Category Archives: article on crime

BOOK TALK: GOLDFINGER by Ian Fleming

Copyright@shravancharitymission

   Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

GOLDFINGER   … by Ian Fleming

Publisher: Penguin

The book comprises of 354 pages. But we have summarised it for you, in about eleven hundred words for your quick assimilation.

 

    I’m sure many of you must have already read this book or seen the movie. I recently finished reading it once again. But each time the thrill was no less and each time there was an adrenaline rush. Where, the narration is anchored by the precision of Fleming’s prose.

    The signature dialogue of the book, comes from the villain Goldfinger. When he threatens Bond: ‘Mr Bond they have a saying in Chicago:  “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time its enemy action.”

    If you’re a Golfer, a frequent traveller, a car lover, Judo—karate exponent or even an avid reader, or an adventurer you are definitely in for a treat. Goldfinger is an outstanding novel of Ian Fleming. He wrote this book in Jamica where he had built his house. The book has three main parts and under that 23 chapters. It was published in 1959.

    What fascinates the most in the novel is the meticulous description of an 18 hole, golf game. Between, Goldfinger and James Bond. It is narrated in 36 pages (from 107 to 143). Where, each description of a golf shot, their conversation around that and even the murmurs with their caddies are just superlative. The way he describes every swing in the fairway and the putt around the greens, and the outcome of the shot is just fantastic. The game is being played in the Royal St Marks golf course in England. The book has some fascinating sentences too. Like …

    When Fleming moans in irony … ‘Many unlikely people play golf, including people who are blind, who have only one arm, or even no legs, and people often wear bizarre clothes to the game.’

    Fleming brings about an accurate description of Goldfinger through one of his characters—‘This man lived gold, thought gold, dreamed gold’—Colonel Smithers. And surely Ian Fleming was a big lover of cars. The way he makes Goldfinger describe his car … The ‘Rolls-Silver Ghost,’ is just impeccable. Smoking, definitely, was not a health down-point then, as Bond was, shades below a chain smoker and a distinct boozer … often without a hangover.

     A quote that crosses Bond’s mind—‘Some love is fire, some love is rust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust.’ Neither had regrets—Bond nor Jill Masterton.

         The book is just fantastic in terms of its narration of the dirty business of gold smuggling in which he integrates America, England, Europe and even India.

    The car chase that he has narrated across Europe is out of the world. Taking part in that were three heart throbs … a Silver Ghost Rolls, an Aston Martin and a Triumph

    The book was written when the world population was increasing at the rate of five thousand and four hundred every hour of the day.

PLOT

    Fleming structured the novel in three sections—‘Happenstance’, ‘Coincidence’ and ‘Enemy action’—which was how Goldfinger described Bond’s three seemingly coincidental meetings with him

Happenstance

    Whilst changing planes in Miami after closing down a Mexican heroin smuggling operation. British Secret Service agent James Bond is asked by Junius Du Pont, a rich American businessman (whom he had briefly met and gambled with in Casino Royale), to watch Auric Goldfinger, with whom Du Pont is playing Canasta (rummy) in order to discover if he is cheating. Bond quickly realises that Goldfinger is indeed cheating with the aid of his female assistant, Jill Masterton, who is spying on DuPont’s cards. Bond blackmails Goldfinger into admitting it and paying back DuPont’s lost money. He also has a brief affair with Masterton. Back in London, Bond’s superior, ‘M,’ tasks him with determining how Goldfinger is smuggling gold out of the country: M also suspects Goldfinger of being connected to SMERSH and financing their western networks with his gold. Bond visits the Bank of England for a briefing with Colonel Smithers on the methods of gold smuggling.

Coincidence

    Bond contrives to meet and have a round of golf with Goldfinger. Goldfinger attempts to win the golf match by cheating. But Bond turns, the table on him, beating him in the process. He is subsequently invited to Goldfinger’s mansion near Reculver. Where, he narrowly escapes being caught on the camera looking over the house. Goldfinger introduces Bond to his factotum, a Korean named Oddjob.

