Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Adult Fantasy Novel SHRAYAN on Amazon as an e-book


Shrayan is an adult fantasy tale. 
It is a story is about an individual’s quest for acceptance in an unfamiliar and unforgiving world. Shrayan emerges from the underground, a fully formed creature, not quite human in appearance. In the dark forest where he finds himself, he is surrounded by snakes. Brought to the city and made to dance as an ajooba, he breaks free and learns dancing and martial arts. He falls in love to discover that beauty has its own price tag. The night he achieves stardom, he leaves his clamouring fans and takes to the streets, hoping to find his lost son.
In his quest for his self, Shrayan discovers aspects of his personality that he did not know existed, and also learns to come to terms with what he is and deal with the challenges that life throws up for him as he knows best. Love is difficult to find and hold, friendship has different meanings, and trying to fit into a world concept is neither possible not required, these are some of the things he learns.

My fantasy tale now available as a e book on Kindle. I am super happy! Please visit, like, purchase, download to your pc or mac or kindle ...

Friday, May 11, 2012


I am delighted to be hosting and editing #15 of the Language Place Blog Carnival on the theme of Encountering the Other.

Encountering the ‘OTHER’

What is the ‘Other’? In its simplest sense, anyone or anything that is not ‘you’ is the ‘other’.  So the alienation begins.  Since the other is alien, there is a separateness, and a rejection between the two. At the same time, the attempt is towards assimilation, you want to change the other to become more like you. You may do this by employing the processes of love and care, but also making clear that you are superior in your difference, the other must become more like you. If this does not happen through positive efforts, you  reject and try to remove the other, for as long as there is the other, you have to be assertive as the better one. The rejection also may be a rejection of your own self if you recognize much of this in the other.

There are therefore many forms of ‘other’. In language and place, everything about  the other attracts and repels, but its existence is evident, its pull even more so. That is why we travel, why we seek a certain novelty, why we embrace or get repelled by what we see, hear or fail to understand. We may often find ourselves more at home with the others. The concept of the other has entered the realms of philosophy, gender, race, fantasy and sci-fi, politics and power, among others.

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Garcin, in the play Huis clos or No Exit, states that "Hell is other people."  But according to Lacan, “The I is always in the field of the Other.”

In these times of globalization, when everything can get quite up close and personal, 23 individuals share with us their idea of the ‘Other’. Welcome aboard, and take the trip!


Narayana Swamy from Detroit, USA,  travels across the land to discover ‘An Indian in the Hills’ and a surreal connection.
 He felt his hearing grow very keen, picking up subtle nuances in the guttural singing- peculiar vibratos and surreal harmonies. The song blended into the plume of sage smoke and began to encircle him. It all felt so natural and so familiar.
Read more here. 

This haunting tale of a young married couple dizzyingly in love portrays tradition and culture that value love, honour, duty. To these three qualities is added death. Leela Devi Paniker from Hong Kong has often travelled to Japan, and  now she makes another journey via a book, ‘Patriotism’ by Yukio Mishima, to get a deeper understanding of this ‘other’ culture where taking one’s life to maintain one’s personal or family honour is a long standing tradition. More here

The arrival a warm gush of heat, nothing in the head but new. Neelima Vinod writes from Bengaluru, India of meeting a part of yourself as you travel,  the seed of the many kinds of you in various continents. The you then is malleable and  unstructured, here. 

What strange and mysterious forces combine to call one to travel 6,000 miles in order to discover home? Rich Perrotti recalls the unusual ‘coincidences’ that sent him to Maui twelve years ago and once again invite him to return to his ‘other home’.
While sitting in this volcanic arena of beauty and wonder, I penned the words, ‘My heart lives here always.’

Seeing the beauty of Kudutai, I now understand what my own parents and elders still mourn. I also see that it is no unspoilt paradise.
Monideepa Sahu, city dweller forever, reflects from Bengaluru, India, on crumbling ancestral habitats. Read here. 


