Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mistaken Author … once again


I wrote some time ago about the case of the Mistaken Author. I had misunderstood Alfred Hitchcock as the author of the Three Investigators Series during my school days since I would see the introduction by him at the beginning of each story. Only last year, while I came across a 3I book did I realize that the characters were created by Robert Arthur. He wrote the stories and only the introduction/foreword came from Alfred Hitchcock.

I started reading the entire series and when I came to the 12th book/story in the series; I was surprised to see the author name change. I again began looking for info about this changed authorship. A little googling gave me some insight into what happened. Here is bits and pieces of what I found.

The Three Investigators Mystery Series is a juvenile book series that was created by Robert Arthur, Jr. in the early 1960's. 

Robert Arthur's idea was to write a series that was similar in some ways to the Hardy Boys and other popular juvenile fiction of the day but which exhibited a higher quality of writing along with some extremely unusual and perplexing mysteries.  The cover art and detailed internal illustrations initially provided by talented artists Harry Kane and Ed Vebell were also strong factors which helped with the success of this series.  While the mysteries are often incredible, The Three Investigators themselves are, for the most part, simply your everyday, average, resourceful, American boys which makes this series more realistic and appealing than most.

In 1967/1968 with his health in decline, Robert Arthur sought out Dennis Lynds to help continue writing Three Investigators books.  Working first on #10 Mystery of the Moaning Cave, Dennis Lynds wrote under the pseudonym of William Arden.  Robert Arthur died on May 2, 1969 and his final Three Investigators book, #11 The Mystery of the Talking Skull, was published later that year.

In addition to Dennis Lynds, Kin Platt writing as Nick West and Mary Carey writing as M.V. Carey were hired in the early 1970's to keep up with the two book per year pace set by Arthur.

Not just authors, but even the Man who would introduce the 3I was to change. When Alfred Hitchcock died in 1980, Random House chose to replace him (Alfred Hitchcock) with the fictitious mystery writer Hector Sebastian and in 1981 the series became known as "The Three Investigators Mystery Series". 

Monday, March 28, 2011

IQ Testing and Psychitrist services for children at B J Wadia Hospital

I got this info from a friend who got it from someone who seems to have called up and verified the info.


From Dr Vani                                                                                                      Mar 23, '11

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am happy to inform you that we have now expanded our services and following are available at B J Wadia, CGC MUMBAI

1. IQ testing

2. Developmental quotient testing

3. Psychiatric evaluation and treatment (Outpatient only)

4. Counseling

(1 & 2 are available at nominal charges, while 3 & 4 are available for Rs 10/- per visit)

All patients are required to register at the main counter and then be present for consultation on Mondays and Thursdays between 12.30 and 2 pm.Kindly note the above and we hope that maximum number of patients will avail of these services.

Please feel free to tell everybody about this.




PH – 022 2418 5646


 I think this is an excellent opportunity (for an extremely low cost) for many a families in Mumbai. Request all readers of this info to spread the word.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Houdini Uncle and Dorothy Aunty !!

Google celebrated the birthday of world famous escape artisit, Harry Houdini, with a Google Doodle.

Harry Houdini, the legendary escape artist, was born on March 24, 1874. He would have been 137 now. Houdini pushed the boundaries of stage magic with daring escapes; his tricks involved straitjackets, being submerged, and being buried alive. If you've ever watched the likes of Criss Angel: Mindfreak, you will have seen modern-day variations of several Houdini escapes
Interestingly …. Harry Houdini had been friends with Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who believed that Houdini had supernatural powers. Harry Houdini's insistence that he was a normal man ruined their friendship.
While we talk and remember Houdini and how he changed the performing landscape for so called magicians and illusionists; its also worthwhile to make note of yet another small news item.
Dorothy Young, Harry Houdini's last living assistant, died on March 20, 2011 at the age of 103. Young joined Houdini's company as a teenager after attending an open casting call during a family trip to New York. During her year with Houdini's stage show in the mid-1920s, she played the role of "Radio Girl of 1950," emerging from a large mock-up of a radio and performing a dance routine.
(Note - hardly any of the content above barring a few words have been written by me. they have been picked up from online articles on Houdini and Dorothy)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ten things to learn from Japan

I came across another short and to-the-point article about the Japanese behaviour in the face of a major disaster / calamity. Couldnt help but share since it is relevant anywhere, anytime irrespective of time, place, culture, country.  
Ten things to learn from Japan Earthquake / Tsunami


Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.


Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.


The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn't fall.


People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.


No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.


Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?


Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.


The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.


They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.


When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Even though the Earth quakes … the Japanese doesn’t !

Past one week, I read several article and news items regarding the devastation in Japan and the continued tragedy, Today I read a couple of articles about the Japanese people and their grit, stoicism and calm, even in the face of a great calamity that literally continues to rock them every hour even today. The world has a lot to learn from Japanese.

Here are excerpts of some of the articles.

'It's utterly amazingly that where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.

Alongside the chaos and destruction wrought by the terrible earthquake and tsunami have been scenes of heart-breaking orderliness and self-control. Japan is prostrate and fearful, but there are no reports of widespread looting, panic or hoarding. There is, as yet, very little anger directed at the government.'

'This extraordinary stoicism can be summed up by the Japanese word GAMAN, a concept that defies easy translation but broadly means calm forbearance, perseverance and poise in the face of adverse events beyond one's control. Gaman reflects a distinctively Japanese mentality, the direct consequence of geography and history in a country where the cycle of destruction and renewal is embedded in the national psyche. The Japanese are not earthquake-proof but, like their buildings and bridges, resilience has become inbuilt in a nation adapted to sway and bend under shocks that would shatter other societies.Japan has known utter devastation before, and the horror of nuclear fallout, but its recovery after 1945, and the ensuing economic miracle, owed much to this uncomplaining tenacity, a collective pride in endurance, survival and reconstruction.'

'when the earthquake hit, there was almost no panic among his co-workers in their office. They were very disciplined. He reached the Nagoya railway station about 40 mins after the earthquake and expected to see chaos. They learnt that a segment of the bullet train tracks to Tokyo was damaged and hence their train was likely to be delayed. He says that the entire station had about 2000 persons but everyone was waiting patiently. They que-ed in front of the Enquiry counter to find details. Some railway personnel were standing outside and helping people with information. Those whose trains were unlikely to run that day were being given blankets and pillows and food and directed to shelters. He and his Japanese colleague went to the nearby cafeteria and had dinner. His colleague commented that if they panic, it would only make it more difficult for the authorities to work and help. In the meantime the tracks were repaired in about 2 1/2 hrs and their train left for Tokyo, travelling at 150 Kmph throughout. While they were waiting to buy tickets, there was a long line but people were very disciplined and did not panic.'


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Holy Shit !! Snake bites model. Snake Dies !!

Thats a very interesting news item my friend brought to my notice ...
LONDON: A snake attacked an Israeli model during a sexy photoshoot by biting into her surgically enhanced breast and later died from silicone poisoning.
What is this world coming to ....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It takes an earthquake to remind us

Before and After satellite pictures of Japan...

Don't miss the slider at the centre of each photo on page which you can slide across the spot/place before (4th March) and after (12 March).

The devastation and extent of damage is clearly visible and one can only wonder how helpless humankind is against the fury of nature. We are slowly gradually and systematically destroying our environment and now … nature has begun to show visible violent reactions.

Think about the number of natural calamities that have struck various parts of the globe in the past decade and then compare that to the number of natural calamities in the last century. We have done a lot of damage in the past century and have already paid a very heavy price in one single decade of this century.

Typhoons, Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Forest Fires, Extreme Weather , Floods, Famines, Snowfalls and avalanches … you name it and we have had record breaking ones in past decade.


Two quotes make a bit of sense here …

It takes an earthquake to remind us that we walk on the crust of an unfinished earth.

~ Charles Kuralt

Because … .. .

People tend to focus on the here and now. The problem is that, once global warming is something that most people can feel in the course of their daily lives, it will be too late to prevent much larger, potentially catastrophic changes."

~ Elizabeth Kolbert

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quitting to Win

About a year ago, I made a very short blog post titled 'Winners and Quitters'
I came across a quote today which puts a nice perspective to Quitting to Win ...  