    Issued by MI6 with an Aston Martin DB Mark III, Bond trails Goldfinger as he takes his vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (adapted with armour plating and armour-plated glass) via air ferry to Switzerland, driven by Oddjob. Bond manages to trace Goldfinger to a warehouse in Geneva. Where, he finds that the armour of Goldfinger’s car is actually white-gold, cast into panels at his Kent refinery. When the car reaches Goldfinger’s factory in Switzerland (Enterprises Auric AG), he recasts the gold from the armour panels into aircraft seats and fits them to the Mecca Charter Airline, in which he holds a large stake. The gold is finally sold in India at a vast profit. Meanwhile, Bond foils an assassination attempt on Goldfinger by Jill Masterton’s sister, Tilly, to avenge Jill’s death at Goldfinger’s hands: he had painted her body with gold paint, which killed her. Bond and Tilly attempt to escape when the alarm is raised, and both are captured.

Enemy action

    Bond is tortured by Oddjob when he refuses to confess his role in trailing Goldfinger. In a desperate attempt to survive being cut in two by a circular saw. Bond offers to work for Goldfinger, a ruse that Goldfinger initially refuses, but then accepts. Bond and Tilly are subsequently taken to Goldfinger’s operational headquarters in a warehouse in New York City. They are put to work as secretaries for a meeting between Goldfinger and several gangsters (including the Spangled Mob and the Mafia). Who have been recruited to assist in “Operation Grand Slam” – the stealing of the United States gold reserves from Fort-Knox. One of the gang leaders, Helmut Springer, refuses to join the operation. When, he learns. The operation includes the killing of the inhabitants of Fort-Knox by introducing poison into the water supply. As a consequence he is killed by Oddjob. Bond manages to conceal a capsule containing a message into the toilet of Goldfinger’s private plane. He hopes it will be found and sent to Pinkertons, where his friend and ex-counterpart Felix Leiter now works.

    Operation Grand Slam commences, and it turns out that Leiter has indeed found and acted on Bond’s message. A battle commences, but Goldfinger escapes. Tilly, a lesbian, hopes that one of the gang leaders, Pussy Galore (leader of a gang of lesbian burglars), will protect her. But she is killed by Oddjob. Goldfinger, Oddjob and the mafia bosses all escape in the melee. Bond is drugged before his flight back to England and only wakes up to find. He has been captured by Goldfinger, who has managed to hijack a BOAC jetliner. Bond manages to break a window, causing a depressurisation that blows Oddjob out of the plane. He then fights and strangles Goldfinger. At gunpoint, he forces the crew to ditch in the sea near the Canadian coast, where they are rescued by a nearby weathership.

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

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ROLE MODEL TO FUGITIVE –WAS IT WORTH IT … VIJAY MALLAYA?

Copyright@shravancharitymission

ROLE MODEL TO FUGITIVE—VIJAY MALLAYA

    India unceasingly semaphores across its shores, and even megaphones internally, in high voltage forums, about its high pedigree, of a throbbing ‘conscience.’ But the impression gets totally pasty-faced when the world comes across deceitful Indians such as Vijay Mallaya and now even Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

    India has enough laws to tackle crime. But the only ones generally caught, are the small fries. Where, big ones escape.

    Of course to control crime, laws are required, but to prevent, even a sensitive conscience would do. But, do Indian tycoons, have the tall conscience in them, is the moot point. And it requires only one bad fish to spoil the whole pond.

    Recently, I came across an interesting page or two in one of Shobhaa De’s book that was published way back in 2008. Even with all her connections, insight and even intellectual wisdom. She could not predict, what Vijay Mallaya would turn out to be—a deceit. That will even make his late father Vittal Mallaya, turn in his grave.

