Last night, the University of Pennsylvania did something it hasn’t done in 50 years, something radical. A teach-in.
I was in a literary fiction hellscape populated with unfocused ideas and disconnected connections. Saying too much and nothing at all. How the hell did I get here? Overcogitation, of course, dear reader. And appropriation. Wait. What? I hear you, dear reader. You thought this post was going to meander down the well-worn navel-gazing tunnels of writerly insecurity and doubt. Oh no. I’m sorry, dear reader. You’ve come to the wrong blog for that. This post is about culture and its appropriation.
The essence of Brené Brown’s new book Braving the Wilderness lies in these words from an 8th grader: “If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.” Where do I belong? I have struggled with this question many times while living overseas. Belonging will become the … Continue reading Braving my wilderness: How I learned to stop hating the first person and my résumé
Reading Indian writing in English represents an act of translation every time I read. Yes, even when the book is written in English, every book represents a journey through and across culture. It might seem strange to hear a native English speaker say that I read English in translation, but I do. Given the idiomatic … Continue reading Reading Rupi: Translating English across cultures
The journey from Sikkim in the far north to Karnataka in the south isn’t just long; it’s arduous, entailing multiple long-haul trains. Such a journey would be difficult for a girl so young. I knew that. What I didn’t know is how to ask what I could not ask without asking.
Update: Since I published this blog in 2017, I have had the opportunity to read Ms. Bajpai's book. The stories bear no resemblance to each other. At all. Her story draws significantly on Bhagat's college romance formula. This accusation was a cheap publicity stunt. When the news broke that Chetan Bhagat was being sued for … Continue reading Branding Bhagat: 5 points about Brand CB and 1 Indian Girl
There she was, at the back of the shop, leaning against VS Naipaul. She’d travelled so far from her native place to reach mine. That we should meet here in my hometown just as I was trying to decide where to settle felt like more than kismet or fate. It felt like my own homecoming. … Continue reading Where do you belong to?: Homecoming and belonging in The Better Man
I went to Bangalore with one goal: FINISH THE DAMN BOOK! And, finish I did. The book is currently with a few kind readers. I intend to have a finished manuscript by the end of the year, maybe sooner. The question for many writers is where to write. Some write at home and have a … Continue reading Where to write (and finish!) your book in Bangalore
For all the focus in the Gita on action rather than outcome, a book review, let alone a verdict, seems almost superfluous. As a novice reader of the Gita, I would recommend this book. I am glad this was my last read of 2016.
Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar has written a powerful, provocative short story collection that explores Adivasi identity politics and experience. Brilliant, layered storytelling at its finest.