 Employ the power of positive quitting. Most of us view quitting as something negative, but it's not. 'Winners never quit,' we're told, when, in reality, winners quit all the time: choosing to stop doing things that aren't creating the results they desire. When you quit all the things that aren't working for you, when you quit tolerating all the negative things that hold you back, you'll create a positive 'charge' in your life as well as create the space in your life for more positive experiences.

 ~Jim Allen, Inspirational Speaker, Author and Life Coach

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

80 second stress buster

Here's a 80 second stress buster for times when you feel stressed out (for whatever reasons … )

Laurel and Hardy dancing to the song Massakkali from Delhi 6 .... enZoy !!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

You Know You Grew Up in India in the 90s when…

This came as an email forward and refreshed quite a few memories …. I have marked the ones that I identify with personally.


You Know You Grew Up in India in the 90s when…

1) You know the words to 'In-pin-safety-pin' and 'akkad-bakkad' by heart

2) Cricket is almost a religion for you, and you idolize at least one of Rahul Dravid/Sachin Tendulkar/Saurav Ganguly

3) You have read at least some Chacha Chaudhary or Tinkle comics … many in fact

4) You've watched Shaktimaan on TV at least once in your life. And you can immediately recognize the character when you see him.

5) You watched corny dubbed versions of Small Wonder, Silver Spoon, and I Dream of Jeanie

7) A visit to Pizza Hut used to mean a special treat

8) You have seen Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun at least 5 times each … not 5 times

9) You still remember the theme song of Hum Paanch. (Hum Paanch, Pam Pam Pam Paanch!)

10) You have played hours upon hour of running and catching, chor-police, lagori, saankli, 'Doctor, doctor, help us!', 'Lock and key'

11) Dog 'in' the bone was your favorite co-ed game.

12) You collected trump cards of wrestlers, cricketers, and airplanes, and did not quite understand why your younger siblings were obsessed with Pokemon and the other Japanese trends that followed.

13) Your summer vacations were often synonymous with visiting your grandparents or cousins

14) Bole mere lips, I love uncle Chips!

15) You know the song 'Made in India' by Alisha Chinai

16) You have seen many many many episodes of 'Antakshari' on Zee TV and know the only thing constant in the show is Annu Kapoor.

17) You were the coolest thing in class if you had a computer in your house while it was still the 90s.

18) You couldn't wait to start 4th standard so you could start writing with PENS instead of with pencils!

19) You often used terms and phrases like 'two-say', 'same to you, back to you, with no returns', and 'shame shame, puppy shame, all the donkeys know your name.'

20) You most probably saw Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge at the cinema at least once. You also fantasized about singing songs in mustard fields as in the movie.

21) You have said 'haw' or 'yuck' when you saw people kissing in English movies. (nowadays kids are used to it!)

22) Titanic was your FIRST favourite english movie.

23) You thought seeing English movies and speaking English made you the coolest thing ever.

24) You remember the Gujarat earthquake very clearly and could possibly tell everyone EXACTLY what you were doing when the earthquake occurred (yes, this happened in 2001, January 26, 2001, to be exact — but this group is about the things that Indian kids that GREW UP in the 90s remember and identify with).

25) Barbies for girls, and GI Joes for boys were the ultimate status symbols. You just wanted more more more and more. And how can I forget Hot Wheels, for both boys and girls?

26) You thought 'imported' clothes were definitely way better than 'made in India' clothes (never mind that a lot of clothes brought from overseas by NRI relatives were actually made in India, before 'Made in China' started appearing on EVERY existing thing)

27) "Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai Pata Chala Hai! Chaddi Pehen Ke Phool Khila Hai Phool Khila Hai!" You watched "The Jungle Book" every Sunday morning at 9.a.m" and just loved mowgli, bhalu and bagheera. A few years later, you watched Disney Hour, which had cartoons like Aladdin, Gummy Bears, Tail Spin, Uncle Scrooge! And DuckTales too

28) At some point or other, cool was your favourite, and therefore, most overused word.

29) You loved licking off the cream from the centre of Bourbon biscuits.

30) There were no Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Puma- Bata and Liberty was the way to go for your sports shoes.

31) You have probably consumed more Frooti in your lifetime than there is oil in Iraq.