    Writes Shobhaa De, ‘Vijay Mallaya? The ‘King of Good Times?’ Yeah … oh yeah … what a life! Mallaya has emerged as the number one symbol of spectacular success. Youngsters frequently vote for him as their favourite icon. His larger-than-life image is further bolstered by smart positioning –he is the ultimate brand for his range of ‘products’. A range that comprises India’s first-ever ‘five-star airline’ to leading alcohol brands (Mallaya is number three in the world of booze barons). But more than his business profile, its Mallaya’s jaw-dropping personal style that attracts the youth—jumbo sized solitaires in each earlobe, enough gold chains around his neck to give P. Diddy a complex and a yacht (Indian Empress) that’s huge enough to host mega-parties on its multiple decks.

    Austerity a la Narayanmurthy? No, thank you. Too discreet. Flamboyance is in. That goes for the Ambanis as well. Given their more sober living (no booze, strictly vegetarian), and their workaholic reputation

    There’s a fleet of private jets, too. And grand residences in every glamorous destination in the world—from California and Monaco to Goa. Which wide-eyed ambitious Indian youngster wouldn’t want to be in Mallya’s snakeskin shoes?’

    I wonder what Shobhaa De must be feeling about her well intended pages today. Where, she had projected Vijay Mallaya to be the role model of many young Indians. But sadly the reality is quite different. When we compare India’s Vijay Mallaya to America’s Bill Gates we are put to shame. And why is it that some people who are born with a platinum spoon. Conspire for more, that they cannot digest. Well … you’ll only have to meet Vijay Mallaya to find out the answer, or the new entrants in the game that is Nirav and Mehul.

***

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray– by Oscar Wilde

Copyright@shravancharitymission

–Read India Read–

Khidki (window)

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

BY OSCAR WILDE

 

        This is an amazing novel of its times, but with an, unearthly theme. The biggest truth of life is. Everyone, wants to look beautiful and that too all throughout their lives. The offbeat novel profoundly captures this primeval topic. Even in present times. You will find many celebrities and even average, well-to-do individuals going in for various beauty treatments, to keep their looks shipshape. 

    Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, in the year 1854. After a notable career as a poet, a lecturer, and even an editor, he published ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ in a monthly magazine in 1890. But he wasn’t satisfied with it. So he soon revised and lengthened it, for book publication in 1891. Wilde even wrote nine plays that included four celebrated comedies namely: Lady Windermere’s Fan, An ideal Husband, A Woman of No Importance, and The Importance of being Ernest. Sadly, Wilde died in Paris in the year 1900.

    I had read this eerie book long ago. The plot is not that easy to forget. As the essence of it keeps circling you, even, during your day to day existence—that is, how to keep your good looks alive. Remember, there are moments in life that can but change the drift of your pursuits.

    While waiting to begin his final sitting for artist Basil Hallward’s portrait of him. The beautiful, young Dorian Gray has a conversation that changes the very course of his life. Basil’s friend Lord Henry Wotton fills Dorian’s head with the idea that youth, beauty, and pleasure are all that matters in the world. He urges Dorian. To, indulge in all of life’s sensual joys. Before, age catches up and his good looks fade.

    When Dorian sees Basil’s, stunning finished picture. He is transfixed by its reflection on his own beauty. But he is also troubled by the insight that the image in the painting. Will forever remain, youthful and handsome while he himself would grow old, and be less desirable in times to come. So, he wishes aloud if the roles could be reversed. Saying that he would give his soul, if only the painting would suffer the ravages of time and instead he would remain young forever. But as the old adage goes: Be careful what you wish for.

    And that brings me to the point. If Oscar Wilde’s only published novel is at an elevation of hedonism? Or is it just a cautionary tale, or something else, altogether? In his preface, Wilde warns readers not to search for meaning in the story. He says ‘Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.’ He further says ‘There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.’

    ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is one of the most elegantly written books of all time. So I understand and even felt while reading.

    The chief protagonist ‘Dorian’ has some unusual emotions and beliefs when you find him saying. “How sad it is!” murmured Dorian Gray with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait. “How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June….If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that—for that—I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!”

