have set my eyes on your blogs 🙂 🙂 🙂

Indiblogger kept us entertained with a lot of fun and games. In one of the games Shreeya totally enjoyed being wrapped up in toilet paper from the head to toe as she was supposed to be mummified  our team did a thorough job of wrapping her up and we presented to the world the meticulously wrapped bespectacled “Mummy”.

Here are all the ‘mummies’ all lined up  Isn’t this the most fascinating site…all the ‘mummies’ all lined up:)

This is proof enough that apart from a lot of other amazing things,  bloggers are a bunch of  sporting souls 🙂 🙂 🙂

Photograph by Sangeeta Khanna

Fun, games in the company of fellow bloggers, gifts galore, hair spa sponsored by Pantene Nature Fusion…. All these might have added to the charm of the get together.

I was, meanwhile, just enjoying the awesome company. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Photograph by Indiblogger
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What is this life if…..

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies

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मातृ-भाषा के प्रति – भारतेंदु हरिश्चंद्र

भारतेन्दु हरिश्चन्द्र
Bhatendu.jpg
आधुनिक हिंदी साहित्य के पितामह
जन्म: ९ सितंबर१८५०
वाराणसीउत्तर प्रदेशभारत
मृत्यु: ६ जनवरी१८८५
वाराणसीउत्तर प्रदेशभारत

निज भाषा उन्नति अहै, सब उन्नति को मूल।
बिन निज भाषा-ज्ञान के, मिटत न हिय को सूल।।

अंग्रेज़ी पढ़ि के जदपि, सब गुन होत प्रवीन।
पै निज भाषाज्ञान बिन, रहत हीन के हीन।।

उन्नति पूरी है तबहिं जब घर उन्नति होय।
निज शरीर उन्नति किये, रहत मूढ़ सब कोय।।

निज भाषा उन्नति बिना, कबहुँ न ह्यैहैं सोय।
लाख उपाय अनेक यों भले करो किन कोय।।

इक भाषा इक जीव इक मति सब घर के लोग।
तबै बनत है सबन सों, मिटत मूढ़ता सोग।।

और एक अति लाभ यह, या में प्रगट लखात।
निज भाषा में कीजिए, जो विद्या की बात।।

तेहि सुनि पावै लाभ सब, बात सुनै जो कोय।
यह गुन भाषा और महं, कबहूँ नाहीं होय।।

विविध कला शिक्षा अमित, ज्ञान अनेक प्रकार।
सब देसन से लै करहू, भाषा माहि प्रचार।।

भारत में सब भिन्न अति, ताहीं सों उत्पात।
विविध देस मतहू विविध, भाषा विविध लखात।।

सब मिल तासों छाँड़ि कै, दूजे और उपाय।
उन्नति भाषा की करहु, अहो भ्रातगन आय।।

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Life is……

…..a great teacher. 

But I have strong objections to its “Trial and Error” method of teaching. Learning from our mistakes is never easy.

Life takes it role as the Teacher so seriously that until and unless we learn our lesson, Life would not let us be. Be prepared to be exposed to the “lesson” unless you  learn it and learn it well !!!

Of course sooner or later the lesson will be learned. But with every iteration of the “trial” some errors will be made. and usually errors lead to certain consequences which are usually unpleasant 😦

My objection is that why can’t Life reveal our syllabus at the very onset rather than making us figure out for our own selves!!?? I do hope that we would have fared  as better students if we were given a bit of an opportunity to do some homework

Frankly, all these surprise tests are making me a bit tired.

Sigh !!! 

 

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Indian Railways can breathe easy now

Thanks to the roll back of the fare hike.

 Dinesh Trivedi had gone ahead and raised the  fares across board claiming that this was a  necessary step to raise funds  to not only improve the service provided by the Indian Railways but also to address the safety aspect of Rail travel.  

Mr. Former Railway Minister, did you even REALISE what you just did??

You raise the fares and you depriving Indian Railway of the Bestest excuse ever for the soddy service and slatternly safety record…viz. ” lack of funds.” 

As if it is  ONLY money that is needed to improve things around here. 

 Phew!! Saved in the nick of the time by the timely tantrums of Mamta Didi.

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Thursday Challange ~ TWO

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Thursday Challange ~ TWO

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