Monday, March 12, 2007

Blogging Elsewhere

I am not back to fiction blogging yet, but couldn't resist the lure of blogging all the same. Find me at Cubically Challenged, where I have resumed my writing on other areas of interest, such as branding & marketing, feminism and entrepreneurship.


I am going blog-wild. Also find a new travel blog, by yours truly, A long way Ahead, on my travels, travel writing, other good links about being on the road and pictures ofcourse.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This blog winds up...

When I first started this blog, I had little clue as to what blogging was; I had read a few, Uma, Shoefiend, Charu…and ofcourse, fancying myself as some sort of writer, I saw no reason why I couldn’t have one too. I had no concept of visitor count, page views, comments etc etc. It just seemed like a fun thing to do. With the added advantage of being able to put together a lot of my writing in one place.

Down the line, I realized that the blogging universe carried its own hierarchies… There were blog stars who counted up visitors by the thousand, wannabees who struggled to get there, and many, many small, baby-blogs like mine that appealed to a handful of readers. And ofcourse to their creators. To that extent, I am happy that I entered this universe, even though I may be one of the tiniest stars on the outer reaches of this ever expanding cosmos.

In the last seven months, however, increasingly I feel that the quality as well as quantity of my blogging is deteriorating. I think of myself as a writer of tales, and this blog as a vehicle for those. Slowly however, the vehicle is becoming more prominent, as I find less and less time for the writing, due to an increasingly stressful job. When I found myself ‘needing’ to write, so that I could update the blog, I knew that its time to shut it down.

Maybe not permanently. When life becomes easier again, maybe I will reappear, if not here, perhaps in a new avatar elsewhere ! (Do black holes ever reinvent themselves? I don’t know).

In the meanwhile, since it is a new year, I’d like to leave with a list of some authors and titles that I have planned to read this year, and it may appeal to some of you too!

Marjane Satrapi
More work by Kenzaburo Oe
(I've only read A Personal Matter, which I liked very much, for its honesty in dealing with such a difficult subject - but I hear its very different from his other work)
Ambai’s The Purple Sea
Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games
Haruki Murakami’s Underground
Kiran Nagarkar’s God’s Little Soldier
Tanizaki Junichiro’s The Makioka Sisters
Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Teheran
Tash Aw’s The Harmony Silk Factory
Naguib Mahfouz’ Cairo Trilogy

I want to read all these, and the many, many surprises which I hope 2007 will bring my way. Isn’t that one of the best things ever, to be presented with a lovely book, and surprised by how it speaks to you. I wish this surprise and delight for all those of you who’ve been reading this blog, and given me so much encouragement with your comments and mails.

For those who would like to know when I am back, do mention it here, or drop me a mail at

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lovely Photoblog

I love travel, and I love photography (watching, not doing), so what could be better than this photoblog that offers a photo of Paris a day.

Check it out. Nuggets of Paris that the average tourism site is never going to show you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pending Visits

You know a blogger is at an all-time low, when she starts resorting to tags rather than write her own posts :)
But, seriously, although I avoid tags like the plague, for no reason at all, this fun post by Art, inspired me to do some thinking of my here it is....

Some places I need/want/have to visit :

An alternative universe where work is not equal to money? (a.k.a Utopia?)

To be specific:

The Northern lights
France and Austria
Gir and Kaziranga national parks

I need to explore:

Ways to keep my creativity going in between too many "official" things to do!
New authors/non-fiction writing

I also am curious about:

How do book deals actually happen?
Why does Sagarika Ghosh persist on primetime when she is such an appalling reader/commentor?
When is a child ever old enough?
Where can I get good Punjabi-style salwars tailored, rather than the straight cut/narrow abominations most tailors here make?
What makes me enjoy doing this kind of thing, rather than getting on with my job??

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Second-hand Grief

This morning, I cried for people I have never known. I was on my way to work, a normal day in every sense, until this song came on air, tears in heaven. I was listening and singing along, when I remembered the story behind the song. The one about the little boy who fell out of a fifty third story window. It is the saddest thing in the world, to have a three-foot-sized hole in one’s life, to be left with the memories of a life so short. I remembered all the parents I had heard of, who lost their children this way. I don’t know any of them personally. Some of them are friends of my parents, some of them acquaintances of neighbors, but their grief came to me fresh and warm, like the feel of falling tears. I tasted the second-hand grief, almost a whirlpool that sucked me in, churning me inside its vortex. I climbed out slowly, wiping my eyes, knowing well that I couldn’t have felt enough.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Nanowrimo is back!

