Still alive


Random thoughts:

My son turns 10 this month. Double digits. A decade old! Where has the time gone? I can almost have an adult conversation with him. At each stage in his life so far, I have thought it was the best one until he grew another year and surprised me. He is his own person and cannot be influenced by the opinions of others.

I suppose that’s an excuse to write something on the blog. Give it a sense of survival.

I have completed a year at my job! That’s a sentence I never thought I would be able to say if you asked me a few years ago.

I am still skeptical about driving. Although I can drive my husband’s car (a gigantic metal tin) I am worried about the geometry of it. With the narrow roads of Edinburgh, one can bump into anything if one is not careful.

Gone are the days of me sitting down for a couple of hours and reading. I can’t remember the last book I read. Here’s something else I noticed. I tend to forget the books and the plots of those books that I read on the Kindle. Is it because they all feel the same? No texture no uniqueness.

Hopefully this won’t be the only post this year!

What’s new

When you start getting anonymous new followers on your blog, even though you haven’t posted anything for almost close to a year, you have to realise that your blog is being spammed and it’s time to update it.

So hello everyone!

I am still alive and very much in Edinburgh. (Can’t love the city enough!)

Here’s the latest happenings:

My son will turn 9 next month! How did that happen? where did my sweet little baby go and who is this eye rolling (yeah!) monster brat who can get a lot annoying if I let the reins loose.

I got a driving licence last year. yay! In hindsight, it feels silly really. What’s the big deal in getting a driving licence but at the time of learning, it felt major work. Accomplishing something, anything really, after a break of almost 7 years does feel like a major achievement.

I got a job! Woohooo! That’s another accomplishment. Another tick mark to the list of goals. It has been a month since I started working, so now I can say it feels real and it is real. But sometimes I have to pinch myself if this is really true.

Seeing Roger Federer live in action: What a dream come true. We went to see him play at the O2 arena. He lost the match against David Goffin; but to see him, be in the same space as him, what pure joy!

These highs later in the last year were not before I was hit with the lowest of lows. My dear grandmother, my aaji, died last August. It feels surreal, it feels fake. It cannot be true. Writing it down doesn’t make it real or acceptable. People say writing about loss and grief and suffering would somehow lessen it, lessen the blow. I find it impossible to write about it. It feels superficial. You cannot express what you feel and how deep the pain is. I didn’t feel much at the time. I was like a robot, going about doing things that needed done. I was on autopilot going through the motions of life. Life has become so busy. There is no time to grieve, no time to stop and think and feel. And then suddenly it comes crashing down, the gut wrenching pain while you are doing something mundane. A word, a song, a situation, a long forgotten memory, and you have ripped open a wound.

Aansoo ab tum kabhi na behna
Apna dard kisise na kehna

Book Review: The Word is Murder

Source: Review copy from Netgalley
Release Date: Available now from Random House (Century)

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.

A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.

A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.

What do they have in common?

Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller. 


I am so thrilled to have discovered this book. This is a very different murder mystery where the author of the book becomes the narrator of the story. It was odd at first where the author turned narrator and the detective discuss writing a book about the murder that has taken place. I was drawn into it and quite liked it.

Now on to the story. A woman walks into a funeral home to plan her own funeral and 6 hours later, she is dead. Horrowitz mentions many times in the book that Agatha Christie is his hero and you can see it in his writing in the book. The multiple characters with story lines of their own, a second murder, chatty characters, well hidden clues with all ends tied up at the end. At the same time, Horrowitz is the Watson to Hawthrone’s Sherlock.

This is a very interesting and entertaining read. Highly recommended.

Book Review: The Fourth Monkey

Source: Review copy from Netgalley
Release Date: Available now from HQ

See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil… Do No Evil

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorised the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realise he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.


Detective Sam Porter has hunted for this killer for five years. The Four Monkey Killer or 4MK has sent box after box of grisly trinkets carved from the victim’s body to detective Sam Porter. Now, Porter has learnt the killer’s twisted past and has to race against time to save the 4MK’s latest victim before it is too late.

This is a brilliantly twisted book. I read it in a couple if sittings. This is an exquisitely clever thriller which keeps your guessing. The characters have depth and insight. Sam Porter, the detective has his own past and his story unfolds during the course of the book and makes for an absorbing read.

The psychology of the killer is very immersive. The killer’s diary entries are some of the most interesting parts of the book. And what an ending!

The book is graphic and violent and not for the nervous. Those scenes add up to the psychology of the killer. This is one of those books where you want the killer to be punished yet secretly wish for him to get away with it.

Highly recommended!

Book Review: Leopard at the door

Title: Leopard at the door
Author: Jennifer McVeigh
ISBN: 978-0241247617
Publisher: Penguin 
Source: Review copy
Release Date: Available now from Penguin
Rating: 4 out of 5


Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.

But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently.

Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?


This is a beautifully written novel set in the atmospheric background of 1950s Kenya. This is Rachel’s story; an 18 year old British girl who returns to Kenya after staying in England for sis years. We follow her story as she tries to adapt her life to rural Kenya. But Kenya is not the same as it was when she left.

I didn’t know much about the history of Kenya and this made for a fascinating read. The occasional violence is very hard hitting and unsettling.

Jennifer McVeigh’s descriptive style makes it a compelling read. He vivid descriptions of the landscape, the people and their lifestyle draw you into the book.




