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.
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.
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!
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.