Booknotes: Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands

In Indian culture and society, a lot of the talk/news related to Mumbai mafia and gang violence/crime is mostly about the men — the ganglords, their aides, and their henchmen. Often, the only women we read of (or see in Bollywood movie versions) tend to be the virtuous, long-suffering wives or mothers, or the glamorous arm candy or objects of desire. Though Mumbai's mafia men, the underworld, and organized crime have all been portrayed in movies over the decades, the cultural fascination truly took hold of the collective imagination with the 1998 movie, Satya, which was about a turf war between two Mumbai ganglords. So a book about the far lesser-known mafia women is irresistible for the primary reason that the authors offer in their introduction: "They are fascinating women because they push the boundaries of our dominant moral codes."

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Social Media for Writers (Part 1)

This is the first of a new series of posts. As a full-time writer, I find Facebook to be more of a writer's medium than other social platforms and use it to augment my daily writing practice. That said, given the 24/7 nature of news and entertainment media, and the over-sharing that goes on, it is easy to lose hours reading, commenting, sharing, liking stuff on FB rather than focusing on the real work of writing. Not to mention what it does to one's creativity -- think of the image of a whole, smooth egg with the caption "This is your brain" and then the image of messily-scrambled eggs with the caption "This is your brain on social media." Yeah. It can be like that. So, in this first post of the series, In this first post of the series, I focus on why, as a writer, I prefer FB and how I try to organize and ration my usage time to avoid that brain-as-scrambled-eggs scenario. Future posts will be about how to use it more effectively to collaborate with other writers, engage meaningfully with other readers, and promote oneself as a writer.

#Bornonthisday: Susan B Anthony (and her ‘Homes of Single Women’ speech)

Susan B Anthony, women’s rights activist, slavery abolition activist, and educational reformer, was born today in 1820. If it wasn’t for her and her many cohorts, we women today, across the world, would not be enjoying the many freedoms we take for granted. Having grown up in a patriarchal world, I constantly remind myself of these words of hers: ". . .many young people think that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past."