Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Monday, May 20, 2013

Abha Iyengar's Creative Writing Workshop


  • 26/5/2013 to 16/6/2013. 4 Sundays in air-conditioned premises from 10.30 am to 4 pm.
    4 different topics: Basics of creative writing/ short story/flash fiction/memoir. All packaged together. Writing exercises, interactive and critique sessions, writing markets explored. Tea/coffee/cold water provided. Lunch: Bring your own sandwiches :). Or, if you give advance warning, and speak with me, something may be arranged at the venue for you at a nominal price.
    Age: Anyone above 18 (if 17, speak to me and I will let you know) and below 100. (If 101, talk to me and I'll let you know). :)
    Basic requirement: The course is in English, so a grasp of the language is required. Apart from that, a desire to write is essential.
    Total Cost of 4 full Sundays where you learn and interact with a small cohesive group: Rs. 5000/-
    Interested? Please email abhaiyengar@gmail.com. Or call 09873266466
    Limited seats, so book early. Early bird discount for the first 3 birds who book: 5%
    Where? For the first time in East Delhi. It's hot but happening.
    Any other doubts: call 9873266466/email: abhaiyengar@gmail.com
    I'm there.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

All of It Returned

She looked like a sun dried tomato. Her puckered skin, dry and rough, made me wonder what I had seen in her twenty years ago, I must have been really silly. She came towards me licking her parched lips, pushing them out and pulling them in. Her hair was wispy, underneath it her scalp shone in the mid-day heat. The Kerala sun was far from merciful, and I was thankful for my Adidas cap.

“Here,” she said, “I saved these for you.”  She opened her light brown palms, etched with lines. There were some dried herbs in her small hands. Her hands were green-veined and brown from working the fields. That’s what she did now. I noticed her bent back.

I grabbed the dried leaves and brought them to my nose, and smelt once again the chicken coconut curry. I rubbed the leaves against my mouth and nose as if willing the aroma to remain on my skin forever.  

In a frenzy, I grabbed her hands and put them against my face.

The leaves were dried and crushed with time and fell like green ash. Her hands against my face were hard, unable to shape themselves against my skin. She pulled them back, embarrassed. At one time, she had cupped my face in her hands every day before sending me off to school.

Hair of black water running down skin of moonlight, eyes that lit up the nights when she sang me to sleep. Smell of chicken curry spiced with herbs from her body as her small hands stroked my hair, damp with sweat. She took care of me while father taught what being a Christian meant to the people here, hoping to change them and  mother wrote from England, hoping I was being well looked after.

© ABHA IYENGAR, 19th May 2013 http://flashmob2013.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Mouth Says it All

It is not often that we pay attention to our mouth. It helps us speak, smile, eat, spit.  If we are smart, we watch what we speak, careful not to hurt others, but also speaking our minds and telling it like it is. Some of us speak a lot, some of us don’t speak that much but still manage to convey our feelings and thoughts.
The smile says it all. It is a way to greet old friends and make new friends. It is an expression of happiness. When we do not smile, then we are angry, sad, depressed, or if we do it on a regular basis, we will be called glum and unhappy.
We are what we eat, and we eat through our mouths. So what we put inside our mouths affects us and our health. If we gorge on oily, fattening foods like pasta and samosa, then we become obese. If we eat healthy meals of whole wheat, vegetables and fruit, we become healthier, slimmer.
Sometimes we eat some bitter stuff and we have to spit it out, that is the fastest way to get rid of bitter and awful tastes from the mouth. Sometimes we have to swallow bitter pills which are for our own good.
The fact is that the mouth is the gateway to our system and our health. It affects how we look and feel and behave. If we are fit, smiling and expressive, it is our mouths that are responsible. So we have a responsibility towards our mouths.
Regular brushing is important and so are regular dental check- ups. Do not ignore the signs of toothache, or bleeding gums or a shaky tooth. If the alignment of your teeth is not right, get it fixed, for the right bite helps you get your chewing right. Attending to your gums and teeth is important because as I said, the mouth is the gateway. Infections from the mouth travel to the rest of the organs if one is not careful.
So do not for a moment think that the bleeding gums will be where all your pain and discomfort will remain, it is not so. You may also get bad breath due to this, and it may even lead to tooth loss.
So regular brushing with a good toothpaste like Colgate, and regular check-ups at the dentist will surely help keep such problems at bay. Bleeding gum or tooth pain is a warning sign given by the body to take action. We often neglect our teeth and gums, thinking that the problem will go away. We rub some mustard oil with salt on the gums, or some clove oil, and hope that matters will resolve themselves. However, it is best to consult a dentist and nip anything in the bud. S/he will guide you as to which toothbrush to use, which toothpaste (you get a wide variety now for sensitivity or repair or whitening and one for Pro-gum Health too by Colgate) is best, and the kind of treatment that may be required.
I have learnt the hard way about taking care of my mouth. I had swollen gums and a sore throat that I ignored. The problem spread to my kidneys. It was only when my ankles began to swell that I consulted a doctor. I was very young and had ignored the tell tale signs that my mouth was giving me…swollen gums and a sore throat. Luckily I was in good hands and got cured, but it was something that could have been avoided if I had not ignored the early warning signs given by my body.
Infections travel through the blood and can affect the bones too. We are often unaware of the simple fact that every part of our body is related.
So remember that it all starts at the mouth, so we need to look after and take care of this very fine part of us. Of course, do not ignore any warning signs that any part of the body gives. I paid heed to the swelling in the ankles and took immediate help.  But if I had paid heed to the infection in my mouth, things could have been taken care of well in advance and would have saved me a lot of suffering and anguish.
That is what we need to do. Begin at the mouth. The moral of the story is: It all begins at the mouth, so the first step to taking care begins here.

Read more about this at Colgate’s healthy speak blog. This blogpost has been written in response to Colgate’s ‘The Moral of the StoryIs…' contest at Indiblogger