Thursday, January 23, 2014

In which I tell Anthony Bourdain to make raita

The night before last, I dreamt I was kneading dough for bread. It was in a huge barn, with a wood-fire oven. There was a large table with lots of flour sprinkled all over it. I was kneading dough that was soft, bubbly and much more runny than any dough I've ever kneaded but that was how it was supposed to be in both worlds. Strangely, my hands were completely dry and dough-free.

I shaped the dough into loaves, opened the oven and shoveled them in. That's when I noticed Anthony Bourdain standing at my shoulder. I told him he needed to get on with grating the cucumber for raita and not to forget roasting some jeera he'd later need to powder.

Then we talked about August Kleinzahler.

The next morning, someone landed up on this blog searching for Kleinzahler and found this post.

Sometimes I love my dreams but I still wouldn't want them to come true.


The best 45 minutes of any given day are the ones I spend doing yoga.

Tomorrow the Hyd Lit Fest begins. I'm reading with Mani Rao, K. Srilata and Tejdeep Kaur Menon on Saturday from 4-5pm. But there's lots of things I'm looking forward to, not least T.M.Krishna's reading and Rajmohan Gandhi's sessions.

This evening I'm moderating a conversation with some women filmmakers. I'm not on Facebook, but I believe you can find details here.


Are we really already in the last week of Jan?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Not even a humble brag

Today's lunch was avarakkai curry and vazhai thandu mor kootu.

The beans, the banana stem and the coconut all came from our garden.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

RIP Namdeo Dhasal

Namdeo Dhasal, Dalit Panther, poet, has died. His family struggled to raise money for his treatment and this morning he died, a bare month before he'd have turned 65.

Here's a poem - not the better known ones from his earlier work - but from Ya Sattet Jeev Rahmat Nahi (The Soul Doesn't Find Peace in This Regime, 1995), translated by the late Dilip Chitre and published by Navayana in Namdeo Dhasal: Poet of the Underworld.


 The face you find stirred up on the surface of the water is mine:
The foaming crown on the raised wave
About to touch a pride poised between time and space.
Hell's bastions of suffering have begun to crumble and fall.
I've made myself tired and unhappy here on this seashore of pain;
Sculpting with a chisel and image of many-faceted wounds.
The gossamer mantle of Being fluttering in the wind;
a fierce foreplay of light and dark creating its urgent rage
Formless skies; wistful; as the transparent birds of dreams fly away.
The flowers of inner awareness, beginning to bloom, have no fragrance;
Like a snake, I too shed my skin; this touch of icy water cuts all passion's cords.
Don't blow a soothing breath on the surface of the water now, or my memoirs will lose their face.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Not a Priotity

Hindu Metro Plus [Hyderabad] 10 January 2014

Although here they've changed the headline, I have the actual paper.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Self-promotion Round-up

Happy New Year, you guys!

I don't know what it is about this time of the year that makes me so excited. I expect all this will fade once the sun really begins to do its work. Until mid-Feb, at least, though, I can keep talking in exclamations!

It occurred to me that though I've written very little that's out there in the public domain, the few things I did, I might have failed to link to. So though this post harks back to last year, I thought I should get it all out of the way.

Here goes:

1. The first thing I did last year at the IWP was the Jazz and Poetry evening in Pittsburgh, with! Joy Harjo! Who was inspiring and lovely (and whose shadow was made to rise over a building while she played). It was very dramatic.

I refuse to link to the video of my reading because it's very badly edited but there's an interview the City of Asylum people did with me. I don't remember half the things I said and I refuse to watch because I can't bear to see or hear myself, but here it is.

2. The very day I flew back from Pittsburgh, I had my reading at Prairie Lights (side note: I have realised that 'prairie' is one of the words I consistently mis-spell. I feel I ought to let the world know this.) The flight was delayed, there was some hitch getting back to Iowa and I barely made it to my own reading.

That reading is archived here.

Of course I haven't heard it. What did I just say about hearing/seeing myself?

3. The EPW has recently started a new thing called Postscript - a more light-hearted, less academic take on the world by all kinds of contributors. Here I am, sending dispatches from Iowa and Congo Square (kinda sorta).

4. Finally, Himal did a special for a 100 years on Indian Cinema and asked me to write something. Here's that thing.

That's it, folks! Shameless self-promotion over (I got a rejection slip the day before yesterday. While my usual method of dealing with rejection is to write more - and I did do that - I thought I could counter the aftereffects with a little self-love also.)


In other news, that Diamond House you all were introduced to? It was draped in fairy lights for New Year! No photos, sadly. It blinged, I can tell you that.

Also, Sherlock S03 is horrible. Can someone please reduce all these bloated mostrous productions to a series of hilarious gifs? Thank you.

And stay tuned for Hyd Lit Fest updates.