The Kumbh of Festivals

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My favourite literary festival is the biggest of them all, the Kumbh of literary festivals – Jaipur lit fest. I have attended it in Jaipur, once spending all five days there. If it was closer I would go every year.

One of the advantages of living in a city as big as Mumbai is that everything comes to you eventually! Last year, JLF started an opener in Mumbai.

I went again this year for cheerful Kutch musicians and a talk by William Dalyrumple on how it grew from about 10 people to an astounding half a million this year.

The big even was a discussion on the Me Too movement which has been raging for a while. The panel was all women and some who were deeply affected by predatory and powerful men. A delightful evening.

I will miss Jlf this year – too much work to finish, too much to do and very little time. but I will catch up on the videos as I do every year. And go to the Mumbai lit fests, of course.

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Pins on a map

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Our third anthology is up, pins on a map, from our very prolific Mumbai group which is just celebrating five years of banter, jokes, coffee, discussions, learning, three anthologies and a blog.

A few hiccups for this antho, but it sorted out in the end. Some great writers sent in poems and pieces about travel, covering most of this wonderful globe. Great reading.

Do take a look. It is available on Amazon as an ebook.

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It’s that time of life right now

I have been absent from this blog for a while only because it’s that time of life which most writers arrive at, sooner or later. Lightning strikes out of the clear blue sky and you know that your number is up.

I have been self-publishing for almost four years. I have 15 books published and two others out of print. I have published poetry and non-fiction, flash fiction and stories. And I might have continued that path – until this.

Have you seen a cat eyeing a mouse? Nothing else exists – there is only one thing on their furry little minds. That is what happens when you reach this time of life.

It’s not the same urge, of course, but it has the same inevitability about it. The whole world shrinks or maybe it’s you who shrinks. All you want to do is hibernate, disappear, put the phone off the hook, avoid invitations, collect every stray minute like a squirrel collecting acorns and bow to the inevitability of your writing nature.

No, it is not depression. It is just the opposite of the low phase. You never feel more alive. It is the overwhelming and uncontrollable urge to write a novel.

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Writers who read this are probably nodding. They have been there too. Not yet? Wait, it will descend upon you one day. It will.

Yes, I am working on my first novel and it has turned me almost invisible. I have dropped out of a lot of things and cut out many more.

What can I do? It is long and tough journey. It may look easy and refreshingly simple from the outside, but from the inside it is more like climbing the Himalayas barefoot. The blank page is unforgiving but must be crossed and re-crossed every day.

The first time is the hardest. I don’t know what I am doing but when has that ever stopped me? That is the best part. I am plunging on, meandering, making a mess, going backwards as often as forwards but determined to reach that Himalayan goal – the last page.

And you know what – if there is heaven, this is it.

Now I am part way through the process and the blankness is showing a faint hint of shape. I have some notes and more pages than I want to count. The novel will take a long time still but, now that my path is set, I can return to a few things I cut out, like blogging. I have a few posts planned – on the self-publishing journey, literary festivals and fiction writing and whatever else comes along.

So, I will be back with more posts and more updates. Thank you for reading this.

Travel poetry

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Submissions are now open for Inhaiku Mumbai’s third annual anthology. After two successful anthologies, the taste of sea breeze and between sips of cutting chai, we are now open for a third one. (Both are available as ebooks on Amazon.)

The theme is travel and it is open to anyone, anywhere who would like to submit haiku, haibun, tanka or related forms. Send in your best travel poems for a chance to be published in these annual anthologies. Looking forward to seeing your work.

Submissions are open from 1st April 2018 to 15th June 2018. After that the editors will select and the anthology will be published as a Kindle ebook by Diwali, early November 2018.

Send in your best work to this email –

Inhaikumumbai@gmail.com

Do you want to write your life story?

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If you always wanted to wanted to write the story of your life but had no idea how, this is your chance to begin that exciting journey.

I am doing a workshop which can get you started and tell you what you need to continue till the finish.

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At Somaiya center for Lifelong Learning, Fort, Mumbai.

Saturday 24th February 2018 from 3 pm to 5 pm.

About the workshop –

Everyone has a wonderful story hidden inside. Think of all those anecdotes you tell anyone who is willing to listen. What if you could write them all out in a book of your own?

This workshop will show you how to make this the year you write your life story.

It will show you how to begin, what to write about, and how to keep going to the finish.

It will also tell you what makes a story interesting and how to avoid the boring and predictable.

In the last part you will learn what to do when you have finished in case you wish to find a publisher or self publish.

If you always wanted to tell your story but didn’t know how – this workshop is for you.  See you at Somaiya.

 

 

The Caged Bird Sings

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Continuing my fiction journey with two more short stories, The Caged Bird Sings and Encounter at a Train Station.

Quiet tales of women’s lives. Caged Bird tells the tale of a young girl trying to find her voice as she lives in the most limiting and confining circumstances.  Encounter is the story of a young girl trying to understand the changes in pre Independance India.

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An earlier version of Caged bird, and Encounter was included in my first eBook,  To Catch a Falling Star.

The cover is my interpretation of the brave and intense heroine of Caged Bird. It took me a long time to give her shape.

I had fun writing these stories and hope you will have fun reading them.

Lady of the Tree, a short story

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Here is the first of many short stories which I am publishing as inexpensive ebooks.  Leading up to novels eventually. This one is fantasy and I had fun both writing the story and doing the otherworldly artwork for the cover.

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This is what it is about –

She is the spirit of the tree, the last of her kind. She stayed to help humanity but she has stayed too late. Now she is marooned in an uncaring world. When they come to destroy her, how will she survive?

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Lots more to come.

between sips of cutting chai

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The second anthology is up, between sips of cutting chai, a delightful collection of poetry – haiku, haibun, senryu and renku. One more anthology from the ever active IN haiku Mumbai group.

It is available as an ebook on Amazon. The links are here.

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If you thought poetry was boring take a look at this one. There is a section of haiku on trains, Mumbai’s local lifeline. Trianku. And another section on Mumbai’s cherished pick me up – cutting chai. This is chai so strong it is cut in half and only half a glass is served yet that is more than enough. Do read the chaiku.

We had fun putting it together, working long hours in coffee shops, braving the lashing Mumbai monsoon to put out a Diwali issue. So, here it is for your reading pleasure.

The second anthology generated a lot of interest and we got submissions from all over the world. There will be a third, so if you missed this one, do submit for the third one, next year. We read and discuss every single entry and take a group decision. As usual all submission periods will be up on this blog as soon as we open.

If you like this one check out our first anthology, the taste of sea breeze, which was published in 2016. Click on the picture for Amazon.in.

Read this Summer Poetry

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The summer issue of the World Haiku Review is up and its a really good one.


               Summer 2017

This is one you will enjoy reading, especially the editorial by Editor in Chief, Susumu Takiguchi and the usual selection of good haiku and haibun.

Also take a look at the poems in One Hundred Haijin. The poetry of Sojo is deeply moving. Enjoy.

Narrow Road 2 is up

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This is a literary magazine which began with coffeeshops and friendship. Three of us began it, putting together an issue of  flash fiction, poetry and haibun. The first issue did well.

The Second issue got a lot of submissions and interest seems to be growing. So here it is, the second issue is up.

 

And here is the first issue.