Art of the Matter

Reflections of an Author at Work

Tag: Literary Fiction

Incredibly Invincible

Salman-RushieThere is something to be said about the written word. Apologies, letters, books or poetry. Once they are written and shared, they are no longer yours. They give new meaning to the critical mass theory. They refuse to die, staying alive in the minds and hearts of those who had the good fortune of chancing upon them. I can’t help but jump on to India Inc. Bandwagon where Salman Rushdie, author par excellence, aided by the erudite Hari Kunzru, and at least 25 million Indians across India, are today holding up the national flag in support of the written word.

So, the point of all the brouhaha over the-book-that-shall-not-be-named is that it raises a bunch of succulent questions that are not just palatable to politicians and activists alike, it is also relevant to ordinary mortals. In my world view, all the sentimental and outrage kind of questions point to one thing (not the same old ‘freedom of speech for writers’ thing) that is: The Indefatigable Point of Invincibility.

There are many ways to achieve invincibility, I am sure. My Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Matthews, made herself invincible by terrorizing us even before she actually stepped into the classroom. We waited for the inevitable decimation by her laser sharp tongue and encyclopedic mind every other day as we struggled to rattle off Chemistry formulas before saying ‘Good Morning’.

Coming back to my first love, the written word, it is truly the way to gain eyeballs, money, fame, and if you are lucky, invitations to literary festivals. But the only pre-condition to gaining invincibility for your work is that you must not make a big deal of it, but let others take it up and do what they will. Of course, your perspectives, feelings, opinions have to challenge the status-quo of Life. So, if it is about love or hate, sex or taboo, religion or politics, what you write with your alternate perspective could be the next target.

Also, if you want to take the international fraternity’s attention away from our national problems of corruption, polls and scams aside, it is perfect to find authors who presented these signs of invincibility decades ago. Many pundits have nodded their heads and said, “Is it worth the angst, the alienation, and the obvious defamation worldwide for a few words which the majority people on this planet will never read or understand?” That is a question that we have to ask ourselves, not political leaders, paid mobs or pundits. If words can stir up “India Spring”, thanks to the-book-that-shall-not-be-named, then let us hope that Harry Potter is preparing a new magic spell to increase our invincibility and decrease intolerance.



Age-aging agonyLet’s face it. No one can stay young and sprightly forever. No, not even Madonna, though the rumored 100 laps-a-day in the pool must help. My mother’s uneducated aunt had found an authentic way to stay younger almost 25 years ago. She simply got herself a fake birth certificate after her husband’s death that allowed her to work in his place at a lucrative Government job until the ripe old age of 72.

So, at 40, when you are single, attractive and intelligent; you are still skiing elegantly through the lighter side of the moon. You live your life on your own terms (which is a good thing!), and you still continue to raise ire and praise in the same breath. In short, you are a force to reckon with.

Then, one fine day, you get stumped. A bunch of pacifying articles and self-actualizing stories jettison to your mailbox – “40’s are the new 30’s. Make up now for lost time. Wear a backless dress. Find a boyfriend. Climb mountains. Start modelling. Take art classes. Learn to taste wine. Find your inner self.” Eh, you ask?

Age was just a number to me. Only my uglier women friends in their 30’s now preach fashion to me; peers talk more about kids’ college funds instead of a visit to the spa; and, the weighing scales have become somewhat uncooperative. But, who needs Oprah or Chopra to convince naysayers that knowing how to surf the Net isn’t really about finding one’s inner self? Age – aging – agony… gag words that should be laid to rest. Rise, gorgeous women in your 40’s! Sprightly or not, what is perennially yours is the wisdom to know that you don’t need to climb mountains or join a wine tasting club to prove that you still rock.

Empowered, We


2016 is here.

It’s a whole New Year with many new dreams. Writers are excited to embark on their next writing project. Readers look forward to reading something ‘new’.

It’s the same old story. But, is it really?

Writing takes away everything. Energy, time, passion. It also brings along other things. Fatigue, panic and uncertainty. But, it’s not the same thing, not the same story and not even the same way of doing things. Each year, a writer grows and changes, thus.

Reading becomes critical with each passing day. It produces feelings of ineptness and want. It forces us to accept that we know next to nothing. Each year, it gets harder to read ‘difficult’ stuff, which is usually referred to as Literary Writing.

If writing is still a very hard job for writers and readers still feel guilty of buying books they exhibit in their personal one-shelf home-libraries, there must be something to this whole business of writing and reading books, isn’t it?

In 2016, I don’t know about you, but I am ready to write some awesome love stories for you, straight from the heart. If you’ve read my first collection of short stories, Vices of Eden, you would possibly enjoy the new collection as well. But, unlike Vices of Eden, this one will be just five longish stories.

Recently, a man asked me, ‘Why are your stories only focused on women?’

I said, ‘Because I am a woman.’

The man was quizzical, but he didn’t pursue the discussion. I thought about it later. My answer was silly. It’s true that I enjoy writing from a woman’s perspective, but only because I’m a woman and I believe women all over the world today are more empowered and able to make themselves heard. I hear more of their stories. My stories tend to reflect that in the context of our daily life.

It doesn’t mean, I don’t want to write with male protagonists. I just haven’t found an outstanding male character in my imaginary or real world. But, just to be clear, I’m excited about exploring one in my first novel, which is in the development stage.

So, more power to 2016! Let’s dazzle ourselves and the rest of the world together…one writer and one reader, at a time.

And the men are welcome to join in the fun.