Monthly Archives: June 2010

Curtain:Poirot’s Last Case

The mark on Norton’s forehead-it was like the brand of Cain..

-From the notes of Capt.Arthur Hastings.

Dame Agatha Christie has a special place in crime fiction. Her most famous creation -M.Hercule Poirot was second only to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Hercule Poirot with his precise manners, his penchant for order, his queer mustache is as famous as the Baker Street detective. Yet, they are unparalleled in their own way.

When Doyle finished off Holmes in The Final Problem, he faced the wrath of the public who went to the extend of mourning a fictitious character. Such was the effect Holmes had on them. Equally impressive is his sidekick Dr.Watson who chronicles all of Holmes’ adventures.

If it was Watson for Holmes, we have Captain Arthur Hastings assisting Poirot in his adventures. From A Mysterious Affair in Styles to the last, they remain an inseparable pair in the reader’s mind.

Curtain:Poirot’s Last Case is the last of the wonderful Poirot mysteries. The way Poirot uses his grey cells and unravels everything at the end in his own way is a treat in itself. Murder on the Orient Express, Death in the clouds, The Hollow, Hickory Dickory Dock, The Big Four, The Labors of Hercules are some of Poirot’s most famous ones and my favorites.If it was all action in Holmes, it is brain work in Poirot’s case.

Poirot summons Hastings one last time to Styles, the place where it all started. Five unrelated murders have occurred, in each case the accused’s guilt proved beyond doubt. But Poirot suspects that there is more that meets the eye. Crippled with arthritis and old age, Poirot engages the help of Hastings to be his eyes and ears and report to him whatever he observes. Poirot feels that this would be his last case and this time the adversary is a clever one. Even Poirot doesn’t stand a chance before his devious schemes.

As Poirot and Hastings cast the net and watch, all doesn’t seem as they are. A murder occurs and Poirot nearly fails in his attempts to lure the criminal. Poirot makes a last ditched effort to catch the criminal and the rest…..is to be read in the book.

It is not easy to write crime fiction. That too establish a certain style and create a memorable character as Poirot and making him seem alive in flesh and blood. But Dame Agatha Christie does the impossible and Poirot truimphs!

Of all the Poirot cases, this one is the most intriguing and baffling one. For as suspicision falls on each one, the suspect is eliminated and Poirot is at his wit’s and races againts time before the next crime takes place-a crime so horrific, ruthless, cunning in nature.

For the rest, do read. You will enjoy it!

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Language Politics:Lawyers

The timing was perfect. The publicity was perfect. The recent protest by a section of lawyers demanding that Tamil be made the arguing language in  Chennai High Court coincided(?!) perfectly with the World Classical Tamil Conference going on in Coimbatore from 23-27 June 2010.

May be they forgot a few points, but the points were brought to our attention the next day in the papers. It is that most of the Judges in the Chennai High Court are not that much fluent in Tamil. It is a common procedure that all proceedings in the High Court go in English. The transcripts, papers, orders are in English in not only Chennai but in any High Court around the country. The plaintiff/defendant may, if so needed, get a copy of the proceedings in their native language. That too it is surprising that in a nation as developed as we are in this stage, our respectable lawyers do not know(or are they reluctant?) to argue in English. Even if they are allowed to argue in Tamil, some one has to translate to the Judge on what is being said.

This has happened in numerous instances. Ajmal Kasab requested that he be provided the details of the charges in his native language. So have been in numerous other cases. But the pitiable stage is that our lawyers are not fluent in English as they ought to be. Let alone in Hindi which a group of them still shun as being a foreign language(remember the language riots of the 1960s?).

A lawyer friend of mine pointed out this pitiable lack of knowledge in a recent conversation. He further said that most of the lawyers do not even know the section numbers properly, let alone give a definition for Haebeus Corpus.  And they are hailed as the champions of the poor!

Shame. Of course, the law student of today is looked upon as a rioter and trouble maker by one and all. That is the standard image they have earned as a result of their recent activities in Tamil Nadu. The times have gone by when a lawyer was looked upon as a learned man/counselor. Many of our valiant freedom fighters and civil servants were/are law graduates. Now he is but a mere functionary who helps in bringing the case to a quick end and pocket his fees. Morality down down.

Many experts and prominant persons have strongly stressed that it is essential to have at least a working knowledge of the English language. They aren’t asking us to avoid our local languages and dialects. But to have adequate knowledge. If this cannot be maintained, then we are far away from being a knowledge society, let alone dream of being a beacon light for other people. It is not enough if we go on providing BPO and other opportunities for our lads with foreign players. It is essential we are knowledgable inside also.

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The Silver Tongue

The seed to this post was planted in a conversation I had with one of my friends who urged me to write motivational posts. This is dedicated to that wonderful friend.

Every one loves to have a silver tongue. Even better, we are thrilled to have a Golden Tongue. Adolf Hitler, Socrates, Plato, Mark Antony- all had the golden tongue in common. Got the point? Yes, I am referring to the art of, or rather the gift of speaking anywhere, anytime and making the audience sway to your words. All it requires is your 100% confidence and will to deliver from the bottom of your heart.

The silver tongue is the next level to the golden tongue. It means a person who is not afraid of the stage, can speak to any number of gathering on any topic. He is a great orator, can mesmerise anyone by his gift of speech.

So how do we develop the silver tongue? It is inherited by:

practice

and/or

natural talent.

By natural talent, if you possess a silver tongue, you will be the envy of your friends and peers. One can also gain it by constant practice. Only one needs to read a lot and commit to memory.

Let me elaborate on this. I am a silver tongued guy. But I wanted to hone it up further. I selected a book of my choice. I saw to it that the book had 30 chapters for the 30 days of the month. Each day, I read one chapter and reproduced it in my own way without changing the contents of the chapter. Say this chapter tells you about memory, I reproduced the same in my speech, with my own bits on memory which I had collected, relevant to the topic. The important thing is total recall of the things that you have in your mental storage relevant to the topic.

By the 30th day, I was even more confidant, having observed my body language and facial features in front of a glass for the 30 day trial. This further removed all doubts from my mind and the result was pure magic.

Sample this – I attended a Teacher’s Day function in my school. After all the guest speakers had finished, the announcer invited any one from the audience to share his views. I bolted up the steps, without a preparation but with a skeleton plan in my mind. For it was a golden opportunity. I started casually, introducing myself and making my point with pieces of anectodes. To add strength, I quoted a poetry line I read long ago in a book that got imprinted in my memory to stress my point. At the end of two minutes, I received a thunderous applause more louder than any of the speakers received. One of my well wishers had this to say-you stole the thunder! I can quote many such instances in this regard.

Another instance was in a beauty contest in my college(he he). I easily got through the written test and went on stage without preparing anything. My fellow contestants were rehearsing their speeches from their papers whereas I was walking around without a fear in my mind. And lo! I got second place and won the admiration of all present there. I was the toast for a long time after that with complete strangers coming up to me and lauding my speech. Imagine making an impromptu speech in front of a gathering of thousand guys. More than delivering the speech, the feeling when you actually speak is terrific and makes you happy.

Such is the extend one can go if one develops his silver tongue. This has been a great boon to me in many instances.

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