Follow Jennifer on Twitter




And so it begins. The much awaited and anticipated trip of the year. Next week am off to Mumbai with S. Hubby will come later in the month. We shall be in Mumbai the entire summer. I have been planning this trip for quite some time now. By planning I mean micro-detailing, breaking it down into weeks and days and making a list of things I need to do on those days. This method has hardly been a success in the past, but then one can always hope.

The highlight of the trip is going to be spending some quality time with my grandma. When was the last time I had a sit-down with her? The last I remember is 2009, right after S was born and she was with us. A year after that I had travelled to Edinburgh and even though I have been going to India on holidays, time with her had been short.

Now that she is at my dad’s place, I hope to rekindle and perhaps create some more memorable moments with her. The time she spent in the nursing home, I was engulfed with the most distressing nostalgia and helplessness. ‘Missing her’ wouldn’t cover it. There was this deep emptiness inside me and the thought that I wouldn’t get to spend a relaxed time with her whenever I visited India. It felt like I had to let go of a deep part of me. Time spent with her at the nursing home was limited to an hour. And when you know you have only a fixed time to spend, you can’t really think of all the things you want to say. There was no time to lie down idly and listen to songs and ghazals, there was no time to listen to her little nuggets of wisdom, there was no time to be lazy and be in each other’s company and just be. There was no time to discuss the subtle differences between the urdu ghazal words. There was no time to discuss Lata or Christie or Hardy. Most of the happy memories from my childhood have revolved around her. The summer vacations were spent partly in her home. Being in her company was enough. We didn’t have to do anything special to feel happy.

It has been predicted that this year will have a lot of rain. This looks like the perfect setup to have lots of chai and gupshup with aaji.

Indians stop being nosy please! #indianparenting

This post is a vent to a very recent (early morning today) incident I had to face with another Indian parent at school. And I stress Indian for a reason. Today was a drop in session at school. During such sessions, parents are invited to visit their child’s class and have a look at their work while the class work is in progress. Usually, you get to see their books, what their current topic is and the writing/math work they do.

Now the usual ethics and attitude that the firang people follow is that they are only concerned with their child’s progress. They won’t ask you nosy/irritating questions about your or any other’s child. Unless of course there is some altercation going on between the kids. Now, my son was the only Indian/Asian kid in his class of 30 until another Indian boy joined in last year. So today this boy’s mother came along for the drop in session too. All parents were at their kid’s desk going through their books. This lady, after looking at her son’s books, came over towards me where I was standing and watching S do his work. Ignoring me, she sits down next to him and asks him whether she can look at his book. I was SO SO appalled!

First of all why the hell does she want to look at my son’s books? Second of all, when am standing right there (an adult AND the kid’s mother) why doesn’t she ask me whether she can look at his book?? And last, why in the world do want to see and THEN of course compare your child’s work with mine?

I am so frustrated and exhausted with this typical Indian mentality of parents comparing their kid with other kids. It is always about competition. What classes your kid goes to? What clubs he has joined. Then they send their kids to the same classes and start comparing grades. I remember in school, while my dad was busy scolding me for the wrong answers in the paper, other parents were busy comparing papers and arguing with the teacher about “giving more marks to this child and that and not giving marks to their kid even if he had written the same answer”. What rubbish!

In a class of 30 kids, what are you going to achieve by comparing notebooks? To think in terms of success. To think in terms of comparison. And I have experienced this mentality only in Indian parents. As soon as this boy joined school, all his mother asked me was if I had enrolled S in a zillion classes, does he know how to read and write in his mother tongue.

This is the first time I have experienced this nonsense and I am glad that the other 28 kids are not Indians. The exasperation I tell you! All these conversations irritate me and intimidate me. I don’t give a shit whether my son is the best in his class or in the school. I am happy he has friends, he can talk confidently and is generally a bubbly easy going boy and I know when and how and more importantly in which areas to push him for this own betterment.

I hope she is feeling better about herself! after comparing her kid with ONE other Indian kid.

How do you make such parents keep their noses in their own  business??

-A frustrated mom

Blog Tour – Book Review: Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris

Very happy to take part in this blog tour today! Thank you Netgalley and Mirabooks UK for sharing this review copy with me.


Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.You’d like to get to know Grace better.But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of their bedroom windows.
Sometimes the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.


I finished this book in one sitting. Grace and Jack are the perfect couple. Jack is handsome and wealthy, Grace is elegant and charming and the perfect hostess. They have a friend circle who might just envy them for their perfection together. They have a beautiful secluded house, they are so in love and Jack never leaves Grace’s side. They have a perfect marriage, perfect house, a perfect love story. But when the laughter is over, the friends gone home, it is a different story.

Grace’s narration gripped me from the start and I could feel her helplessness and wished a miracle should save her. Grace’s story alternates between past and present. We learn how she met Jack and fell in love with him instantly when Jack showed kindness and empathy towards Grace’s sister who has Down’s syndrome.

Jack has charm and good looks and it is only natural for Grace to fall in love him. It is quite scary to see his true colours as soon as they are married. He is a truly evil character and exceptionally clever to manipulate and control Grace. You begin to wonder if Grace will ever break free from his trap.

Behind Closed Doors is a tense and claustrophobic psychological thriller An interesting take on the subject of domestic violence, Behind Closed Doors is highly addictive and engrossing.

Rating: 4 out of 5

BAParisAuthor info:
B A Paris is from a Franco/Irish background. She was brought up in England and moved to France where she spent some years working as a trader in an international bank before re-training as a teacher and setting up a language school with her husband. They still live in France and have five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.


Follow BA on Twitter @BAParisAuthor



To purchase “Behind Closed Doors” click HERE

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