Since both authors (Ranjani Rao and Nandini Patwardhan) live outside India, the discussion revolved around ideas of home, identity, and parenting in a new land. There was talk of challenges, but also of hope and opportunity.
2019-07-22 Review of “Women’s Work” by Megan Stack
Megan Stack is a foreign correspondent and has reported on war, terrorism, and political Islam from twenty-two countries. She and her husband Tom, who is also a foreign correspondent, were living in Beijing when their first baby was born. They later move to India where Stack had her second baby. Continue reading “Review of Women’s Work by Megan Stack”
My essay on the new inclusive Diwali tradition that our family created in Singapore was featured in the Straits Times newspaper today. Read the full article here. Happy Diwali!!
I had a strange experience yesterday. I am not sure what, if anything, to make of it. It feels significant somehow.
I was at the UU Fellowship yesterday morning. Before the service, I lit some candles, as I do on most Sundays, setting intentions for the well-being of my loved ones. A friend (Anne) sat beside me and casually mentioned that it is always interesting to read the little plaques on the backs of the chairs in the row in front of us. The plaques typically commemorate a bygone supporter of the Fellowship.
So, for the first time I paid attention to the plaque. It mentioned a husband-wife duo with the last name of Wiser. Since I was not familiar with the couple, I didn’t really give it much thought.
Following the service, another friend (Jane) came by and sat next to me. After exchanging a few pleasantries, she asked if I knew the Wisers. “No,” I said. “Why do you ask?” Turns out the Wisers went to India in the 1930s and spent a few years working in a remote village. Jane could not recall whether they went to India as missionaries or as teachers. What she recalled is that they lived in a village that had no electricity or running water. “Then they went back again in the 1960s and stayed with one of the families that they had come to know 30 years earlier.”
Why did Anne mention the plaques that day? Why did I read the name “Wisers”? Why did Jane mention the same couple barely an hour later?
The rational scientific side of me rejects the tendency to see anything more than a random coincidence in these random events. But, the side of me that is more agnostic rather than atheist, doesn’t want to let it go.
I am agnostic in the sense that I don’t know for sure that such things don’t happen. I am not an atheist in the sense of firmly rejecting the possibility of any meaning behind such coincidences.
The change in my thinking and temperament occurred over the course of writing and researching the biography of Dr. Anandi-bai Joshee. My research uncovered the fact that just such a coincidence was what inspired an American woman to write to an Indian girl-woman in far-off India and offer help as well as encouragement.
Have you had any such interesting, thought-provoking, and wild experiences?!
Call me old. Or old-fashioned. I grew up reading print books of various sizes with amazing stories that transported me to imaginary lands. I love print books for their smell, feel and heft.
Ebooks entered my life recently. I own a Kindle, which I use to order books launched in faraway countries. In order to receive the physical copy, there is extra cost and time involved, so I choose the ebook. Kindle also works better during travel. Better to be pragmatic than a purist when it comes to loving books.
At Story Artisan Press, we began our journey with ebooks but today we are happy to announce that our two new books, Train Friends and Desi Modern Love are also available as print books on Amazon.com.
Today I received the first paperback copy of Desi Modern Love. It is small, slim and oh, so cute! A few hours after admiring it, I came across this article that confirmed my suspicion that there are more people like me, who prefer to hold a book than scan a page on a screen: Physical books still outsell e-books — and here’s why.
Here is a special sneak excerpt from the newly released essay collection Train Friends – Bombay Roots, Parallel Track, Shared Journeys. Specially for Mumbaikars!!
The Hussainsagar express train dropped me off at Dadar station at about six in the morning. I carried my light bag to the local train platform, determined to prove to my parents that I didn’t need to be escorted home. I was, after all, a Mumbaikar and everyone knows that Mumbai trains are a safe option, even at that early hour.
A group of college students were the only evidence of life on an otherwise deserted platform. They talked and poked each other in the ribs, laughing aloud at their inside jokes. I was transported back to my Agarwal class days, wondering if my group had been equally boisterous. My reverie was interrupted by a hoarse voice.
“Aunty, Bandra kaun se side aayega?” Which side will Bandra come?
The question was a common one, one that I had often asked others. But had this boy really called me Aunty? Me? Aunty!!
In typical Mumbai style, the response rose in my throat involuntarily.
“Aunty hogi teri maa.” Your mother is an aunty.
After a sixteen-hour journey, with a night spent tossing around on a train berth, in my crumpled salwar kameez and messy hair, I knew I wasn’t looking my best. But Aunty??
Grab your copy here.