32) You bought packets of potato chips for the specific purpose of collecting Tazos. And you had Tazos depicting everyone from Confucius to Daffy Duck to Daffy Duck dressed as Confucius.

33) For the longest time, the Maruti 800, the Premier Padmini, THE Fiat, and THE Ambassador were the only cars you saw on the road, and the Contessa was cool because it was bigger.

34) You would literally jump up in excitement if you ever chanced upon an imported car (Oh my gosh, is that really a MERCEDES?)!

35) You used to Fuzen gum. You also chewed Big (big) Babool and/or Boom Boom Boomer chewing gum. They were bright pink and disgusting tasting, but you loved them for the temporary tattoos.

36) Talking of temporary tattoos, you sometimes had contests with your classmates about who had more tattoos on their arm, leg, knee, hand, forehead, wherever.

37) You thought Mario and Contra were the coolest things ever invented, especially if you were a boy.

38) You knew that having the latest Hero or Atlas bicycle would make you the coolest kid on the block.

39) You can imitate Sushmita Sen's winning gasp to perfection

40) You have, at some point of time, worn GAP clothes (real or fake) like SRK in KKHH.

46) Seemingly senseless acronyms like SRK, DDLJ, DTPH, KKHH actually make sense to you..

47) You have at some point debated who was more beautiful- Aishwarya or Sushmita.

48) You would watch WWF keenly every evening/afternoon and loved Bret Hart "Hitman"! really thought Undertaker had seven lives and he made an "actual" appearance in the Akshay Kumar- starrer Khiladiyon ka Khiladi.

49) You remember the Nirma girl.

50) You remember the 'doodh doodh piyo glass full doodh' ad and also the 'laal kaala peela, gulabi hara neela classic hai badia bristles wala' and 'roz khao ande' ads.

51) You grew up reading, if you read at all, some or all of Nancy Drews, Enid Blyton books, Hardy Boys, Babysitters Club, Animorphs, Goosebumps, Sweet Valley series, Judy Blumes, and Tintin, or Archie comics. Because naturally, reading foreign authors made you much cooler than reading Tinkle.

52) Towards the late 90s (1998-99) at least some of us started our Harry Potter obsessions! (For me it was Jan 2002 ;- read first 4 in 10 days)

53) You absolutely HAD to go to Essel World if you were with cousins! "Essel World mein rahoonga main, ghar nahin nahin jaaonga main!"

54) You watched the Bournvita Quiz contest on TV pretty religiously. The smarter ones amongst you actually took part in it and had your entire school and your entire extended families watch you on it!

55) Maggi 2 Minute Noodles = ultimate snack (and tiffin, lunch, dinner)!

56) If you grew up in the early 90s, you recall the nation's obsession with Mahabharata on TV

57) In the later 90s, you religiously followed Hip Hip Hooray on Zee. Maybe Just Mohabbat on Sony too

58) You remember parzan dastur sayin "JALEBI!!!!" in the Dhara Ad

59) You eagerly awaited Friendship Day, so you could give friendship bands to all your friends, and get bands from them in return. Then, of course, those with the most bands loved to show them off.

60) Backstreet Boys' "Quit Playing Games" was one of the first english songs that you LOVED!

61) Andaz Apna Apna is and most probably will always be your favourite comedy flick!! "Aila Jhakaas!!!"

62) This list made you smile.


Miss that age, it was sooo awesome! And I could relate to most of them actually !!

Note - The list is not complete. No. 6 and 41 to 45 are missing  (anyone got them)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

February Reading …


1. Sherlock Holmes: The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Yet another Sherlock Holmes short story … distinctive thing about this one was indeed very curious. I could not identify the title nor the story line … but somewhere midway there was this part about Sherlock scrutinizing the crime scene and collecting some gray dust.

I instantly had a déjà vu kind of vision of an image (illustration) depicting the same (Sherlock standing near a tree). The next moment I had a flash of memory that the dust was but cigar ash which Sherlock would use to identify the murderer. Strangely, I did not remember absolutely any other detail of the story.


2. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Skeleton Island by Robert Arthur

This one was like teenage Indiana Jones kind. An island, treasure, ghost stories etc. all put together in a single capsule. It even had a situation where the kids get trapped in a cave which practically no one knows about. A very interesting one.