November is the most exciting month isn't it ! The National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo - Yes, its back! I'd blogged about it this time last year, and I can't believe I'm still no closer to signing up...what with the amount of travel (not the fun type, but the work type) planned in November...really, November is the cruellest month of all!
Sign up then, and start your 50,000 words now!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

I never thought I would be saying this, but the last Murakami book I picked up, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, turned out to be a big disappointment. It includes short stories written over a fairly long period of time. Perhaps thats part of the problem, because the quality is extremely uneven. Hanelei Bay, I thought was a poignant story about a woman who loses her surfer son to the sea. In Murakami style, ofcourse, there has to be more to it than that, and so, it turns out this is a grieving mother, who nevertheless, didn't even particularly like her son.

"In all honesty, however, Sachi had never really liked her son. Ofcourse she loved him - he was the most important person in the world to her - but as an individual human being, she had trouble liking him, which was a realisation that it took her a very long time to reach."

This kind of 'twist' or complication to the story I can understand. Also good is Chance Traveller, a story of loss and meetings, where Murakami's classic 'almost supernatural' twists serve to push the story forward in terms of bringing back severed connections between a brother and a sister.

But stories like the Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes and Dabchick seem to sort of hover in the air. They seem almost too clever. I've read enough background information that the Sharpie Cakes story, where specially bred grotesque crows detect 'genuine' sharpie cakes, was meant to be a sort of allusion to the Japanese literary scene where the reigning literati proclaimed judgement on newer writers. But it just doesn't work as a story. It feels too preachy somehow, with there being too much of a moral feel to it. Dabchick again is surreal without leading anywhere. A man reports for a new job, where he is refused entry until he finds the password, which is, ofcourse dabchick, while we realise that the employer himself is the dabchick. (The dabchick is apparently a small European water bird though what that has to do with anything is unclear).

Despite being a raving Murakami fan, this book left me with the uneasy suspicion that in a lot of these stories, the devices are over-riding the stories themselves. Many of Murakami's novels are quite transparent, in the sense, that devices used to build interest, are visible. The parallel narration, for example, in Kafka on the shore. Or the stories within stories, letters, newspaper clippings, supernatural excursions etc in the Wind-up Bird Chronicle. But in this collection, many of the stories feel as though they've been taken over by these Murakami hallmarks, until the characters and their stories almost disappear, and there is nothing but something that feels like style, but is insubstantial.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Sabbatical

I had decided a month or so ago that I would quit my job. To an outsider, it may have seemed like a hasty decision, but the truth was that I’d had enough of this corporate lifestyle. Jet setting around to boring meetings where most people were concentrating harder on the cookies passing around and working out strategies to net the chocolate cream ones. Staying in one hotel which looked just like another, where the staff all wore white uniforms, and pretended not to notice when I was smoking. Trying to steal as much freebies as I could without getting to the point where they would open my bag and search for the goods. From the outside, it looks like the life anyone would want to have, but I was sure that I was missing something. When I was young, my father used to tell me, “Don’t miss the woods for the trees”, but it looked to me as if I could not even tell the difference between the two anymore. So I decided that the best way for me to work out things would be to quit my job and take it a little easy. I didn't know if it was a sabbatical. That would have implied that I was coming back. As of now, I didn’t have a plan either way. Maybe I was coming back. And maybe I wasn’t. It wasn’t the kind of time to make a decision on something as important as that. Or maybe something as trivial. So I just left it quietly at the back of my mind, filed away in one of those cabinets, not so far back that I couldn’t reach in and bring it out if I wanted to, but not too upfront either. No, I didn’t want it too far up front, poking out whenever it got the chance to. So I just served out my notice period, a month, according to my contract, and packed up all my personal stuff at work, and carted it home.

When I told my husband about this, he wasn’t surprised. “I am sure we can manage with my salary and our savings for a few months”, he said, as though he’d seen it coming for some time, “But what will you do, won’t you get bored just sitting at home?” “Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something”, I said, though the truth was that I really didn’t know. We had a cook at home, and I couldn’t cook and didn’t plan to learn, so I wasn’t going to be spending my time conjuring up exotic dishes. My husband ate very simply most of the time, anyways. We didn’t have kids at that time, so I didn’t have to pay attention to anyone, or pick them up from school or anything like that. Maybe I would just spend the entire day waiting for him to get home, and then listen to how his day had been. Maybe that’s what rich housewives did. But I didn’t see myself getting bored. I just pictured time as this finite thing, cut up into strips of twenty four hours, each of which I would count away easily, one after the other. At that time, I was still young enough to be unafraid of time, either how little or how much of it was left.