Category Archives: Journal:Notes from a bhoepa

Critical Reflection

“Inside most voracious readers, lies a very timid writer”

Standard

Voice: You have neglected this space.

Voice: (Getting louder) you have really neglected this space.

Voice: (Even Louder) BA-JEEZUS Woman! You need to write something!

It has been a long time! I apologize; the new job, preparations to move to a different place and a “project” all snowballed into this blog’s abuse and neglect.  A little update to explain the last part…

A couple of months ago, I had a ‘brilliant’ idea for a story, which was melodramatically titled “The Clinic”. However nothing flowed after the initial outburst of creativity. In retrospect I can say the project was doomed from the start by my own great expectations.

Several weeks later, I was reading a gushing review about The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi. The book was touted as Hindu philosophy blended into a bestseller story for the masses. I have been out of touch with the Indian bestseller circuit for a while so I googled Amish’s interview. Disclaimer for book snobs; it is not considered a “serious” (aka literary) work. What really interested me (translation- my agenda) was Amish’s writing process because he is not a creative writer by profession or training. In terms of what he divulged in the interview, it was nothing eureka-ish so I can only presume it must have been the timing. His words lingered and days later I revisited my Clinic story or what was left of it after the hacking it went through. There was enough to plant a new seed.

The new story has been able to survive to a point where I am feeling optimistic enough to say I will see it through to its end though doubtless that will take time. At work my lunch hours have been particularly productive because it is such a refreshing diversion and I will also shamelessly admit that it gives me a kick knowing I am juggling two very different worlds, one that I have always fantasized about and the other that I have grown to respect and love over time.

I hope the writing gods continue to smile on my characters and that there will be a day when I can add “timid writer” to the list of my expanding identity. Amen!

Post Script: I’m reading Arvind Adiga’s (relatively) new book “Between the Assassinations” which is a good enough read but when your first book wins the Man Booker, me thinks the journey afterwards is pretty much jinxed. Shame! I hope not.

 

WTFness!

Standard

I am an avid reader of Amit Varma’s blog India Uncut but he has been MIA for the last couple of months and I sorely miss his posts, especially the WTFness section. WTFness honors the ridiculousness of life and I am grateful to my blog dost Shobhaa De for introducing me to his page. I still haven’t read his debut novel My friend Sancho yet (its been on my list) but if it is anything like his posts, I am sure it will be entertaining at the very least.

It may very well be that I see patterns where there are none. In my observation, increasingly in the last decade or so Indian writers have shed their predecessors’ somewhat whimsical overindulgence in long flowery passages (a colonial hangover?)and embraced a la minimalist trend; although they haven’t reached Palahniuk heights yet. This relatively new found love for economy of words and precision have also brought with it an unapologetic brand of desi humor that is fresh and crass at times. In that sense, White Tiger (for me) was a coming of age Indian writing in English. I loved the book from its opening letter to the Chinese president to its closing line. Last summer, undettered by its plunge in the bathtub I blow-dryed the book and gifted it to a Chinese friend whom I met through Woeser La. I hope he took better care of it than I did. All this is not to say the more classical Anglo-Indian writing style faces extinction. Far from it. Parallel to the new ‘developments’ there will always be a stylized Rushdie writing his/her magnum opus every couple of years.

Going back to Amit Varma, I have been trolling his blog for a new post. All in vain. Nonetheless while browsing his archives I found this post on promoting reading, which I wanted to share http://indiauncut.com/iublog/article/kindle-your-children/ I wonder if you can download Tibetan language books on Kindle. That will be a feat! Amongst contemporary Tibetan language writers, I would love to read Dhondup Gyal’s work. Come to think of it are  there any articles on Tibetan literary movements? I am an ignoramus.

P.S. I have been doing some background reading on feminist theories. So the next post might be an analytical rant. Happy April Fool’s Day!

Happy Tibetan New Year!

Standard

Just a short and sweet Tibetan New Year greeting for fellow bloggers and visitors! Have a wonderful  year of the Hare! Will have a post on Losar soon. Happy partying and indulge in chura, mar dhang tsak-sha. I know the original lyrics of the song says”yak-sha” but I think the right term is “tsak sha”. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Random Losar thought of the day: I’d rather be Draupadi than Sita.

On Erotica & Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal

Standard

A while ago on Christmas Eve, I read An Unhurried View of Erotica by Ralph Ginzburg. I got this book two years ago from a bookstore clearance sale because I fell in love with its antiquated hard cover and sometimes this is enough reason to buy a book. I truly enjoyed this period book and for that matter any work that provides a good insight into sex and sexuality as these are hard to come by. The language and the feel of the book is very yellow paper-ish  (read- dated and dry), and my suspicion is partly because the author may have felt the need to restore some semblance of dignity and seriousness to the content after centuries of warped notions, censorship and refuge in the underground.  For those who love to read anything simply for the sake of curiosity – this book is a great introduction on erotic literature and here’s the spoiler alert; did you know that the Vatican has the world’s biggest collection of erotic literature? Speaking of the Vatican reminds me of our very own canonical texts, which leads me to khandro Yeshe Tsogyal.

I find theological musings/ findings/ history interesting and am fascinated by the way scholars interpret cultural myths and mysticism. For that reason I am an avid reader of Dan Martin’s blog, even though I am too much of a vegetable on the subject to comment or ask questions on half of the things he writes about. But within my limited understanding of that Buddhist world and literature, what I understand is that there are only a few female names in an ocean of male glitterati. What I am invested in is to know the life stories of these exceptional women because they represent a unique Tibetan brand of feminism before the term even existed. It is fascinating to read about them, especially misogynist comments that are ascribed to them- lamenting their sexuality and the inferiority of womanhood. Besides, the stories are so entwined with epiphanies and acts of divination that there are a great breeding ground for potential plots and ideas for magical realism. Are you listening Orhan Pamuk?  My Name Is Red can take a few skulls and flying Dakini cues from us Tibetans. As I mentioned I was looking for articles on Machik Labdron on the JIATS website but instead found an article on Yeshe Tsogyal by Janet Gyatso circa 2006. Here’s the link to that article http://www.thlib.org/collections/texts/jiats/#jiats=/02/gyatsoj It explores questions on whether Yeshe Tsogyal was a fictional or a historical character and an overview of the various versions of her life story by different authors. Amongst these I earmarked the one translated by Tarthang Tulku entitled Namkhé Nyingpo, Mother of Knowledge: The Enlightenment of Ye-shes mTsho-rgyal for future reading.

 

Hello and hello…

Standard

I have been missing in action for the last month…terribly busy with work. Anyway wanted to pop in and share this gem of a writing and hopefully follow up with a new post sometime next week. Happy Holidays and more power to the eggnogs!

“Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story, which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.”

(Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Breakfast of Champions)