Writing about not Writing, Walking

Writing about those who want to walk

Writing about those who want to walk

Writing, not writing, not being able to write: everyday frustrations for a writer. Being able to write like a spring gushes water: aspirations for a writer.

But frustrations and aspirations are so radically different for different people: Radha in this post by Anouradha Bakshi has such different frustrations and aspirations.

This little girl just wants to be able to walk.

As a writer, it makes you ashamed of your petty frustrations, and gives you a kick on your ass, tells you to get a move on, and aspirations be damned.

Just do it, you tell yourself, just write.

Writing about Cooking in Malaysia and Singapore

Writing about Cooking in Malaysia and Singapore

Writing about Cooking in Malaysia and Singapore

Cooking is as much a creative and fulfilling process as writing, and in the past few days, I’ve found cooking the easier of the two:).

I cooked over the weekend, and spent seven straight hours yesterday, cooking for friends, and did not mind it in the least. It can be such a sensory, even sensual act. Your ability to smell, touch, and see count as much, if not more, than your ability to taste. I have written before about how therapeutic it can be.

Cucinare e’ ugualmente creativo e soddisfacente come scrivere, e nei giorni scorsi, ho trovato
che  cucinare sia piu facile tra le due cose. Ho cucinato per tutto il fine settimana, e ieri ho passato sette ore  cucinando per gli amici, e questo non mi ha dato nemmeno un po di fastidio. Cucinando tutti i nostri sensi si attivano fino a raggiungere anche una forte sensualita’. La capacita’ di sentire i profumi, di toccare, e di vedere, conta quasi come, se non di piu’, dell’abilita’ di assagiare. Ho gia scritto prima su quanto questo possa essere terapeutico.

In Malaysia, people understand good food, and are willing to go to great lengths to get it. A drive to the other end of town for a particular bowl of noodles is more a norm than an exception. And this fits right in with my gluttonous nature–my GPS has more food destinations saved than anything else.

The year I spent in Singapore was not really such a great cooking phase, because seeing the ubiquitous stick-thin women in mini-skirts killed my appetite for cooking (pun intended).

But now I’m back in the land of people who are forever discussing, ruminating, arguing over what to eat, and I’m happy.

Writing exercise

Under this dress, I’m a body, washed, scrubbed, massaged, oiled, glossed, buffed, painted. I’m here not for the men, but for you.

You can have what I have, my body is natural, see? Oh, I do take care of myself, but so can you. Within your budget too. Come, let me show you how. Let’s do it shall we?

You can get my gorgeous body, my job at the fab magazine, my smashing millionaire boyfriend with the Ferrari, my dresses and my diamonds.

You can have it all too, never mind if you stay in a seedy loft at the other end of town. You can do it! Remember, I started off just like you. Just pick me up from the news stand and let’s go home, where I’ll tell you all my secrets.

Writing about A Different Existence

As I wrote in my last post, I have a lot of time to kill and breaks to take in between writing sessions, for dreaming, blogging. Blog browsing as well.

Writing about Project Why

Writing about Project Why

I have been trying this morning to catch up on the posts on blogs I follow, and this one made sense. With so much of made-up beauty around me, it was refreshing to read about souls without artifice. Refreshing, and maybe a bit jolting….the suite somehow seems even more claustrophobic than before.

The blogger is a social activist, a gutsy woman who runs a non-profit organization, working with those people and those places where all Indians should be contributing. Sadly, they do not. Most of her donors are people who live abroad, outside India, whether non-resident Indians, or foreigners. So are a large number of her volunteers.

As an example of the indifference of the city she works in, her grassroot fund-raising effort of 1 Rupee a day, or 365 Rupees (8USD) a year did not have almost any supporters in India. She frequently talks about two Indias, and there is nothing more distressing to me than to be faced with the inequities she holds up for inspection.

And this sort of inequality is a reality not just in India, but also in Malaysia where I live, in Macau where I’m staying right now, in the U.S., which seems to be hurtling headlong towards depression.

She has put together a book based on her experiences, and blogs regularly.

In a way, she is my window into India and my conscience for me during my expatriate existence. She is doing what a lot of us have the urge to do, and never have the courage to actually step in and do it. She is one of those people who actually make the world a better place, and renew faith in human nature for a hardened cynic like me.

Writing about Fake, Over-the-Top Venice

I am not writing about Venice, but about The Venetian, a casino hotel in Macau.

I have been here since yesterday, and so far, I’m quite taken with the experience, attracted and repelled at the same time.

The casino, of course, is out-of-bounds for cameras, so I have no pictures. To me, the overwhelming first impression was of a colorful fish market, only without the stench and the noise.

Continue reading

Writing about Writing Everyday

I have been writing everyday for the past six months, just not on this blog or the other one, but on pen and paper. Of course, there have always been good arguments for why one should write everyday, but this article puts all the reasons together so very well. Enjoy!

10 Reasons You Should Write Something Each Day.

Writing about Translating The Shadow of the Wind into Italian

I have been writing about my decision to translate paragraphs at random into Italian from books I have read and liked, and here is the second of such posts.

The book is the originally Spanish bestsellerThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, which I picked up about two months ago in one of my reading sprees, and found intriguing, especially because it is a thriller about a book. The entire book is done in the first person, and now that I’ve realized how challenging that can be, I salute the author for making such a great job of it in this book.

I picked up this passage because I really like the setting of this chapter, and the scene is complete, sad, and tense.

