by Omar Khalil
On the 30th of April, 2014, AUK’s Diwaniya Book Club organized a Sherlock Holmes themed Murder Mystery event that took place in the university’s courtyard. Most participants joined at the prospect of dressing up and role-playing as fascinating characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, engaging with other characters in an animated and eventful scenario, and attempting to solve an intriguing mystery that was filled with twists and secrets…I joined at the prospect of free food.
I picked the role of a doctor who had triumphantly killed a large beast and survived to tell the tale, so of course, I donned a convincing (if I do say so myself) attire, complete with a fake mustache, bowler hat and bloody bandages, and spent the entire night trying to convince people of my amazing feats like a crazy person. Keeping true to my character, though, I also had to figure out who was the murderer. The victim was my character’s employee, whom my character was very loyal and faithful to. This gave me a fervent incentive to try and figure out who killed my subordinate as quickly and efficiently as possible. Naturally, I did that by pointing accusatory fingers to as many suspicious-looking people as I possibly could (everyone) whilst vaguely trying to make some sense out of the clues I was able to find.
I won, somehow. I stood up after that surprising announcement and quickly primed myself to give a short thank you speech and accept my prize. The second announcement that immediately followed was even more surprising. While I would have been perfectly content with a voucher or a mini iPad, I wasn’t however, prepared to learn that the grand prize was actually a 4-day trip to India, all expenses paid, including a tour of Agra and the Taj Mahal! I felt pretty chuffed, to say the very, very least.
The trip was entirely planned out from start to finish by the Diwaniya Book Club, and there was very minimal organization required from my end. The flight to India was super comfortable and we were greeted by our tour guide waiting for us at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. He gave us a ride to Taj Palace, a fantastic five-star hotel in New Delhi where we were served fantastic breakfast and stayed in a fantastic luxury room that had a fantastic view of the outer courtyard. The place was truly fantastic in every sense of the word.
The actual trip to the Taj Mahal was more stellar than I had initially expected. Our tour guide walked us around and gave interesting insights whenever we would reach a key location. His commentary on the history of the Taj Mahal and the Emperor that built it was enlivened and delivered as if it was a fairy tale, so I never felt bored during the entirety of the tour. Viewing the Taj Mahal up close, on the other hand, did feel like a fairy tale, almost as if it was something taken straight out of a dream. It was massive, especially considering that it contained only one main room where the tomb of the Emperor and one of his wives was kept. It was also almost wholly made of marble, and because of that, the palace seemed to gradually change in color to a darker hue as the sun slowly shifted. Witnessing that firsthand was a surreal experience. We spent our final days engaging in other interesting activities, including a short round of mini-golf in the hotel’s courtyard, but nonetheless the glowing image of the Taj Mahal stayed fresh in my mind.
It’s still pretty baffling that I was given the opportunity to experience all of that just for figuring out whodunit, although, suffice it to say, I am truly grateful for it. This is one memory I will never forget.
About the Author: Omar Khalil is a student at American University of Kuwait and is an avid member of the Diwaniya Book Club. For more information about AUK visit www.auk.edu.kw.