3. Sherlock Holmes: The Five Orange Pips by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I did not like this one much. There wasn't much of action and it tended to be more of an arm chair investigation with very little leg work; also this one did not culminate in the culprit getting caught.

There was a distinct recollection of the story title but absolutely no memory of the actual story or any part thereof. Even while reading the story, I could not pre-empt any part of the story


4. Sherlock Holmes: The Man with a Twisted Lip by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I did not like this one either. There wasn't much of action and it again turned out to be an arm chair investigation (in fact, not even an arm chair but a seat made of 5 pillows) with very little leg work; also this one did not culminate in the culprit getting caught, simply because the crime was not even committed in the first place.

Like another story, in this one I recognized a small sequence where Sherlock was in a dirty drug den in disguise and he surprised Watson … The rest of the story was neither so remarkable nor exciting to cling top my memory


5. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Silver Spider by Robert Arthur

The best one till now … This one has a very adventurous flavor to it. It also had its comic moments when Bob bumps his head and suffers from partial amnesia … and that too TWICE. And then there are the two spiders which are integral to the mystery of the missing silver spider. The kids get close to dying and then escaping through dungeons and sewers while. A very exciting read …


6. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The title did not really stir any memory but the mention of 'Sherlock examining a hat' stirred all that was there in the subsequent page … all the deductions that Sherlock had drawn about the man who owned the hat, just by examination of the hat. Of course, there were no further memories about the case or its details.

There was an extremely fine display of deduction powers in the story which incidentally did not have any bearing on the case. The thief also was caught by chance although Sherlock would have eventually caught him the next day.


7. Feluda: Kailash Chowdhury's Jewel by Satyajit Ray

This one was better than the first one. It involved an invaluable ring which is at the centre of the crime story. The cast of the story includes various characters supported and several strange animals :) who belong to a personal zoo.


8. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The title stirred plenty of memories … the story line, the backdrop, Sherlock's deductions, the climax … everything was fresh in my memory as if I had read the story just last year and not some 15-18 years ago.


9. Feluda: The Anubis Mystery by Satyajit Ray

This one was a decent one. No great mystery; just some good thinking by Feluda. There is nothing much there worth mentioning.


10. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Screaming Clock by Robert Arthur

A very interesting one … starts out with an alarm clock that comes to the Junkyard … The weird thing is that it screams rather than ring… Jupiter finds it amusing and mysterious and begins to investigate only to find that there is not one but a room full of screaming clocks.

He begins to investigate and they encounter dangerous people … only to discover towards the end that there are stolen paintings worth half a million dollars involved. The loot is carefully and ingeniously concealed in the room of screaming clocks.


12. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Engineers Thumb by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Well … I had no memory of this one … and rightly so. There was no great mystery or any significant deduction to be done by Holmes. Neither were the criminals caught.  


13. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Yet another case of arm-chair deductions with a little bit of field work to actually locate the guilty party. There were some good deductions made but neither the story nor the mystery ware not interesting enough.


14. Feluda: Trouble in Gangtok by Satyajit Ray

Yet another Feluda story … nothing special worth mentioning !!



Yet another coincidence this month, two stories dealt with a lost/stolen jewels and strangely both were BLUE; the blue carbuncle from Sherlock and blue Beryl Kailash Chowdhury's Jewel from Feluda.


Series Completion Score (as of 28 Feb 2011):  

Three Investigators     9 out of 35

Feluda                         4 out of 35

Sherlock Holmes         12 out of 56

Total                           23 out of 126

Realizing that I am reading too much of the same genre (detective, mystery, deductions) … I had picked up a dozen books here in Dubai. So I have now picked up one of them … Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

I am exopecting reading score to be less in March ... gonna be busy !

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Awesome Spellbinding Experience

 The Wafi Sound & Light Theme Show was an Awesome Spellbinding Experience

This was an absolutely amazing experience. An out-of-this-world show of laser lights, projections, music and grandeur. I have seen this thrice in the past one month (on 2 occasions) and I can see it again and again.


Anybody visiting Dubai should sirely visit Wafi Mall and catch this spectacular show.