Saturday 23 July 2016

Double helpings of Liebster, Mary Oliver, Camus, Conrad, and the Definition of Various Things

Denise Covey, and prior to her, Yolanda of Defending the Pen  have both very kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award.  Both are published authors and ubercool bloggers, with fun and informative individual blogs on writing, check them out by clicking on the links and if you aren't following them already, I assure you - you totally should.  Not only that, they also jointly co-host the monthly bloghop Write...Edit...Publish where aspiring writers  meet every two months to work at set prompts and present their creations for review and feedback. Thank you for nominating me, ladies! 

And what is the Liebster Award? The Liebster Blog Award is an exciting opportunity to develop relationships with our fellow bloggers from different domains. This is a peer nominated award, which acts as a chain blog post. And is mainly intended to connect with new bloggers while building your email list. So, here goes...I start my acceptance with answers to Yolanda's questions :

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Subtle happy

The afternoons are slow, nothing to do
between the end of morning and four o’clock
a kite swings a dead rat on the hot tin of the roof
or it’s a vulture, a swifter winged hawk
and it circles slow, breaking the normal cycles
the sun loses the wind in his sails by and by
no matter how slow the hawk chooses to fly

a lone eyelash falls, lured somewhere off the lid
and someone plucks it off and places it on my fist
now shut your eyes and blow hard and make a wish
but I can’t think of anything however hard I try
however tight I squeeze my closed eyes
nothing left to wish for, no secrets yet to hide
– a subtle sort of happy that can make one cry.

No writing it as it comes this week, a slightly older poem I wrote as I was thinking of my school holidays  a long, long time ago, as we waited for the offspring's school to close a few weeks earlier.  Home leave is always intense, and I have got by on other years by scheduling and planning ahead.  This year something inside the brain rebelled at that, so... no advance posts.  And it is about to get 'intenser and intenser' as Alice might have said.  Not only did I not schedule my holiday posts, but I have committed to an online creative writing course, which fits neatly into the home leave dates like they were made for each other! What was I thinking of?? But now that I've signed up, I can't leave well alone either, so this whole vacation is going to be one long juggling act performed by someone who is a committed single-tasker.  Well that's just an euphemism, half-tasker is more like the truth!! We shall see....

Hope you are having a great summer/season of fun and relaxation wherever you are. 

Thursday 14 July 2016

This and that

Nope, not the usual poetry post, I'm speaking like a sensible, normal human being today.  Am officially on home leave from tomorrow, which is just another way of saying 'hectic' and 'out of control' :) There may or may not be a post next week, depending on how organised I can manage to be. And if the wifi is sorted. 

Just popped in here to share that and a couple of other things. One of them is this anthology here

which has 86 poets from around the world writing about love.  I'm in there with some of mine. Here's the link.

I also wanted to talk about the Write...Edit...Publish bloghop which gets back on next month.  The prompt is Gardens, the sign-up begins on 1st August, the postings on 17th.  More details on the WEP page and on the hosts', Denise and Yolanda, here and here. I will be travelling back just then, but am definitely going to participate, maybe with a couple of days lag in the hopping.  I seem to be using the word 'lag' a lot lately somehow :)

Two badges this time, aren't they luscious? and a whole lot of inspiration! WEP allows enough freedom to interpret the prompt and make it your own, and then there's the feedback from publishers and authors. Check out the pages and join in, it widens and deepens writing/creative skill sets, apart from being a whole heap of fun.  Seriously! See you there.

Monday 11 July 2016


I will write you everything in just one line
and you can call it any name you choose
syllables and line counts cannot define
what is or isn’t a sonnet, or the truth.
As honestly as I can, I will write
what I feel in the simplest language, use
no embellishments, nothing to turn and writhe

at the ends of octaves and quickly form
the premise and endless counter argument.
No snake gobbling its tail, not a huge word-storm
in a small teacup. One line, then fall silent.
And it’ll still be a sonnet, though the norm
of iambs and fourteen shall be absent. 

Monday 4 July 2016


As the crow flies, Dhaka isn’t far -
in fact just the other day, some of us
had got together, an evening of raucous
laughter and drinks later, hatched an idea
for a sunset safari at Cox’s Bazaar.
You can cross the borders now by train and bus,
but there are others near impossible to cross.
As the crow flies, Dhaka isn’t too far.
Nowhere is. And nowhere is far enough.