    Some call it a philosophical novel. But I would also call it a controversial one for that era of time.    Since it has been published several times the plot of the novel varies between each of the published versions.  The summary below deals with the longest version the 1891 novel.                           

    ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ commences on a pleasing summer day of the Victorian era England. Where, Lord Henry Wotton, a dogmatic personality, is attentively observing the astute artist Basil Hallward while he is painting the portrait of Dorian Gray. A handsome young man who happens to be Basil’s ultimate muse.

    While posing for the painting, Dorian listens to Lord Henry, espousing, his hedonistic world view. When he begins to think that beauty is the only aspect of life worth pursuing. This prompts Dorian to incessantly wish that the painted image of his, would age, instead of himself. Under the hedonistic influence of Lord Henry, Dorian decides to fully explore his sensuality. When, he discovers actress Sibyl Vane, who performs in Shakespeare plays, in some dingy working-class theatre. Dorian approaches and courts her and soon proposes marriage. The enamoured Sibyl calls him ‘Prince Charming.’ She swoons with the ecstasy of being loved. But her over protective brother James Vane, warns, that in case ‘Prince Charming’ harms her, he will murder him.

    Dorian proudly invites Basil and Lord Henry to see Sibyl perform in Romeo and Juliet. Sibyl, too enamoured with Dorian to act, performs poorly on that day that makes both Basil and Lord Henry think. Dorian has fallen in love with Sibyl because of her beauty instead of her acting talent.  

     Embarrassed, Dorian rejects Sibyl. Telling her that acting alone was her beauty. Without which she no longer interests him. On returning home, Dorian notices that the portrait has changed. His wish has come true as the man in the portrait bears a subtle sneer of cruelty.

    Conscience-stricken and lonely, Dorian decides to reconcile with Sibyl, but he is too late, as Lord Henry informs him that Sibyl has committed suicide by swallowing prussic acid. Dorian then understands, where his life is headed, lust and good looks shall suffice. Dorian locks the portrait up, and over the next eighteen years. He experiments with every vice; influenced by a morally poisonous French novel that Lord Henry Wotton gave him. (The narrative does not reveal the title of the French novel. But during the trial, Wilde did say that the novel he had read was ‘A Rebours’ (Against the Nature, 1884), by Joris-Karl Huysmans.

    One night before leaving for Paris. Basil goes to Dorian’s house. To, ask him about the rumours of his self-indulgent voluptuary.

    Dorian does not deny his debauchery and takes Basil to see the portrait. The portrait has become hideous. Which Basil is able to identify as his work, only by the signature he affixes to all his portraits. Basil is horrified and beseeches Dorian to pray for salvation. But in deep anger Dorian blames his fate on Basil and stabs him to death. He then calmly blackmails an old friend, the scientist Alan Campbell into using his knowledge of chemistry to destroy the body of Basil Hallward. Alan not able to come to terms kills himself over the deed.

    To, escape the guilt of his crime. Dorian goes to an opium den. Where, James Vane is unknowingly present. James has been seeking vengeance upon Dorian, ever since Sibyl killed herself. But he had no leads to pursue. The only thing he knew about Dorian, was the name Sibyl called him by, ‘Prince Charming.’ In the opium den he hears someone refer to Dorian as ‘Prince Charming,’ and he accosts Dorian forthwith. Dorian deceives James into believing that he is too young to have known Sibyl, who killed herself 18 years ago, as his face is still that of a young man. James relents and releases Dorian. But is then, approached by a woman from the opium den who reproaches James for not killing Dorian. She confirms that the man was indeed Dorian Gray by explaining that he has not aged even in eighteen years. James runs after Dorian. But by then he is gone.

