Pseudonyms

Did you know there is no Agatha Christie? Mary Westmacott is the real person.

Since ancient times, authors have concealed their true identities behind fictitious bylines by utilising pseudonyms. When their personal name would not have been regarded seriously at the time, some people want their work to be. For them, it is a matter of stigma. Others picked a nom de plume because they yearned to break out of the mould and adopt a new character because their writings were categorised or assigned to a particular genre.

Every tale relating to the decision and utilisation of a pen name is fascinating, even if there are numerous reasons why an author could adopt a name that is different from their own. Although the majority of these aliases are already well-known, there are still plenty that will surprise or interest you to learn.

Agatha Christie is well-known and adored for her unmistakable ability to craft intriguing mystery tales with a twist and a cast of well-known characters, including Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

But Agatha Christie chose to work under a pen name while she was a well-known mystery writer for a very straightforward reason. She intended to produce books about other topics, but she was aware that her admirers would always want her to write mysteries. Since Christie only published six books under the name Mary Westmacott, she had the opportunity to delve deeply into the field of human psychology, which is something that conventional Christie fans might not have anticipated from her own-name stories.

The pseudonym itself was picked with care. Agatha’s middle name was Mary, and the Westmacott surname was a common one. Surprisingly, it took close to 20 years for admirers to realise that Mary Westmacott and Agatha Christie were related. We have a lot more regard for what a skilled writer she was now that we know that these vivid and intuitive novels were written by the same person who wrote the Poirot volumes.

Here’s a list of authors who wrote under alias. Let’s talk about the stories behind their pseudonyms. Feel free to add to the list –

  1. Robert Galbraith – J.K. Rowling
  2. Mrs. Silence Dogood – Benjamin Franklin
  3. James Tiptree, Jr. – Alice Bradley Sheldon
  4. Flora Fairfield – Louisa May Alcott

The greatest writing pseudonym of all time is William Shakespeare. Although it would take an entire blog to write just a intro about him.

Whirlpool of Binge Watching

I am sure you have heard this classic Eagles song “Hotel California

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before,
‘Relax,’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!’

It’s often more challenging to get back into your regular routine after a nice vacation or a prolonged stay in bed due to illness. The same is true for binge watching also. You are trapped.

A lesser-known fact – You may come across Internet posts challenging you to binge-watch your favorite TV show or channel. Best of all, if you are chosen and complete the challenge, you will be paid. In 2019, Internet Service Partners ran a competition in which one person could win $1,000 for watching 24 Hallmark Christmas movies in 12 days. The winner was required to submit a personal critique on each film and keep her social media followers updated throughout the experience.

Even though these contests are brilliant marketing strategies used by the businesses, the question now is “Should we support encouraging people to spend even more time in front of their television sets?” According to Healthline, watching more than three hours of television per day may eventually cause memory loss and language damage. OTT platforms have really changed the way people watch TV.

Gone are the days of satellite TV channels. At least they were time bound. The majority of homes have multiple televisions for viewing purposes. Everyone in the house may watch different shows without interfering with each other thanks to the numerous gadgets and shared streaming accounts. Being addicted to your devices in a crowded house makes it simple to isolate yourself. Good for introverts like me, but not good generally.

The K-Dramas are definitely most addictive. I think they are produced with a mere intent of tricking people into binge watching them. Put on a Korean light comedy with a dash of romance on Netflix and there goes your weekend in a blink.

It’s a never-ending circle. You begin with an episode. You are halfway through a series after five hours have passed without your realizing it. You never thought you’d find yourself this deep in the whirlpool called Netflix, but here you are.

Share your binge-watching tales in the comments section. What is your take on it? Which net series are you hooked on? For me it’s a K-Drama these days “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”

To read

To read in bed is to draw around us invisible, noiseless curtains. Then at least we in a room of our own and are ready to burrow back ; back to that private life of the imagination we all led as a child and to those satisfactions so many of us have mislaid the key – Clifton Fladiman

While talking to my kids about how we used to read comic books all summer, so many memories popped into my mind and I couldn’t help from chuckling out loud remembering those fun days of innocence. In those times, a comic book for a day was a favorite pass time. Me & my brother would get two books per day, read one by one and bond talking over their interesting stories. Chacha Chaudhary, Pinki, Billu, Shikari Shambhu, Motu Patlu, Adventures of Tintin and various other super hero comic books were somehow building up our vocabulary as well as smartness. We also used to enact some of the scenes. Young minds and nothing else to do, what else can you expect.

