Murder on the Orient Express

Oh, how I love this book! Just look at the cover!

Now that the movie is about to come out, I AM PSYCHED! And the cast is stellar too! I could gush about it for another two hours, however, this post is supposed to be about the book.

I’ve read this book about 4 times over the years. Now, the thing with the sheer number of Agatha Christie’s book, I read a lot of her books and promptly forget about them. I think this is a great thing. This means that I can return to these books and enjoy them again and again.

There’s something about Agatha Christie books that are synonymous with coziness. They just make you want to curl up on an armchair with a blanket, some hot chocolate and some dusty Cheetos puffs, stuffing you face with crumbs all over but who cares!? YOU’RE READING AGATHA CHRISTIE! They’re an easy read, and they’re so interesting, and you know no one you really care about it going to die. It’s awesome!

This is true for the Murder on the Orient Express as well. This book is not like the usual run-of-the-mill Agatha Christie, however. It’s not what you would expect. You cannot solve this by being smart and looking through the diversion techniques. It is spectacular. I won’t talk about it much, since the movie is going to come out. You should watch it or read it yourself!

The Circle (Jerk)

This book. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. It read like a prequel to 1984 by George Orwell and a lot of it made sense. On the other hand, it assumed that nobody in this world would retaliate against gross invasion of privacy; which really is not the case (at least not in the world we live in). With hundreds of thousands of redditors willing to take matter into their own hands and with the existence of “Anonymous” hackers, it really isn’t possible for one company to truly “take over”, so to speak, at least not in a manner as “complete”. Even though the United States is over-run by this craze of technology, I don’t see this happening. Yet.

WHEN we end up in this dystopic future where everyone is watched and is under constant surveillance, it won’t be because one day “Big Brother” just decided to exist. No, it would be because we invited them in. Fact of the matter is, there is a majority of our world already, who would welcome this kind of invasion of privacy, masquerading as “the need for attention”. People sell all of their information on the internet for free. Their opinions (thinking people will respect them for whatever delusional righteous beliefs they have {which are shaken very easily unfortunately}), their choices, their thoughts, their values, their need for popularity. But are these really for sale if they’re given out for free? Samplers everyone is willing to give out, but no one truly wants? Who’s really gaining from all this? Is it for as innocuous reasons as targeted advertising or is there a more nefarious purpose to all this data collection? I think about the suggested ads I see everywhere I turn my head. Sometimes they show me ads for things I’ve never expressed an interest in but have bought on impulse at some point. How does anyone know to show me an ad for some uncommon toy I bought at Walmart? How do they even know what I am spending my money on? It’s scary.

Our fear of the unknown, of secrecy, of conspiracy, of anything and everything that potentially could harm us, of what scares us, will eventually be the basis of our downfall someday. We are already headed there. Our need for more and more convenience and imagining that data being the answer to all questions, is lulling us into this false sense of insecurity. Data will shine light no doubt, but the light is colored and controlled to show you what the powers-that-be want you to see. Much like the book hinted upon. I guess I did like the book.We human beings have lived in this world for thousands of years, and our biggest fear is: our own damned kind.

This book made me think. It made me think about how much, how often, and what I post on social media. What is the image people have of me? Over the past couple of years, I’ve stopped posting a lot of things that I deem personal. It’s just pictures of cats or books for me. My online presence and popularity may be waning, but the price is one I am content and willing to pay: peace of mind and a pleasure in actual relationships. It’s unfortunate.

Wolf in White Van

I was right. Wolf in White Van was the most boring book I’ve read in a while and it slowed my readin progress to a crawl when I finally started reading it {for the 3rd time}. It was written in reverse and I lost the thread a 3rd of the way into it, all in pursuit of the story. However, the flaw isn’t just in the book itself. I think this book was written more for the enjoyment of the journey rather than the conclusion, and so the fault of disenchantment falls (somewhat) in my lot.

I think I should stop reading all books like they’re suspense thrillers {expecting a mind-boggling end and preparing to be blown away}. It’s really anticlimactic and takes the fun out of the reading since instead of slowing the pace of my reading and absorbing the atmosphere, I speed through it to get to the end.