     James then begins to stalk Dorian, causing Dorian to fear for his life.  However, during a shooting party, a hunter accidentally kills James Vane, who was lurking around a thicket. On returning to London, Dorian tells Lord Henry that he will live righteously now on. His new probity begins with deliberately not breaking the heart of the naive Hetty Merton, his latest romantic interest. Dorian wonders if his new-found goodness has reverted, the corruption in his picture. But when he looks at it he sees even an uglier image of himself. This makes Dorian understand that his true motives for self sacrifice of moral reformation were only a vanity and curiosity of his quest for new experiences. Deciding, only full confession will absolve him of the wrongdoing. Dorian decides to destroy the last vestige of his conscience, and the only piece of evidence remaining of his crimes—the picture.

    In a rage, he takes the knife with which he had murdered Basil Hallward, and stabs the picture. The servants of the house awaken on hearing a cry from the locked room. On the street, passers-by who also heard the cry call the police. Upon entering the locked room, the servants find an unknown old man, stabbed in the heart. With his face and figure, withered and decrepit. The servants identify the disfigured corpse by the rings on its fingers that belonged to their master. And beside him is the picture of Dorian Gray, restored to its original beauty.   

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Now available in Amazon.com

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

By the pricking of my thumbs–Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

KHIDKI (WINDOW)

AGATHA CHRISTIE—By the pricking of my thumbs (Makes an interesting read)

    One and only one—Agatha Christie.

    Like a sinusoidal wave the excitement of her plot never wanes, and therefore her pen, never gets stale. Her works are now nearing a century. But, one still gets a feel. As if the crime was committed, only yesterday, and that too, in my own neighbourhood. The churning thrill of which, grips you tight. Both while you’re reading and even when you’ve kept the book aside. As the crime scene continues to remain in your psyche.

    Sunday Express describes the novel as. ‘The most macabre and eerie Christie I have read for a long time.’

    Title is halfway a Macbeth quote—‘By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.’

    It all happens when:

    Tommy and Tuppence Beresford  are an ordinary British couple. Their conversation with each other in the novel. Reminds you of those, eloquent British natives who are full of etiquette and punctuated verbose. Tommy is the husband and Tuppence is the wife. They happen to call on Tommy’s aunt Ada in a retirement home called the Sunny Ridge. Aunt Ada by nature is difficult. Therefore, a complex person. In the retirement home while Tommy is busy talking to his aunt. Tuppence enters into a conversation with a resident, Mrs Lancaster. When Mrs Lancaster unexpectedly says, ‘Was it your poor child? There behind the fireplace.’

    A few weeks later Aunt Ada dies of natural causes in Sunny Ridge. When, Tommy and Tuppence return to the retirement home after the funeral to make arrangements for Ada’s possessions. They find that Mrs Lancaster has suddenly vanished. The matron there informs them that a relative called Mrs Johnson took her away. Tuppence suspects there’s more to it than meets the eye and tries to find the relative. But the trail hits a cul-de-sac. One of the items that Aunt Ada had left is a painting of a house by the riverside.  The picture strongly reminds Tuppence of a house she once saw and took to immediate liking. The painting was supposedly given to Aunt Ada by Mrs Lancaster.   

    Tommy is away for a few days. So, Tuppence starts looking for the mystery house on her own. Eventually, she finds it in a small village by the name Sutton Chancellor. It turns out that the house is divided in a peculiar way. Front and back. The backside is rented to a middle-aged couple called the Perries. The front part has been vacant for several years now. Tuppence meets with the people of Sutton Chancellor. There is an elderly vicar, a talkative big and beautiful landlady called Mrs. Copleigh, and a Miss Bligh who seem to run the parish.

    Under the pretence of house hunting she tries to get more information about the house. Mrs Copleigh tells her a grim story about a spate of child killings some years ago. Then she fails to return home on the arranged day, having been concussed by a blow on the head.

