Thursday, April 24, 2014



It takes someone's loss, impending loss to show you how minimal, how insignificant your own trouble is, even if it aint going away someplace. Impending loss that, but of course one will battle, one will use up all the tools, with all that modern science etc etc offers, knowing, knowing the science, knowing the odds yet…Life…and life is so beautiful…sunlight,  a radiant halo around a sprig of buds and blooms, and you stop and stare and wonder why you never saw this before. And you wonder about loss, and the cost one pays incrementally over the years with cumulative loss, this one and that one, and that one, quite different but quite the same, and after a time one can react, feel no longer but just shrink, bow in  stunned silence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PQ asked for photos of the park, so here we go...


orange copper pod sandwiched by bakuls

magnificent raintree... blooms too fine to be seen

fresh leaves on the kailashpati

kailashpati... what a heavenly scent

apta... bauhinia leaves

stylo! HK orchid , Bauhinia


tivar... a carpet of fine blooms underfoot

glorious gold


sita ashoka


the first amaltas or laburnum



persian lilac... delictate and poisonous as hell

amla!


the first gulmohur


Friday, April 11, 2014

our own problems shrink to insignificant.
in the park where i walk, angelika  walks too. sort of.
she's five.
she walks few hesitant steps.
and plops down, all tears.
her father and grandfather are coaxing her to walk. 
everyone tries to help. make her stand waist deep in sand at the beach.massage her legs. do this, do that.
now it is everyone's problem. a grandmother holds her hand and runs with her.
today she walked a great deal, fifteen steps, all alone.
everyone's happy.
yes, I can put foot in front of foot and walk. I can do that.

the Tivar are in bloom now, a fine carpet of red blooms beneath your feet.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014



Yet.
the copper pod trees have flared into bloom. All at once. As if someone put on a giant switch.
Despite all.
My grief claws about for a language.

Friday, April 04, 2014

I've just called off plans to go trekking  the next week.
Sorry GHNP, some other time -- if the fates will it. Else my backpack was packed and raring to go.
Given current exigencies, this decision was called for. Why handover someone a stick to beat you with?
Each day brings in new surprises. I could use a few good ones.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Monday, March 31, 2014

My warm, lively friend Guilie—who I first “met” on Practice group at IWW where all good things happen-- well, Guilie tagged me on her blog. 

These are questions re my writing process, and I’m being as honest as I can.  To begin with, the word “process” makes me squirm…I don’t think I have a process per se. Writing for me is like whittling away at the words, revision after revision, a chip there, a  bit of sandpapering there…

What are you working on?

Two things, actually.  Or maybe three. I put writing in two boxes—translation and “own”

Box One currently has the longer term stuff, the translation of an important memoir, a tome in two parts, where I’ve finished the rough, handwritten word by word draft of HALF the book. I need to finish this as quickly as I can, but typing it out, making changes as I go along, is going to take what it takes. Meticulous, laborious WORK—but it chronicles an important decade in my country’s history AND I quite enjoy the challenge of a personal narrative as versus the fiction I’ve translated before. Plus this is a paid assignment, and cash appeals to the Gujarati in me. I also need to revisit Bharat Trivedi’s verse and translate the ones left out from the book—Since that’s the only way we can reach poetry journals.

Box Two, labeled OWN, has three things primarily. One is the PRACTICE group stubs.  This is something I MUST do, maybe two times a year I allow myself a pass. Most of these are “inspired” from the newspaper. The second is working and reworking (after rejections) longer stories built from these practice stubs. The third, which I should do more of, is writing poems and CNF.
As you can guess, I’m  perpetually trying to balance out Box ONE and Box TWO.  That I write Indian English, that I write sentence fragments and have the attention span of a frisky sparrow, doesn’t really help.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Box One: Not too many people work on translations from Gujarati. For translations I prefer to work on one author, one poet … instead of flitting about from one masterpiece to another. This gives me a certain comfort with style and nuances, a sixth sense of sorts that lets me go beyond the printed word.

Box Two is mostly newspaper-inspired and Mumbai-inspired. Not sure how it is too different, other than the form—mine are short stories, even the murders are crisp and elegant.

Why do I write what I do?

Box One: Because I can. Also because the next generation cannot or will not read Gujarati, perhaps this is the only way to preserve our heritage.  Most of this work has been gratis—only now bits of it are paying off.

Box Two: I don’t know. Sometimes stories nag you, itch till they’re out in B&W. Also, because as I invest time in BOX ONE, this tiny voice prods me—so what did you do for YOU?

How does my writing process work?

Box One: Translate by hand, word by word.  Type out, changing, whittling as you go. Print and revise. Incorporate Author comments and revise. For a book, send final version to ALICE, get her comments, revise.

Box Two: Read newspapers, keep a radar scan watch for anything that seems unusual. Cut pages that seem interesting. Save news from online city papers. WRITE a PRACTICE stub with suitable story. Extend stub. Polish, sub, rework, sub… endless cycle.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Her mail said she was a sr. citizen, it didn’t say she was a swimmer, techie, a trekker (Everest base camp, Kailas Mansarovar). Age just got trashed. Inspiring.