10 March 2008

Old is Gold!

Books are my foremost passion. One of my favorite authors is Agatha Christie. I have been fond of her who-dun-its right from college. Her books are famous for the two characters(detectives) created by her- Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Though the former is quite well-known due to his moustache and "little grey cells", Miss Marple was always rather unbelievable to most readers. They could not quite grasp the concept that a 70 year old "fluffy old lady" living in a quaint remote village of St. Mary Mead was able to solve the most difficult murder cases.

Miss Marple is a very keen observer of human nature. She is an elderly spinster who has no immediate family to keep her occupied. This leaves her ample time and energy to keep herself informed of all happenings around her in minute detail. Whenever she meets a new person she tries to draw a parallel with any existing acquaintance of hers. From long experience she knows that people usually fall into one of the many patterns. Once the pattern is known, it is easy to predict what the person will do or how he/she will behave next. This is her modus operandi to solve most of the cases.

When I used to read these books in college I thought some of the plots involving Miss Marple were rather contrived. I could not believe that an old lady so wholly disconnected with all the modernization, could solve a murder by just sitting quietly in her yard while knitting!

But as I grew older(am in my early thirties) and experieced more of life, I've realized that being older does not mean being out of touch. Though technology keeps getting updated, human beings remain the same. Human psyche and nature remain the same no matter which part of the world you go to or which era of history you open up. And because of this, the older you are, the more people you come in contact with, the more expertise you gain at "knowing" people. This is also the reason why "experienced" people are made managers in corporates.

Today I have the highest respect for Miss Marple and her theories. Hats off to Agatha Christie for thinking of such a character and using her so beautifully in her books. It reflects the author's own intelligence and wisdom. Needless to say, I remain a fan to this day.

Moral of the story - Never underestimate the wisdom of any old person in your acquaintance, for knowledge can never replace experience!

5 comments:

Veena said...

Neel,

Dont remember most of the stories now.. but I remember enjoying reading Agatha Christie a lot.. ya.. Hercule perot and Miss Maple are both interesting characters..

Usha said...

Agatha christie is one of my favourite authors too. in fact i believe I own most of her detective books. The reason i enjoy her books is that her solving of the crime is mostly by psychological analysis of the people concerned, rather than action! She also wrote a few general novels under another name...something westamacott(i think). try and read them--they carry her penchant for psychoanalysing people further!!

Nilu said...

Dear ushu tai,
I believe I have read one of her books under the name of Mary Westmacott at your place only. I have yet to read the others.

Shruti said...

Dear Nilu,

I love Agatha Christie too. There is one book of hers that is my favorite though. It is called "Secret of the chimneys". Have you read it. I love the two main characters in the book. There is one more book she wrote in the same setting (some of the characters and the venue is same) which is "The seven dials mystery" but "Chimneys..." is my personal favorite.

Shruti

Nilu said...

Dear Shrut,

Glad to know that you like Agatha Christie's books too. My personal favorite is "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" and the other one is "Murder on the Orient Express". The suspense at the end in both books takes your breath away.

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