    Tommy and his man Friday Albert are now worried about Tuppence. Tommy does some investigation on his own. First, he discovers the painting was by an artist called Boscowan. Who died several years ago. Next Tommy meets the doctor of Sunny Ridge. There have been some deaths that the doctor finds odd and he is worried about a possible foul play. Tommy then talks to an investigator friend, Ivor Smith. Who hints the house in Sutton Chancellor might have been used as a safe house for a criminal gang. Tommy shows the painting to Mrs Boscowan, who notes that someone has added a boat to the picture. At home, Tommy learns that Tuppence is in a hospital near Sutton Chancellor with severe concussion. Tommy and Albert then find a hidden letter from Aunt Ada. In which she suspects there is malice in Sunny Ridge.          

    Tuppence has recovered. An old doll that she found in the mysterious house turns out to contain uncut diamonds. A party is arranged in Sutton Chancellor. Sir Phillip Starke, the local landowner, and Mrs Boscowan are invited. Tuppence has the impression that Sir Phillip knows more about the whole affair. The next day Tuppence goes to the vicarage and confronts Miss Bligh, who she suspects was the one who hit her on the head.

    Alone, Tuppence goes to the mystery house. Where, to her surprise she finds the missing Mrs Lancaster. She takes Tuppence to a secret part of the house and proceeds to tell her life story. After her child was aborted against her will she became deranged and started killing children.   One of the other residents in Sunny Ridge had recognized her. So she had to be silenced. Miss Bligh, posing as a relative, resettled her into a new home. After her candour, Mrs Lancaster attempts to kill Tuppence.

     Tuppence is saved just in time. It is revealed that Mrs Lancaster is actually the wife of Sir Philip Starke. He had covered up her insanity and the crimes she committed. He assisted in the cover-up by Miss Bligh, his former secretary and confidante. Tommy and Tuppence then return home.

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Now available in Amazon.com

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

CONSCIENCE & CONFESSION

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

    It reminds me of a time when I used to go to a park every day, early in the morning. The place was still and quiet—reminding you of those famous words—pin drop silence. It was a long morning walk, from where I stayed and it was also mid-way for me. Where, I use to take a break. The park was located about twenty feet, above the banks of a river and in between the two there was a steep slope. To, secure the area from anyone, falling into the river. A rugged railing had been raised only recently. The other end of the park touched the busy road. Coming all the way from the airport and passing into the main city. Beyond the river, there was a tall dark and handsome hillock that gave a great sense of scenic fulfillment.

    All around, it was lush green, especially, during the monsoons. When, the water level at times used to rise and ripple past the edge of the gradient to enter the park. I normally sat there each day for about ten to fifteen minutes. Just for some meditation and introspection that refreshed me to take on the tough day ahead. I had relocated to the city some six months back as an Inspector in the police department. Out there. I also found many health freaks coming for morning walks but some just to lollygag.

    Close to the main gate of the park. There was a small tea stall. I guess. It grossed all its major revenues early in the morning itself while serving the morning walkers.  Once in a while it also served hot pakodas that tasted deadly, with that hot dhaba tea.

    I had become a little pally with the tea stall owner who was young and appeared somewhat educated. There was always a newspaper lying around the stall. Where, tea buffs often rushed through the headlines and exchanged informal barbs.

    As a regular visitor I had started recognizing quite a few faces. Gradually, I even got to know the names of some. One out of them happened to be an old person. About whom I noticed, was normally quiet. One day the stall owner. Who knew, I was a police inspector, introduced me to him. His name was Robert.

    In a matter of days I started interacting with him and referred to him as ‘uncle.’ He must have been around seventy. He spoke very less. But whenever he did, he was to the point. He was normally in his own world and nothing amused him.

    Days passed. When, one day he came up to me and asked,

     ‘Are you in the police?’

    I said, ‘yes.’

    ‘Then, can you do me a favour?’

     I said, ‘what favour?’ He looked at me for a while and said.

    ‘Many years back when I was young. While playing in this park I had a fight with my best friend and that escalated. As a result of which I pushed him down the slope over there. He fell into the river. It was monsoon season. When, the river was in full spate and he was swept away, and never returned.’

    ‘So then did you not tell the police, that you had pushed him?’

