Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for Books

The Code Book – Simon Singh

Clearing out my desk draw found a book gifted by the author, Simon Singh through work years ago. Very pleasant chap to deal with in a professional capacity. Might go re-read it again.

Simon Singh Fermats Last TheoremSimon Singh Book


Partitions by Amit Majmudar

Partitions by Amit Majmudar

Ever since I was a young child, I’ve loved reading. My dad would encourage us, and bought lots of books, spanning different genres. After not seeing him for months at a time, we’d all tuck up in bed, and he’d read us a story, unfortunately, half way through he’d fall asleep, and start snoring 🙂

For me reading offers excitement, escapism, inspiration, and knowledge. It’s been a while since a book has enthralled me. On Easter Monday, the weather was miserable, there was nothing decent on TV, and I recalled my sister in-law telling me about a book she borrowed from our study called Partitions, she said she was so eager to know the ending, that she stayed up a few nights just to finish it (no mean feat as a mother of a young child & job as a nurse). I picked it up early that morning, and by the afternoon had read it.

Partitions is a fictional story set amongst the chaos of July 1947 (division of India into Pakistan). The reader follows the journey of the persecution of each religious group (Hindu, Muslim & Sikh) as told by a man. This man/the narrator happens to be the father of twin Hindu boys, Keshav and Shankar. They are fleeing Pakistan for India with their mother, Sonia (a Christian), but somehow get lost from her during their train journey, and the brothers are left to defend for themselves. Then we meet Dr Masud, an elderly well-respected paediatrician, who had his own clinic in India, but as a Muslim, he has to abandon his home and head towards Pakistan. The final character is Simran, a teenage Sikh girl, who flees from her home after realising that her father and male relatives decide to poison her mother, sisters, and young brother, so that they don’t get abused at the hands of Muslims. She embarks on a journey to Amritsar, but on her way, she gets taken captive by three Muslim men looking to exploit vulnerable young women and sell them to men.

Partitions captivates the reader; I was genuinely moved by the characters, eager to know whether they’d escape harm. By the end of the story, you reel at man’s worst capabilities (men exploiting women, the caste system, religious hatred), but there is also much love and kindness, the glimpses of the acts of essential goodness that save us from despair. Keshav & Shankar, Dr Masud and Simran all originally embark on their separate journeys, but in the end their paths cross, three different religious groups in unity. There are a few twists to the story, making this is a traumatic but enriching journey from which no reader can emerge unaffected.

My Reading List: Weinberg, Ridley & Dunbar

After initially struggling to combine work with studying accountancy and trying to have some sort of a life 🙂 I do find reading for pleasure very relaxing, and I haven’t bought books for ages, so after a brief perusal of Amazon, my books have arrived and I’m working my way through them…

The Hummingbird Bakery

So Sweet, originally uploaded by Nrbelex.

133 Portobello Road
Notting Hill, London
W11 2DY


I admit to having a bit of a ‘sweet tooth’ and love cakes 🙂 Seeing the above picture (taken by Nrbelex from Flickr of the hummingbird bakery’s Portobello Road shop) makes my mouth water.
The Hummingbird Bakery sells delicious pretty cupcakes as well as other cakes and pies. Their first shop was opened in 2004 in Portobello Road, then other shops followed in South Kensington & Soho – however, I stop off at the Portobello Road shop on occassion but haven’t visited the other two.
After recently viewing their website I noticed that they even deliver to certain (not all) postcodes of London. I’m not greedy enough/or would order enough cakes to neccesitate such a delivery cost, but I imagine this would be perfect if you were planning a big party/special occassion.
I decided that part of my New Year’s resolution is to cook more/become better at it. I’ve always wanted to learn how to bake properly (I’m even comtemplating doing a cookery course at night or the weekend), because there’s something rather nostalgic about the smell of baking, and the satisfaction of making something yourself – also I’m rather old-fashioned, and hope one day I’ll have kids and that they’ll be amazed by my baking skills 🙂
In the meantime, I’ve ordered myself the hummingbird bakery’s cookbook on Amazon for under ÂŁ10.