Book Review: The Temp by Michelle Frances

temp 1Looking for suspenseful stories with strong female characters who are not breathing down each other’s neck all the time, Michelle Frances’ The Temp is for you.

For me, the main attraction of this book is its cover (a lady working on her laptop at a workplace) and the title. Not only that, I also like the synopsis. (Side note: I always go through the synopsis to get a little insight about the story before purchasing a book.)

Apparently, it appears a thriller with undertones of domestic drama where talented young woman is looking to replace a successful older woman. The narrative is told from the perspectives of two women: Carrie and Emma who have different views of each other but there is one constant in their life, Adrian, of course for different reasons.

Carrie, in her 40s, has a successful career as a producer of television programmes. She comes across a very strong, confident and smart lady in her domain. Her husband Adrian is also an award winning screenwriter in the television industry. They are content in their professional and personal lives but life takes an unusual turn which completely jolts them.

As a couple, Carrie and Adrian decide not to have children; primarily because they both want to focus on their career. However, fate has something else stored for them; Carrie gets pregnant and the problem arises when she chooses to keep the baby, and this puts her relationship with her husband off balance.

Moreover, they are prepared to start a new show which needs time and with this pregnancy, Adrian and her friend as well as managing director of Hawks Pictures Liz suggest to hire a replacement for few months. This is where Emma enters as a temp who is intelligent; and despite coming from a well off family, she has always struggled to be the daughter on whom her parents can be proud of. What is interesting is that Carrie never wants Emma to be employed as her replacement.

the tempBeing pregnant, Carrie cannot stay in the office for long duration due to pain and dizziness. Insanity and jealousy run rampage on Carrie’s part especially when Adrian, Liz and everyone in the office are all praise about Emma’s work.  The last nail in the coffin for Carrie is the birth of her newborn baby boy Rory. Her baby keeps her busy all the time and since she has no support from Adrian, she begins to drift away from her husband and her colleagues. As a consequence, she feels isolated and subconsciously put all the blame on Emma. Carrie does not realise that this is all work of her creative mind (pun intended).

British-based author Frances has established herself as a mature, knowing and new voice in the genre of psychological thriller with her bestseller The Girlfriend. Her debut novel took on the issues of unforgiveable lies and twisted relationships. Her second book deals with the relationships caught in the crossfire of all scheming and manipulation.

I do understand that the author has shown some sort of conflict between two female protagonists. Also, the book cover gives an impression to the reader of Emma being conniving who wants to usurp Carrie’s life, which is why both women will compete over Carrie’s husband Adrian. Clearly, this is not all! The book offers much more to the reader’s delight.

If you want to read full review, the link is https://www.dawn.com/news/1471385

 

 

 

To-do or not to-do

to do listMonday is start of the week. And after weekend, this is the day we all dread for different reasons; be it work, university, school or household chores. For past few days, I was all over the place and it is because I was doing everything on an impulse.

Therefore, I have decided to write a to-do list which will help organise my day. I used to follow this ritual before but then I left it.

Several studies have revealed that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do. This is because once you write down the tasks that you need to do, you are clear in your mind.

The best part is the internal satisfaction you get when you cross them one-by-one.

According to psychologists, writing a to-do list lessens anxiety, gives you a plan that you can stick to and is proof of what you can achieve that day.

To-do list is different from time table. You are not bound by time. You do things according to your own convenience. This is easy to follow compared to time table.

Here is to a new start and hope this will help structure your day as well as your life.

What do you think about to-do list? How much does this help you in organising your day? Share your answers in the comment section.

Jealousy Can Ruin Healthy Relationship

othelloOthello is one of the classics of William Shakespeare. What I like most about this play is the theme of jealousy depicted in the play, and is still relevant in the modern world.

Othello is a great and wise man, except for his blindness of thought and the rashness of action caused by his jealousy. He becomes angry when he sees a very small possibility of his wife, Desdemona’s infidelity.

Also, Roderigo is jealous of Othello’s marriage with Desdemona and he is blinded by his obsessive passion for Desdemona. However, it is Othello’s jealousy that brings about the destruction and tragedy in his otherwise happily married life.

The other theme more prominent is the psychological manipulation of Iago. He is the one who instigates Othello against his wife and loyal friend Cassio.

The foundation of healthy relationship is based on trust and sincerity. There is no room of jealousy in a stable relation. Jealousy is powerful. It can ruin relationships and make good, well-meaning people act in ways they never imagined like the heroic character of Othello.

Jealousy can make spouses abusive or in extreme cases, a killer. It’s important that partners should have open communication so that no one dares to sow the seed of jealousy or create misunderstanding in their relation.

Ready To Take That Leap?

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At times, we hold on to people for so long; not realising that this may be suffocating the relationship. The fact is what is meant for us will not go away and what is not, let it go. Set yourself and them free so that you may see the bigger plan that Almighty has made for you.

We do know that this is going nowhere but we keep on lingering because we hope that one day things will turn in our favour. We pray and still see no result. We feel disheartened and want to shout and cry. I reckon there is nothing wrong to feel sad. It’s normal. However, nobody can understand our tears more than Almighty Allah. Indeed He is Al-Aleem (The All-Knowing, The Omniscient). He is aware of all things, even before they happen.