However, reading the blurb before beginning to read the book, left me thinking this was going to be another sci-fi thriller of sorts. I really thought it was going to be a bit like Ready Player One or something along those lines. It turned out to be a lot less remarkable than that. Ah well, onwards and upwards

Social niceties

The brain is mutable. It changes all the time, a disconcerting amount, in fact. It changes based on the lighting around you, the weather, what you eat, whom you talk to, the way you sit, even what you wear. The consistency of the brain is like custard, and its makeup is more like a forest than a computer, always alive, rustling, changing.

– Your Brain at Work

Never having been reined in by social necessities, the brain grew unrestrained and uncontrolled in every direction it saw. It bloomed and blossomed into this unbridled beast that absorbed everything it saw and used it to grow rampant. And yet it was aware of its own growth; self-aware and capable of watching itself as it broke all social boundaries and grew unhindered. It absorbed everything. Every thing considered an obstacle became a lesson; everything else was a blessing. The mind grew into something so intelligent, it could cut you with its razor sharpness. And yet there was this innocence, that comes from having lived inside of itself for so long. Social niceceties are beyond it. People liked it for the innocence; left it for fear of its intelligence.

People attribute its intelligence to everything they could think of, so as to make themselves feel better for not being it or having it. For not having its abilities. They attribute it to age, or to studying, or not really having a social life. And all this is ok as long as they don’t see its learning curve. It is vertical. It is unstoppable.

Turmoil

I wrote this years ago, when I was having trouble at my workplace and social politics. Over the years, I have come across a lot of people like this, and this post and this significant change in my attitude has always seen me through. It has helped me through life and not just at work.


When the mind is in conflict with the environment, two things can happen; you either run or you adjust your attitude. I tried to run. But then I thought that no one was going to make me do anything I didn’t want to do. I wasn’t going to run. No one could make me. I think this was the best change of attitude that I’ve had in a while. It really made me think that I haven’t really stood up for myself and if I ran now, it wouldn’t be BECAUSE of so and so. It would be because I gave up on myself. So I decided to stay and take measures that would allow me to adjust my attitude instead.

So when I realize that people slack off and leave their work to be done by others, I said ok. I’ll do their work. This is an organization and more than that; a field where no one can proclaim your work as their own. And since the brands are now not divided amongst the Art Directors, no one person can claim that they handled an entire big brand etc on their own. So if I did do some work on “brand”, it would be mine. It would go in my portfolio as my own. With my name on it. Even though I wouldn’t be able to claim that the entire brand was handled by me, my work would speak for itself no matter where I went.

Having thought of things in this way, I was appeased and realized that I would never say “No” to any work that was assigned to me, no matter how much pressure I was under. And things seem to be working out. Even though everything is still fresh and the wounds seem to have been buried. Let’s hope things change with my attitude.

I guess all that matters is a change in attitude. Things always seem to fix themselves. After all it is always just your perception and how you see things. What you allow to bother you and what you seem to consider inconsequential. I’ve stopped showing or thinking of anything that in the least bit matters to me or bothers me.

Obviously I realized that my work-ethic is very different from everyone else’s. So many things don’t matter to me that matter to others. Whereas, so many other things matter to me that don’t matter to others. For example things like coming to work and making it your first priority are things that matter to me. Responsibility and investment into the content of what is going out there in your name also matters to me. The need to learn constantly and to keep moving forward, thats also something that I’m starting to hold very dear to me. It’s the little things that matter. I think, I need to relax a bit and stop putting things on such a pedestal.


It worked out. I stayed at that job for 3 years, being promoted to a Senior Art Director. I handled many big brands and became one of the most trusted Art Directors in the agency. Brands loved my work and appreciated it publically. I left the agency with my head held high and my pride more than intact.

One other thing I realized then was, life is not in statis. It is constantly moving. People were going to come and people were going to go. It was up to me to decide who I wanted to keep, and who I wanted gone. This thought has helped me tolerate a lot of people’s bullshit. It has also allowed me to keep my sanity; knowing and understanding that I will rid my life of the parasites who are stupid enough to think I am stupid and who are currently and forever trying to leech off of me.

Mundane humdrum

I know it’s been ages since I wrote anything on here. Sometimes, however, real life takes priority over the digital one or the one that you live inside of your head. A lot has been going on in my life that has required some specialized attention.