We found just a small blood clot that was pressing on the spinal cord and causing the paralysis. Dr. Vivek Banerjee from Saharanpur, India, shares his personal story, of what he felt when he found himself  on the other side of healing, as a patient instead of a doctor. Read it all here

Vaibhav Rathi from Jaipur, India,  posts a memory of his 3 day long stay in ‘Bujari’, a place lost among Arawali Hills in Southern Udaipur. Read the rest of his recollections here, spiced with his pithy musings, climbing up is pain in the ass for lungs, climbing down is pain in the ass for legs. 

Manjul Bajaj from New Delhi , in this astounding tale, shares, No longer is the fair land of Equus the same. A black horse roves at will in its midst, here.

The colors of the flame emanating from your pyre/would be the same as mine. Meenakshi M. Singh from New Delhi declares through her poem that there is no other-ness. Read it here.


Dorothee Lang  from Germany talks of duality of place, perspective, and being. ‘Walking back, I followed my own trails for a while, and couldn’t help but wonder how it would have been to grow up here, on this island, surrounded by water. She would have been another I, that much was sure.’ It’s here.

The grey sky, the cold wind, the stream of bad news on the radio. I scrutinised my difference, tried to isolate what it was that made me so. Nine writes from Kuala Lumpur on the confusion of being young and bi-sexual  in Ireland, here.

In her poem, Uma Gowrishankar from Chennai, attempt to use language to negotiate the border of sanity, where aphasia prevails. The word is stuck in his throat, thankful of its presence there. Read the poem here.

That was when we gave up trying to become one of them - any of them, that is. Zephyr from New Delhi, India, on Metro Returned Natives. To know more about what this means,  read her experience here.


The ‘other’ in place and language pre-supposes that place and language are located. To me they are not. Amandeep Sandhu from New Delhi  writes on why he does not know what his mother tongue is. He also cannot claim  that he belongs to a certain place. He writes about his struggle with language(s) and place(s), here.

For Shobha Nihalani, who writes from  Hong Kong, and for whom writing is a passionate process, poetry becomes the alien form she cannot bring to her mercy. She says: Alas, I cannot write the damned thing.  Does she find a way? More here

He stood over me, not quite ready to punch me, and I had no idea why. Gill Hoffs of Ayr, UK, struggles with language to understand its interpretation in different parts of a similar world. A beast is not a just an animal, she finds, here.

‘Achtung baby,’ you keep saying, like it means something. But you still haven’t learned my language. Michelle Elvy from Opua, New Zealand,  speaks of a love story of sorts, here. 

‘I won’t write this on my garage wall, Manohar.’ Mr. Abbas whined like a reluctant child being sent to school. ‘And I won’t go to the new house in London.’ Nabina Das, currently at Stirling, UK, writes a touching tale about a retired bureaucrat called Mr Abbas who learns a few home truths. Read the story here.


It seemed as if we had met and befriended another member of an alien order just arrived on Earth...Rosemary Lombard, from Hillsboro, Oregon, USA, explores the potential of turtle minds, as a wild painted turtle stays overnight to communicate with her in non verbal ways, here

Now I know why the steps are stone/they have to be there for ever. Sangeeta Khanna from New Delhi, says, ‘The stones is me and the river is seen as the other who just comes and stirs up the emotions for a short while.’
Read her poem here.  She also talks about the other world of dreams, here.

I don’t want to. It’s nice and peaceful, what do I have to live for on the other side? The protagonist in Ankit Govil’s flash piece wonders if he should return to the real world. Read it here.

Glimpse the shadow of a rain cloud when there is empty sky, shaped like a young girl in a pleated frock. Martin Porter from U.K. creates an elegiac poem here. He says,  ‘I am aware that our understanding of our place in the multiverse is constantly changing, almost as if I am a ghost inhabiting a world existing as one of many.’ 

I watch as you talk of Karma/ How we are reborn/ Time and again, connecting/ With those we leave. Abha Iyengar’s poems and thoughts on the Other, here.

I could not let the turtle go, however hard I tried. So here s/he is:

“...and dream the earth into a turtle.
She carries us slowly across the universe.”

