Monday, March 27, 2017

Shakti #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

After much second guessing, here it is - I take on April A-Z challenge this year and bring to you, 26 short stories based on the female characters from Indian mythology. Now, my knowledge on Indian mythology is very limited - stories I've heard from my grandparents, the retelling of the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata I've read and seen, the rituals I've observed during festivals - all have left a impression on me since childhood.

Growing up I was never self-conscious of being a Hindu. Yes, I learnt the Hanuman chalisa by heart and every Tuesday during my summer holidays, I went with my Nanaji to the Hanuman Setu in Lucknow and helped serve water and prasad; till date I can recite shlokas in Tamil fluently, which were taught to me by an aunt who lived nearby our house in Annanagar, Chennai; and mythological stories that came from Amar Chitra Katha and few teleserials fascinated me to no end. At the same time, I went to a missionary school and sang hymns at school assemblies with joy, visited Nizamuddin Dargah with my parents and immersed in the soulful qawwals of the dargah, marveled at the beautiful churches and basilicas of Goa when vacationing.

Writing these stories on Indian mythology are a way to understand the human conditions, the human dilemmas, to introspect and question once again, what we perceive as right or wrong. I am sure anyone who has heard stories about Lord Ram and Lord Krishna have questioned, Why did Ram, the righteous Lord, the 'Maryada Purushottama', abandon Sita? or Why did Krishna, the inclusive leader, the perfect Statesman, adopt unfair means that went against 'Dharma Yuddha'?

The quest for knowledge (Saraswati), power (Durga) and wealth (Lakshmi) is what our society revolves around and what better way to understand this than to look into the stories of Shakti.

Focusing on the female narrative is important to uncover the layers and bring out the essence of life. So join me through April , and see the stories unfold.

P.S. I am trying to schedule my posts beforehand but till now I only have three stories written, so let's see how this goes. But I am hoping like my first time, in 2014, the rush and the deadline of writing every day pushes me to complete this challenge successfully, and leads me to a second published book.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Re-Discovering the Classics

We’ve been always told to never judge a book by its cover. But there is no shame if a beautiful cover entices you to pick up a classic. 

Many designers are foraying into the field of book designing with the aim that good literature is read by many, and one way of doing it, is by communicating what a book holds inside by depicting it in a modern way on the outside. The visual imagery that urges one to pick up a book is what new book covers are doing for the good old classics, and I for one, am totally buying into this so called ‘gimmick’As a book hoarder, nothing excites me more than the look and feel of a new book. And when some of my favourite classics are re-imagined in a way that connects instantly to the literature and the intent of the author, I buy the book without giving a second thought.

Read the rest of the post at Kubashi

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Guerrilla Wars #WomenOfBlogging

Last week I was at Tate Modern, where I was introduced to the Guerrilla Girls -

" The Guerrilla Girls are feminist activist artists. We wear gorilla masks in public and use facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture. Our anonymity keeps the focus on the issues, and away from who we might be: we could be anyone and we are everywhere."

They were formed in response to an exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1984 where a revolting fact came to light, that of sexism in the art world. Amongst the 169 artists represented, only 13 were women. When normal protest did not rouse any interest from the public, they found new ways to revolt using street art. In the middle of the night, they took to the streets of SoHo and pasted posters that named New York galleries that showed no more than 10% women artists and listed successful male artists who allowed their work to be shown in galleries showing little or no work by women.