Cartoons on TV have totally taken over the habit of reading in young kids. Though I do encourage my kids to read but with easy visual medium and easy availability, they are more attracted towards TV than books. What I want to say through my opening lines is that in my opinion, reading any kind of books not only is good for entertainment, they introduce you to new words, it makes your brain imagine the character yourself. In those moments of reading, you enjoy your solitude. You learn to be alone and be happy within yourself.

I had read somewhere that books let you fight dragons, meet the love of your life, travel to faraway lands and laugh alongside friends, all within their pages. They are an escape that brings you home. Books take you to the places no passport can take you and the areas no one knows about. Reading takes us to places when we have to stay where we are. And these places are all unique to each reader. That’s why they say that start reading and be forever free.

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you will go – Dr Seuss

close up of pictures

What a memory!

Life’s changes come in all shapes and sizes. Change could be simply organising your cupboards, changing the layout of your living room or change in your career, moving away from home and so on. These are all the changes we go through consciously and with lot of thoughts put in. However as one grows older, change in viewpoint/likings comes silently and you do not realize until confronted on the subject.

I experienced this firsthand few days ago when I decided to show my kids blockbuster movie of the times when I was younger. My kids are big time fans of BTS (the biggest boy band of the world). While they keep listening to their music all the time, my TV time was reduced mostly to Kpop as they hardly let me touch the remote. So this was a good excuse to take control in my hand and reminisce my old times.

Amongst the available options of movies on digital platform , we chose “Raja Hindustani”. I remember the songs of this movie were a rage. There was not a single bus, taxi or restaurants where ‘Pardesi Pardesi’ song was not blaring. The cinemas were house full and Karishma Kapoor was highly praised for her straight hair look and pairing opposite Amir Khan. We had to wait a whole week to finally get tickets and we were quite thrilled to watch it in hall jam packed with people whistling. For me at that time, Raja Hindustani was a paisa wasool movie.

Cut to the present….the movie starts and we see that pretty & rich damsel Karishma along with her two servants/confidants visits Palankhet (an imaginary town) and comes across an illiterate Taxi driver. His antics impress her and she eventually falls for him head over heals. Believe me people, the movie is so cringeworthy in first half that I was afraid to turn my face towards my kids who were equally disgusted. A full grown woman talking and acting like a child was just not at all attractive. Even my eleven year old is more matured than her. There is a scene where Amir khan tries to impress her by putting face powder in abundance and dance and sing….she laughs and he feels humiliated. Obviously one would laugh if you act like joker. But no, in this movie, Karishma kapoor goes and says sorry and they share a passionate kiss. She comes back home all hyped up and bumps into her father who has come to take her back. Ladies and gentleman, she chooses to leave. Okay, fair enough, after all summer flings do happen. Highlight is that this taxi driver only goes to drop them at the airport. No communication between the pair as to why…how ..now what…nothing.

They stop at a midway sort of place where some people are singing and dancing. Here comes our much anticipated song “Pardesi Pardesi jana nahi”. A beautiful girl starts singing and dancing passionately. Clearly dance isn’t her forte. Nonetheless, she sings exactly what the hero wants to convey at this point in time in the movie. Our hero starts singing too and going by the lyrics, he literally curses the heroine that she wont be able to sleep if she goes and will suffer a lot. Another lady with make up from hell, gets up drinks half a litre of alcohol, breaks the bottle and starts dancing absurdly.

The situation is tensed and supremely weird. Hero is sobbing and so is heroine with her goggles on, bottles are breaking and the father of the heroine has no clue whatsoever. He smiles occasionally.

Now I don’t know whether the curses shook the heroine or it was just that ridiculous dance which forces her to go and give our hero a tight hug and put a stop to this madness. At this point the father’s expressions are priceless. The song is finally over and along with it our desire to watch the movie any further.

Experience the song here yourself 😊 : https://youtu.be/i9lB-am_hyY

Little did I sensed that my memory was about an experience and not a movie per se. If this movie was to be released now, it would have met the same fate of Radhe. With time my likings and interests have changed too. Still, I will keep this song in my happy memories. The melody is no doubt super. I feel nostalgic listening to old songs, but my taste has changed surely. Me and my kids had a hearty laugh talking about the movie and proceeded to watch new release of a kpop group.


Continue reading “What a memory!”
person standing using red umbrella

Ramblings on a rainy day

It has been raining incessantly since last night. Can’t help but write these brilliant lines by Robert Frost

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”

Sitting in a high rise, sipping on a cup of hot coffee, one can only romanticize the idea of raindrops falling on pretty flowers in the balcony. The reality is harsher. I look down on the “Kachcha” (mud) houses behind our complex and they are totally submerged under water. How do they see this rain. Surely not the same as me. Such is life.