“The City Was Missing,” one of my city poems appear in the latest issue of Star*Line, edited by Vince Gotera, and published by SFPA: Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (America). I just received a contributor’s copy, and the cover illustration is gorgeous, also the poems!
The opening two lines of this poem will be featured in The Mumbai Collaborative Poetry Project (MCPP) — the first ever video poem themed on the city of Mumbai — curated by Vinita Agrawal. Twenty-five poets will be featured in the project, including Nabina Das and Priya Sarukkai Chabria.
Here are my notes for the poem from March 22, 2015:
“Two weeks after The New York Times asked PM Modi to speak about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities, he broke his dangerous silence. ‘My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly,’ he assured Christian leaders. The attack on a Navi Mumbai church this Saturday showed that it would take more than rhetoric from the iron man of secular India to protect its minorities. This poem is a warning against the departure of religious tolerance and cosmopolitan spirit from Mumbai, formerly Bombay. (The city’s name was officially changed to Mumbai at the behest of a local Hindu-nationalist party because Bombay sounded so British.) Ultimately, it is about our personal relationships with cities we come to associate ourselves with.”
“The City Was Missing” first appeared in my poetry collection Khas Pidgin (Amazon, Barnes & Noble & iBooks). If you haven’t purchased or read it already and would like to receive a review copy, let me know. Happy reading! 🐘🌸😇
Woohoo! My first royalty payment for a short story was just deposited to my bank account! It’s for the first story I ever sold to a major Indian publisher. You can read about it here at Juggernaut!
I know by the size of the check that not many people have read it. It should bother you if your publisher can’t sell your story, or fails to recover the signing amount because people aren’t interested in paying to read it. I am a bit reluctant to the idea of storytellers and artists relying on corporate houses rather than their work/audience/readership… but what do I know?
This is very encouraging for the writer in me, who is damn too self-critical, lazy and skeptical to write or submit anything to major publishers because he thinks why bother, no one’s going to buy or read it, especially here in India. So many thanks to all of my (anonymous) readers who bought and read it. Sometimes it’s nice to be proved wrong!
Well, see, now I know what royalty slips look like, and it feels great, man. I mean I knew writing stories is a way of creating IP, but I thought royalty payments (in India) were stuff of dreams. Yeah, don’t believe it until you see — or better receive — it!
Thank you Indrapramit Das & Chiki Sarkar at Juggernaut Books for giving me a reason to believe!
This morning I’m thinking hard about solving the audience-centered design problem for my personal website, and the best way to present my advertising portfolio which isn’t public yet.
I do not want a static profile. I want a two-way reader-friendly, minimalist platform which enables me to share insightful lessons and stories from my life and work, which could be helpful to many creative professionals around the world. I started my publishing journey way back in 2005, and there’s a goldmine of life + business insights there.
I need to sit down and write that content thinking book which I promised to write based on my Content Manifesto for Startups & Brands (2013), and a content + design / marketing blog for global audiences. Basically, there is a lot to figure out while contemplating and writing about designing business and technology solutions to solve difficult, real world problems, persisting and probable.
Science fiction is one of the immediate, effective and intimate modes of identifying, exploring and coming up with possible solutions for present and future problems. The challenge for world leaders and social entrepreneurs is to apply lessons/insights from orderly fiction in the chaotic world. How do I connect these dots of interests and strengths for business and social impact?
“Think in decades,” a business mentor once told me. My wild and roaring twenties are nearly over. It’s time to lay the ground for 30s to come, and try to lead by example.
Thank you for being with me in this exploration of self and the world! <3
On July 8, 1947, Cyril Radcliffe arrived in India for the first time. He had five weeks and four judges to settle the boundary between the newly independent India and a newborn state of Pakistan. After drawing the “ Radcliffe Line,” the British officer burnt his papers, refused his fee, and left the wounded continent never to set foot on it again. Based on W.H. Auden’s famous poem, “Partition,” this is an illustrated account of the man who oversaw the controversial border settlement which left one million dead and twelve million homeless and permanently displaced.
One day I decided to film one of our guards, Ramesh Ji—the ji here is an honorific—who is from Madhya Pradesh. From outside, the guardroom is a confined place—a voluntary prison. As I stepped inside the room, I expected the monotony of waiting, the slow passing of moments to dull me. But I was wrong. As I listened to the Birha enactment of an oral tale in a dialect of Hindi that was playing on his mobile phone, slowly, the complex and subtle knots of his world revealed themselves to me.
As I breathed and immersed myself in the human dynamics of the oral tale, I realized the world that Ramesh Ji inhabits is an old one, passed down from the times when our ancestors lived in a cave no different than this room, in form of oral tales, oral history, folk songs, in languages that have evolved or disappeared, in a language that is losing its relevance in the global English village.
Now the way I look at Ramesh Ji or his people’s way of storytelling has changed: a man without his people’s stories is poor and deserves pity; the man who knows his people’s origins and history is always rich. I no longer think he lives in a prison—his room is a doorway to a cultured world, just as yours or mine. These stories are our roots, our common heritage on the blue and green dots of a planet. (more…)