Random on Women


I am so inspired by Raka Ray that my mind is in an overdrive after what seems like an entire age of lost creativity. For the life of me I couldn’t write a single sentence though constant reading ensured that everywhere I went, so did my colorful monologue. I have always been a bit neurotic and on days when the read gets the better of me my mind twirls in circle with arguments and counter arguments, as if fornicating in an endless tussle. It is a dark retreat.

Although I admire intellectual work by men and women I find that as I grow older I am more drawn towards those that are authored by women. It is not surprising given that my bodily and psychological experiences have more in common with them and because the personal is political (to use a cliché) I am much more affected by what happens to women, their fate and their voice. Therefore as a reader I loved Ray’s Fields of Protest: Women’s movement in India (1999).

The title is self-explanatory, however this isn’t a book review so I will not go into great lengths about it. I leave that for a time when I have more energy to write. All I can say is that I loved the complexity of issues the book touched and the depth in which it dealt with Calcutta and Mumbai women’s struggle against social and economic poverty because what I know of these cities are half-mashed concoctions from films, novels and individual accounts, not to dispute the validity of such views but who can compare against the breadth and depth of a well planned study?

After finishing the book I had a strong impulse to grab my ever-so-read-and-mentioned A Room of One’s Own by Wolf. Of course there are lots of fine essays written on women’s issues but Room of One’s Own is closest to my memory. I was in a literature class. It was no small coincidence that it happened to be my first day amongst a bunch of white Caucasian literature students. Me, the only Asian face, arrived a week ago from exotic Tibet, dealing with wounds and issues that seemed larger than life at the time. That class was my therapy and Wolf’s words jumpstarted my road to recovery.

Like all good works that stand the test of time and interpretation, the below lines fit our context even now despite the fact that some things may have improved since the time Wolf wrote the essay. “For it is (still) a perennial puzzle why no (Tibetan) women wrote much of that extraordinary literature when every other (Tibetan) man, it seemed was capable of a song or a sonnet. What were the conditions in which (Tibetan) women lived?” (Chapter 3, A Room of One’s Own). The inserts are all mine. Pun very much intended.

8 responses »

  1. Your penultimate paragraph really hit me. I’m so happy that Virginia Woolf’s essay, written I’m sure sometime in the 20s or 30s of the last century, should still be so vibrantly alive for a Tibetan, in the kind of university literature class you describe–a type of class that can be for so many, so dry. So Woolf still lives! I’m glad you read her, and that she had for you such a positive effect.

    • John I am an oddball and if you lift your eyebrows right now then I know you don’t know me at all. I think the staying power of a good literary work apart from its craft, is the way we can interpret the message in different times. So for me the date of publication and when it was written has never made much of a difference, neither do I believe in a strict demarcation between non-fiction and fiction. If you ask me I think they live side by side.

  2. Tashi delek~ I love your writings and poetry, and have been following your posts for some time. I’m working on an MA project about modern Tibetan poetry (emphasis on feminism, depictions of religion/religious themes, and politics in exile) and I was wondering if I could interview you for my project? If you are interested or want to know more, please email me at amberjadetaylor@gmail.com! Thank you so much!

    • Thank you for visiting and your comment. I am not sure if you have come to the right person (not saying it from a sense of false Tibetan modesty/humility at all).
      I can definitely share my views with you as someone who loves English/world literature but happens to be a Tibetan and therefore have a cultural understanding and experience of the Tibetan world. There are people I know who are much better informed about Tibetan poetry and literature. Lets talk the details through gmail.

  3. thank u! lovely to go through ur updates. i read one essay by tuppy owens from the book ” bad girls and dirty picture”. m sure you will love it. u must have read it probably. and it was in bombay that i read. women in bombay from my one and only (recent) trip convinced me quite effectively that they do enjoy greater freedom in comparison to the other states.

  4. Thanks so much Tseringla for this one too….Enjoyed reading this one as i always do every bit that flows from you in here. I am always impressed by the depth of your interest, knowledge, language and the power of making the readers think Out of Box. Thanks and keep entertaining and educating us. Am proud of you and expect to see many literary accolades following you in near future…Keep up and Be the Same always..

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