    ‘No.’

    ‘But why?’

    ‘Because I was scared I’ll be arrested. So the police registered a case of accident, that he didn’t know swimming so he drowned.’

    ‘So then, why are you telling me your story now and that too after so many years?’

    ‘After fifty years to be exact. To, clear my guilt or  you could say conscience. Because, you’re in the police and if you want, you can arrest me for the crime.’

    ‘But have you told this to anyone else?’

    ‘No.’

    ‘But why?’

    ‘Because he was my next door neighbour.’

    ‘So how does that matter?’

    ‘It matters, because, years later, I married his sister.’

    ‘But does she know you were the one who pushed his brother?’

    ‘A few years back I did tell her. She couldn’t bear the shock and expired within weeks.’

    ‘And what about your children?’

    ‘I have two sons. Both are in Australia. They don’t know about my crime. But maybe you can tell them after I’m arrested or I’m gone.’ After this he got up, picked his walking stick and started walking. Perhaps, he was heading home.

    After the conversation a couple of days had passed. I had not seen Robert. One day when I reached the tea stall. I was informed by the stall owner that Robert had committed suicide. I was shocked at the news. Perhaps, he was preparing for it mentally when he told me about his act of crime. I attended his funeral where I even got to meet his two sons Richard and Simon.

    Thereafter, I continued with my morning walk as usual. One day when I reached the tea stall. The owner gave me a sealed enveloped that Robert had left for me. I opened it. There was another sealed cover in it with the name and address of Richard in Australia with a request to send it across through a reliable courier. Which I did.

    Robert after losing his wife couldn’t have taken a chance on his sons. But anyhow he wanted to confess about his crime to his children. Which he did after he was gone.

    Moral of the story: Your conscience is the most endurable jury in you.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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SUNANDA PUSHKAR MURDER CASE

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    It is deplorable to see Sunanda Pushkar murder case not reaching its logical conclusion? In addition, I’m even shocked and surprised to see the horrifying and poltroon attitude of Shashi Tharoor who isn’t seen pushing for justice for his slain wife. Any other politician husband who still happens to be the Congress spokesperson would have gone hammer and tongs to town and would have threatened to go on fast until death till the culprit is nabbed. But the situation out here is tragically quite different. As he is trying to maintain that stoic silence, but in whose interest no one knows. And one loosely feels the family is in no hurry to get her justice.

     On the other hand look at Delhi Police. They appear to have botched up the entire case, as per TV reports, of certain channels. And what to talk of Home Ministry, that is incubating over the matter as if to assess the political gains. Least they could have done was to hand over the matter to CBI. Very sadly … this happens to be our callous India that loves, playing around with dead and fractured souls. What a pity. Mare hua ko bhi nahi chodte (They don’t even spare the dead).

    One wonders how easy it is for the state to dump a murder case and that too of a socialite coming from high society. So, then what happens to the lower and the downtrodden, and of course the whole thing is reeking of filth in our high social circles.

    And last but not the least. The likes of Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and Erle Stanley Gardner who made crime as their mission of life must all be churning in their graves over the alleged bungling up, by Delhi Police in this high profile murder case. Now let us see how Subramaniam Swami takes the lead.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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KULDHARA—JAISALMER: THE HAUNT REMAINS EVEN AFTER CENTURIES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

    Ghost towns and villages have often held our attention. But simultaneously, they have also unleashed our imagination to some hair-raising and eerie trepidation. So, its character remains quite aloof, from the oppressive ruins of the rich and arrogant castles and fortresses. One such village, nests in Kuldhara. Located in the deep-seated, desert region of Western Rajasthan. Where, when, you stand under the hot striking sun. You might not get to see a single human form till the horizon. In all earnest, such unspeaking and phantom towns and villages may not utter a complaining word. But then they scream about the enduring trauma. Their inhabitants might have undergone and that gives us a chance to peep into their harrowing lives.

