Published: Each of Us Killers (Kweli Journal)

Set in Gujarat, India around the time of the 2016 Dalit protests, ‘Each of Us Killers’ explores the present-day politics of Hindu cow worship — a highly-charged issue. It is also the story of a minority low-caste community struggling to reconcile their position in society with their need for personal agency. This struggle is, of course, universal wherever there is oppression of the minority by the majority. I also wanted to explore crowd psychology here. The actual main events of my story are entirely fictional. In fact, the village itself is fictional. However, like the Una, Gujarat flogging incident described in the story, I have also referenced a few other real-life acts of caste-related violence that have been reported or revisited in the last couple of years in Gujarat. While I am very interested in the religious and socio-political constructs that still drive casteism in present-day India, I have focused here on the aspects of human nature that allow us, collectively, to turn away in silence when witnessing injustice, violence, or murder — and what that might mean for us as communities/societies. Continue reading Published: Each of Us Killers (Kweli Journal)

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Movie Review: Sonata (2017)

Some movies roil things up inside of us for the wrong reasons. Sonata, an Indian movie in English, was one such for me. Yet, I watched it to the end and here I am writing about it too. Let me say at the outset that I recommend it to all women everywhere of all ages. When I saw the trailer, despite not having watched more than a handful of movies this year (focusing on writing projects), I knew I had to make time to watch the entire thing. The aspects that drew me in were as follows: Continue reading Movie Review: Sonata (2017)

Published: After ‘Dunkirk’, a Starter List of Books (Scroll.in)

When the movie, ‘Dunkirk’, was released in India, despite the “whitewashing” controversy and to the surprise of many of India’s movie industry experts, it drew large crowds. And these same experts spoke out more than usual about the lack of Indians in the narrative, given India’s critical role in both the Great Wars. Before we go about censuring or educating the world on why India should not have been shortchanged, it would behoove us — Indians everywhere — to understand India’s role in these Great Wars better for ourselves. Continue reading Published: After ‘Dunkirk’, a Starter List of Books (Scroll.in)

marginalia

Marginalia: 10 Indian (or Indian Origin) Women Writers for 2017

Facebook reminds me that last year, about this time, I was complaining about how there were several writers of Indian origin winning literary awards, being reviewed favorably, etc., but all were men. This year, the tide has turned just a bit. Here are some terrific recent releases on my radar by women writers — Indian or of Indian origin. And they have all tackled weighty, important themes beyond immigration/assimilation. Note: I tend to favor the literary adult genre, as you may know if you follow my writing here. Though mostly fiction, the list also has a couple of essay collections and a historical non-fiction book. No short story collections, interestingly, though. Continue reading Marginalia: 10 Indian (or Indian Origin) Women Writers for 2017

Published: On Domestic Abuse and Saving Our Men (Hofstra Windmill Online)

During my years of living and working in Silicon Valley, I met some first-generation Indian immigrant women who, despite their professional achievements, were struggling with their husbands’ anger issues, which ranged from public berating/humiliation to private beatings and more. The usual coping mechanisms for these women are to either make excuses for the men (high-stress jobs, alcohol, etc.) or to blame themselves for being somehow responsible. An Indian woman will rarely walk away from her marriage, especially if the husband is doing well professionally. Her own family is likely to view that as both her failure to hold her marriage together and her short-sightedness for her own financial wellbeing, immigrant status, etc. Additionally, as a society, we certainly do not make it easy for single women to thrive, especially if they also have to raise kids on their own. Continue reading Published: On Domestic Abuse and Saving Our Men (Hofstra Windmill Online)