~Ride the Turtle's Back by Beth Brant

The person behind the blog carnival  idea is Dorothee Lang, a writer, web freelancer and traveler, and the editor of BluePrintReview. She lives in Germany, and always was fascinated by languages, roads and the world, themes that reflect in her own work. 
Thank you, Dorothee, for making the merry-go-round  happen.
And all you lovely readers, thank you for visiting. If you are interested in contributing for the next edition, Edition #16 will be hosted by visual artist and Florida resident Steve Wing. His art seeks to reveal extraordinary qualities of everyday moment. The feature theme is 'Translation' (in all its possible forms). Contributions are invited from writers, photographers, poets, translators, and anyone with an interest in his topic. As always, we welcome a wide variety of poets. Guidelines here.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I am delighted to be hosting the LANGUAGE>PLACE>BLOG CARNIVAL # 15 , where the theme is Encountering the ‘OTHER’ in language/place. This is my contribution to the blog carnival’s theme.

 When contemplating this issue of the Other, so many thoughts surfaced, when I was suddenly drawn to this poem of mine.

Past Life

You talk of past life,
My Brahmin teacher.
With your broad forehead
Smeared with sandalwood.

I watch as you talk of Karma,
How we are reborn,
Time and again, connecting
With those we leave.

My bright eyes are lowered
Over the lessons to be learnt,
My pigtails tight on either side,
As tight as my upstart bosom.

Past life I was a courtesan who
Danced my way into your heart
Now I have only a chalk on the slate
To impress you with my thoughts.

I look up and see your exasperation
For my fingers are slow to write
Yet with my mind already
I have ensnared you in my life.

My past life I was a courtesan
You were my paramour in that world
This life I tug at your heart strings
You know the pull of my words.

Your eyes flicker just that instant
Enough for me to know
If there was a past life
I have surely held you before.

~Abha Iyengar

The idea of a past life or a previous life or a parallel life has always fascinated me. We in India talk of ‘sanskara’, something we are born with, our inherent nature, which no amount of nurturing can actually change. It is the curled tail of the dog that will never uncurl, the spots on the leopard that will never go. We are born to be who we are.

This life is just one version of the mutiple universes that we may belong to. There may be another Abha in another world, I do not know it but I can speculate about it.

In my poem, the young student has no doubt that in a past life, in another life, in the ‘other’ life, she has known her teacher. She is also sure of the nature of the relationship, where she was the courtesan who seduced him.

She feels the connect and knows that he too is trying to still the beatings of his suddenly awakened heart.

Who has not felt a connection with a stranger, even if it is just through a momentary meeting of the eyes: a link quite different from what we feel with the people we know, the people who belong with/to us. This connect with the ‘other’ part of one’s self, speak of a belonging whose origins may be of a past or ‘other’ life.

People come into our lives for various reasons. They may be quite different from us in so many ways, so ‘other’ that we cannot understand why they are there in the first place. They come and go but as a link to us, they stay forever and really never leave. There is a karmic reason for it which may or may not explain itself, which we may believe or not. It helps to realize that all that which seems strange, weird or ‘other’ does not need an explanation, only an understanding, an empathy of sorts.

All that is ‘other’ is just an extension of all that is the same within you and me. Another poem of mine now beckons to be heard:

The Dark of Another Land

Who says I cannot love him of another colour
All day I lie in the heat
of sun bronzed skin
His darkness holds the light of another land.

In this sand on my beach now I allow him,
The muscles rippling, telling of another time,
I trace them with a quivering hand.
While his is sure
With knowledge and insistence
That comes from the certainties
Of claiming what you want
from a childhood that failed to give long ago.

And I am led
Ablaze with passion
for another skin,
To another place with him,
So different from the given of a comfort world
The dead and dry I occupy.

Cracking like an eggshell
I let out all that I hold
Sticky and yellow the desire
for this man
Of another land, another skin,
Light of an unknown dark,
His sunlight on my bleached shore.

~Abha Iyengar

And another poem, this time I'm reading. :), "Side by Side, Not to Collide", on love and religion and the other.