Both my parents were born in Dhaka in pre-Partition India. I have friends who live and work there, I have friends who were born there, I have family members who visit there often - this one has struck very close indeed.

Saturday 2 July 2016

Liebster, TMI, and ageing by parts

Yolanda, a long time blogger friend, has tagged me for the Liebster, and very generously given a choice in how I respond, either with her set of questions or with the TMI Blog hop's.  Therefore, with heartfelt thanks to Yolanda for the award, and in honour of Debbie and Guilie, I've voted to participate in the TMI Blog hop. 

I hope you'll take the dare and join in!

This is me, from A to Z

A: Age

Varies by body part. Heart=19-ish, head=Methuselah, knees somewhere in between.  Can vary also by time of day.

B: Biggest fear

Loss of a loved one, I guess. And also that aliens will goof up somehow and zap the entire planet's coffee plantations instead of us humans one of these days, yikes!

C: Current time

01:29.  Most of my posts are written in the dead of night.

D: Drink you last had

One of those pre-mixed vodkas.

E: Every day starts with

Whut?! Is that the time?! 
See C above.  I am so not a lark.

F: Favorite Song

I find it really hard to pick favourites - just too many super awesome songs! Right now, can't get Il Divo out of my head.

G: Ghosts, are they real?

This answer varies by body part too. Heart- erm, yeah, who's the headless lady wandering around Tower of London otherwise, hunh? 

Head - nah, don't be silly.  

Knees - we are just going to scoot off home, just to be on the safe side while we all debate this rationally. As soon as we can turn ourselves back to solid from the jellylegs we've become.

H: Hometown

Several.  Grew up in more than one town, all feel like 'hometown' still, even though I haven't been those places for ages.

I: In love with

The smell of new books.  The smell of old books. Poetry. Travelling.  Ruins of old buildings. Sunsets (and the son as well, the son's father is also not too bad :)

J: Jealous of?

I am really not very good at jealousy, seriously energy-intensive stuff! But I could take a stab at people who can go all day long in spiky heels and retain their good humour.

K: Killed someone?

Oh, heaps of people. Imaginary only. I have it on the best authority that no writer is worthy of being called one unless s/he can 'kill the darlings off' at the drop of a hat. Practicing hard!

L: Last time you cried?

Can't recall, awful memory for negatives. Believe in selective amnesia. But I do tear up all the time at the mildest of things, happy, sad, just like that.  A real weepfest is rare though.

M: Middle name

Parent's never gave me one. And I didn't discover the lack till I was too old to go back and demand it, drat!

N: Number of siblings

None.  Parent's didn't give me any of those either. Deprived childhood, as you can see :)  No middle name, no siblings. Scarred me for life.

O: One wish

Can't think of a single meaningful thing.  I have all I need.

P: Person you last called?

A real estate chap - we might have to move out to a different palatial mansion oops, I mean hovel, yeah, again, yeah, move.  Hubby usually lets off these bombshells every couple of summers. I am just being proactive  - if he does drop it this time, I have already done my homework.

Q: Question you're always asked

'Dinner mein kya hai?' (What's there for dinner?) without fail every evening, even though I always reply with a 'I'm working on it, along with the poetry.'

R: Reason to smile

Does one need a reason? I mostly smile without any. Like this :) 

S: Sounds that annoy you

Notifications beeping a million times everyday on the cell, I got some kind of fake birdcall thingy permanently slapped into the circuitry which refuses to be dislodged.  Can't mute much coz well, have family back home, people with ageing family members will know what I mean.

T: Time you woke up

Dunno.  Today's the weekend and the first day of the school summer vacation here. Probably around 7 o'clock.

U: Underwear colour

Anything except white.  Favourite set's emerald. 

V: Vacation destination

Summer - usually India, because that's where the extended family are.  Winter - somewhere else in the MENA or Europe.

W: Worst habit

Too much coffee probably, and not enough writing to show for it.

X: X-Rays you've had

Last one I remember was the shoulder. 

Y: Your favorite food

Mangoes in the monsoons (that's the real reason I go to India in July-August! all that about family is only so's not to hurt their feelings. :) 

And of course, chocolate all year round. Thank goodness that's not seasonal!

Z: Zodiac sign

Please join us!

The blog-fest is on through July 13th. 

Just add your name and post your answers.