It’s true that brokenness and desperation lead us to finally let go to Allah and admit powerlessness. Faith is the only way that can bring us out from darkness. Believe that He can heal all wounds. We only need to embark on the journey for true surrender to the Will of Almighty Allah. It’s not an easy path. We may falter and lose. Knowing how difficult this may be, the question is, are we ready to take that leap? Am I ready to take that leap?

Khaani: A Tale Of Love And Repentance

 

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Few days ago, I binge watched Pakistani drama ‘Khaani’. To my surprise, the story was a true delight. What stood out was Feroz Khan’s performance as Mir Hadi. The story revolves around Hadi who killed Khaani’s brother Sarim in a heated moment. The only mistake Sarim made that he came in Mir Hadi’s way which made him furious and within a second Hadi took out his gun and shot Sarim. After that Khaani registered FIR against Mir Hadi but due to influential background of his father, he got away with the murder. In the meantime Hadi felt in love with Khaani because she showed him courage and didn’t waver in front of him.

Hadi tried to persuade Khaani into marriage but she refused, causing Hadi to forcefully get betrothed to her. khaaniThis led Khaani and her family to run away. Hadi searched for her everywhere and later found her getting married to her boss, Arham. Mir Hadi kidnapped Khaani on her wedding day, but due to Khaani’s words, he let her go. Hadi realised that he is not good enough for Khaani. Hadi started seeking the meaning behind his feelings. He found tranquility at Sufi shrine which also became his abode. In the end, the case was reopened and this time Hadi declared himself guilty and requested for death penalty.

Feroz Khan has been phenomenal in this drama. Few scenes like when he drops Khaani to her 2-sliders-3house after her abduction and comes back to his own home, he cries badly. Also, the scenes of his quest to find true love and his journey of spirituality are spellbinding. It is heartbreaking to see Hadi helpless in front of his love. Each and every scene of Feroz was magnificent. 

While watching this drama, I felt as I was on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Therefore, if you have no plans on this weekend, I recommend you to watch Khaani. Especially for Feroz Khan and the story. I am sure you will love both.

You Deserve To Be Happy…

 

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Photo by the writer

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel you are no good? Has anyone made you feel worthless? Have you ever thought why you always feel bad about yourself? Are you doing right? Is all what is happening is your fault? Are you as bad as a person? Is something wrong with you?

These thoughts have all been with me for the past five to six years. Every day when you are told that you are a selfish person and you only think about yourself; gradually you begin to think that you are nothing but a useless person with no heart.

I had been there in that situation where I was constantly assuring and reassuring myself that it’s just normal to feel this way but fighting each day with these thoughts really consumed my energy.

Recently, Oxford Dictionaries has chosen toxic as its word of 2018. Toxic means poison and living in a toxic relation or environment suck the joy and happiness from within you and replace with anger and sadness. And who knows this better than me.

Let me tell you honestly, coming out of it was not an easy feat. It took me a while (read many years) to realise that I am not wrong but I am actually stuck in a wrong situation. The only thing which pulls me out of this mess was me! Yes, nobody can help you until you help yourself and that what I did. And the strength I receive, to do this, was one and only my Almighty Allah.

The best solution to come out of this poison is to surround yourself with your loved ones and say goodbye to those who add nothing but negative energy into your life.

  • Be with positive people, work and relation.
  • Explore the inner side of you which you have lost down the line.
  • Do not be scared to be on your own.
  • Learn to forgive yourself and the one who has inculcated toxicity in your life for your sanity (but don’t forget what that relation did to you).
  • Focus on the goodness in your life.
  • Keep in mind that you are not a bad person to leave this relation or environment, you have only done this for your mental and emotional stability.

And lastly, do remember, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY!

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Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone Now!

 

highway-movie-hd-wallpaperI like the Bollywood movie – Highway – and especially this photo still (above). It was released more than three years ago. In this movie, the female protagonist (Alia Bhatt) discovers about life and herself.

There are several moments in this movie which I love; however, what piques my interest is that the character of Alia actually finds herself after she steps out of her comfort zone (in this case: her cozy home and luxurious life).

So, what is comfort zone? A place where you feel secure and at ease. It’s not bad right? I mean, you are comfortable, so you must be happy and content. Being in comfort zone indicates familiarity.  We live in the patterned world of our existence that keep us relatively comfortable and calm, and help us stay away from mental and emotional instability.

Unfortunately that’s not the case. The longer you stay within your comfort zone or in daily rut, the less happy you tend to be.

madiha 4The question is: If you want to stay in your comfort zone for entire life, then how will you know what it is like behind that invisible line?

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new”. –Brian Tracy

The only reason that halts you to not cross that line is the fear of ‘what if’ you do not make it through. We fear to challenge ourselves mainly because we may fail or get hurt in the process. The problem is nothing ever grows when you stay in the comfort zone, except laziness, anxiety and fears.

higway 1According to wise folks, the only time you feel the magic happens is when you step outside your comfort zone.  Stepping out of your comfort zone is the most difficult task in your life and yet this gives you immense happiness.

It’s only when you push the boundaries of what you feel is comfortable, and challenge yourself to try new things.

When you go on an adventure, when you explore and experiment and, yes, take a bit of a risk; that’s when you learn and grow and, ultimately, you fulfil your passion and accomplish your desires and goals. You may have an inkling while moving out of your comfort zone but don’t fret because this is normal. Instead stand in front of the mirror and say it out a loud: ‘I am strong and I can do this, so bring it on!’

And who knows, you may also find contentment and meaning in your life outside your comfort zone just like the female protagonist finds it in the movie.