Request to my Italian friends who visit this blog: Please help make the passage better….aiuto!!!


Translating The Shadow of the Wind into Italian

Translating The Shadow of the Wind into Italian

Dawn was breaking when I returned to the apartment on Calle Santa Ana. Opening the door quietly, I slipped in without switching on the light. From the entrance hall I could see the dining room at the end of the corridor, the table still decked out for the party. The cake was there, untouched, and the crockery still waited for the meal. I could make out the motionless silhouette of my father in his armchair, as he observed the scene from the window. He was awake and still wearing his best suit. Wreaths of cigarette smoke rose lazily from a cigarette he held between his index and ring fingers, as if it were a pen. I hadn’t seen my father smoke in years.

L’alba spuntava quando sono tornato nell’ appartamento in Calle Santa Ana. Aprendo la porta silenziosamente, mi sono scivolato dentro senza accendere la luce. Dall’ atrio potevo vedere la sala da pranzo ad un’estremita’ del corridoio, la tavola ancora apparecchiata elegantemente per la festa. La torta era là, non toccata, le stoviglie aspettavano il pasto. Ho potuto distinguere la sagoma immobile di mio padre nella sua poltrona, come se avesse osservato la scena dalla finestra. Lui era sveglio, e ancora indossava il suo vestito migliore. Gli anelli di fumo salivano pigramente dalla sigaretta che lui teneva tra l’indice e l’anulare, come una penna. Non avevo visto mio padre fumare da anni.

Writing about Memes: Six Unspectacular Things about You

Writing a normal post is often easier than writing a Meme post, but Indigo’s meme was “spectacularly” easy to to do cos she says you only have to list out six unspectacular things about you.

I can list about six million unspectacular things about me without blinking, so I thought, why not, even though I hardly ever respond to tags.

So, Indigo, here you go:
1. I make the same mistakes in Italian grammar that I used to one year ago.

2. I only post on my other blog when I really feel like it, or when a post there is so old it stinks.

3. I write my best when I am sitting uncomfortably, with a crick in my neck or a stitch in my legs.

4. I cannot stand the slightest bit of blood and gore, whether in a movie, a TV series or a game. I write gory stories though.

5. I collect cards, stamps, and discount coupons at shopping malls, but inevitably forget to use them before their expiry date.

6. I have a good memory for faces, but most names elude me.

Meme Terms and Conditions

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (Done)
2. Mention the rules on your blog. (Done)
3. List six unspectacular things about you.(Done)
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them. (Everyone who reads this post can consider themselves tagged–upto you if you want to post on your blog, or comment here.)……….My wish list? Darc, Annie, Ovidia, Kym, Rick, Pendrifter.

I shall be thrilled if the “tagged” ones reply, but knowing you all, finding six unspectacular things will be a hard thing to do.

Now that I have written a thoroughly unspectacular post, time for me to get back to work :)

Writing in times of Financial Crisis

Mourning Lehman Brothers

Mourning Lehman Brothers

Writing is a field really a lot insulated from the world of investment banking, but I can’t help but feel sad at the fall of the financial behemoth Lehman Brothers, the humiliation of Merrill Lynch and the peril faced by AIG.

We are living in interesting, uncertain times. Some of my most placid and indifferent friends have started watching CNBC and Bloomberg, trying to make sense of it all.

A lot of people (a few of who I personally know) are looking at lost jobs. A lot of my visitors are from the US, and I wonder what is going through their minds right now—hard to imagine from my insular existence in Malaysia. Writing fiction seems to be a terribly “Ivory Tower” activity right now, but you do what you do. So, it is back to writing exercises for me, and I hope things look up for everyone soon.

Writing about Italian, Haruki Murakami

I have been talking about the books I’m reading, and now I have hit upon a plan.

Now that I have my CELI exams drawing near, I will pick up passages from books at random, simple ones, and the ones I like, naturalmente, and translate them into Italian.

An Italian friend or two with whom I already do language exchange programs would then correct me as and when they have time, and I will post it here.

I know the translation is amateur, but it combines two of my fave activities, reading and learning Italian, so here I go. I choose Murakami for my first post because he is one of the few authors I have read who can combine tragedy and farce without missing a beat. And I choose Hard Boiled Wonderland to mark the way he is able to combine the worlds of the fantastic and the real.

Writing about translating Murakami into Italian

Writing about Translating Murakami into Italian

This one is for all Murakami fans, some of whom I have met, bibliobibuli, Ted’s Thoughts, Ovidia …..


Request to my Italian friends who visit this blog: Please help make the passage better….aiuto!!!

Haruki Murakami: Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

The elevator continued its impossibly slow ascent. Or at least I imagined it was ascent. There was no telling for sure: it was so slow that all sense of direction simply vanished. It could have been going down for all I knew, or maybe it wasn’t moving at all. But let’s just assume it was going up. Merely a guess. Maybe I’d gone up twelve stories, then down three. Maybe I’d circled the globe. How would I know?

L’ascensore continuava la sua ascesa estremamente lenta. O almeno immaginavo che era fosse l’ascesa. Non potevo essere sicuro: era cosi lento che il senso dell’orientamento era semplicemente sparito. Avrebbe potuto scendere per quanto ne sapevo, o forse non si muoveva neanche. Pero’ assumiamo che stava salendo. Solamente un’ipotesi. Forse sono salito dodici piani, e poi sceso di tre. Forse ho girato il mondo. Come potrei sapere?