Sometimes as a teenager, I would lie in bed and wonder where my life was going to go, who I was going to become, and who, if anyone, I was going to meet in my life who was going to stay in it forever. And although, I did figure out the answer to my first two questions in the next couple of years, it took me another decade to finally find the answer to the last. I made mistakes, I gave up, I met people I thought were going to stick around forever and who didn’t. I always just wondered if I would ever live a normal life; a life where someday I could say “I was just like the rest”; that I had finally conformed. But God has always had different plans for me. Life has been a struggle; like wrestling with a hippopotamus. But once life becomes easy, I’ve always gotten bored. There was no way God was going to let me do anything in life without breaking at least a million rules.

God is weird. He makes strange and unsettling decisions for us and expects us to adjust. He throws such wrenches into our plans, that I’m surprised we get anything done. But I guess it’s a good way of getting our heads out of our asses. It’s also a great way of ensuring that we don’t get bored. Boredom kills and it can only be revived by constantly having to battle against life.

The strangeness of being the person I became, however, should have warned me, a long time back, that my life was not ever going to go according to any plan I contrived. I am not traditionally inclined; my parents didn’t raise me to be. I am most unladylike. I am loud and obnoxious and not entirely stupid. None of these things allows me to be classified as a woman who would “fit in” to what our society expects. I was always going to remain at the fringes when it came to our society. But then, what is deemed controversial in one society, is applauded in another. And even though no rishte wali Aunty could possibly help me, my mom never gave up hope. However, no matchmaker was a match for my unconventional existence. Believe me, my mother tried very hard. My mom believes in fate though and to an extent, so do I. So we’ll call it that. Rest assured that I am happy now that I’ve met my “fate.” So is my mom. I feel like a burden has been taken off of them. They were starting to question their child-rearing decisions. I don’t think they did too bad though, as parents. They did ready us kids for the world. It’s just that that world wasn’t Pakistan.

All in all, lifes good and as mundane as I can possibly tolerate without loosing my mind to boredom. I got a new job that I love, that motivates and inspires me to learn; that makes my mind churn. That makes me doubt my abilities and yet, when I overcome those doubts and the obstacles it throws in my life, it rewards me with a euphoric exuberance that takes weeks to dissipate. What more could I possibly want?

Well, having a cat would be nice.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Thank God for roomates! My roomate got this when she went home to Malaysia and one of her aunts gave her “The Cursed Child” as a present. Not a fan herself, she brought the book back untouched and unread, and handed it to me. I wanted to read the book but there was no way I was going to shell out over-$20 bucks for a book I wasn’t sure I was going to like, with so many conflicting reviews floating around.

I understand that this review is practically useless since I am sure a million people have already read the script by now. However, I am incredibly opinionated and so here it is anyway.

This script was no doubt different. I could still tell that J.K. Rowling had her hand in the creation of this play. The overall plot, the storyline, some of the personality traits resonated of her mind being behind this. The humor felt foreign but it was refreshing. I’m assuming that it was so because this was eventually going to be made into a play, which needs a little more in the way of comedy, since special effects aren’t the cornerstone here. Since we can’t have seemingly real dragons etc on stage, there needs to be one of the classic tricks that can keep a story glued together.

What I liked about the book was the what-if’s that it answered. What if Harry had been sorted into Slytherin? Ok, maybe not Harry. Maybe his kid. The personification of the goodness of Harry is Albus Severus Potter, who values friendship above all else, even if it is with the son of Harry’s sworn enemy, Draco. Befriending Scorpius, is the linchpin of the whole play, which reflects back what held together the original Harry Potter stories: Harry’s friendship with Ron, even though the seemingly, more-powerful Draco wanted Harry’s friendship. Harry rejected Draco’s friendship for Ron. Albus rejected Rose’s friendship over Scorpius’.

And that was a central theme for the script. It’s like the script-writers all sat together and asked themselves, “what-if alllll the particular points that made Harry Potter what is is, didn’t happen? What if Ron and Hermione didn’t get married? Ok, let’s add that to the list. What if Cedric lived? What if Neville died? And then there was Snape. Oh God, he always makes me cry. I love Snape.

It was an interesting read. Laid out in play format with dialogues going back and forth, it was different but you could compare it to reading Shakespeare. Yes, since it wasn’t in prose, a lot of the atmosphere is left to the imagination of the reader. Which is fine. You can copy paste all that from the previous book’s enviornment in your head to the current one. Read this book. For the love of Harry Potter.

I will only say this: *spoiler alert so look away* I only wished they’d dealt with my favorite what-if:

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