    Rajasthan brims in the expanse of Thar desert. It has no dearth of ghost villages. That remains almost unpeopled for various reasons. But only a few of them have got as much attention as Bhangarh and Kuldhara. Perhaps, due to the myths attached to them. So, while we were in Jaisalmer. It was only natural for us to undertake the sightseeing of Kuldhara.

    It simmers in deep desolate wilderness, at about 18 km, west of Jaisalmer. And it certainly has a story to tell. Where, we came across a young boy named Bhairo Sharma. Who narrated the aghast episode, in an emotional tone. Is when, I reflected after many years. That there was someone doing justice to the forgotten art of storytelling.

    It happened some 300 years ago. When, Kuldhara was a prosperous village. Where, Paliwal Brahmins used to reside under the state of Jaisalmer. The story thus throws up a spine-chilling feel. When, the evil eyes of Salim Singh. The all powerful tyrant and debauch Prime Minister of the state. Fell for the daughter of the village head and desired to marry her by force. He then threatened the entire village of grave consequences, if they did not acquiesce to his wishes.  

    The entire clan of Paliwals then lived in those 85 villages. They forthwith held a council. Where, it was decided, instead of acceding, to the demands of the depraved Prime Minister. They would abandon and leave their village and homeland. To, save the honour and purity of their daughter from the evil eyes of the monster. And soon, they all left for good. But before departing they ordained a powerful curse on Kuldhara. That, after them, no one else shall ever be able to settle and prosper in the village. And from that day onwards the village remains unoccupied, barren and even deserted. It gives an isolated and godforsaken look. Perhaps, quite similar to the unseen yet imagined faces of the residents of those times, that too, centuries ago. It is also believed. People who have attempted to stay here overnight have been haunted away by some strange and abnormal phenomenon.

    The parallel story that runs and appears to be as plausible as the first one is. Salim Singh, upon not being obliged by the Paliwals raised the taxes to such an extent. That it became practically unbearable for the local community to survive in the village. So they decided to migrate to greener pastures. However, people are more inclined to believe the first story. That has a tinge of both romance and mysticism in it.

    The dilapidated and tale-telling houses and monuments are now maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). One can enter the village only after purchasing tickets. After which you drive along the prime street. That appears to be the main boulevard of the settlement. Where, even now, after centuries one feels gloomy and sad. For there are rows of houses with their roofs fallen. And the ruined walls give a sense of melancholic past. Where, the entire landscape is dry, dusty and sun stricken. That conveys a blaring message of atrocious human upheavels. Even, when, the era denoted happiness through righteousness.

    We halted at a location. That appeared to be the hub of the rustic village. Just close by there was a house in good upkeep. We entered to see the rooms that were well maintained. Following the path we even went up the stairs and up to the roof. From where, the entire village was visible. Though, I could not feel any supernatural presence. Yet that element of sombreness struck me while I was there. One could say the animation was missing. Ladies in the group could not withstand the countenance of destruction and slowly walked away.  I could even sight an unvisited and left alone temple nearby. Gradually, we cruised past the ruins available in the form of the crumbling walls. For a moment, it gave me a flash of those lives that lived there centuries ago. There was definitely something spine chilling even when everything around was so calm and unmoved. Perhaps, the collective curse of those helpless citizens was still pulsating there. Where, everything was looking so recent. And one got a feel as if someone was calling you from behind those dilapidated houses.

    Kuldhara remains a desolate place with forlorn looks. Curses don’t die so soon, they say. The ambience brings across a kind of seeping sadness to your heart. Especially, when, one thinks of the unfortunate people.  Who, were forced to leave the land of their forefathers. However the place doesn’t appear to be spooky for any other reason barring the wicked crime spelt in the story.

    Even, when, the ASI has taken over the settlement. It remains to be seen if this village will ever flourish. By flourish I mean—will the lineage of the people, who left generations back. Ever come together to salvage their motherland. And last but not the least. Was this a quintessential example of a migration that moved a civilised settlement? My answer would be no.

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