Archive for December, 2009

rotten eggs

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I will not be going to the movies anymore. I only end up losing hours of the short time I have left in the world, and ruining the enjoyment of friends and family with my bitching. In spite of being told otherwise, my expectations, I feel, are not unreasonable:

– Real action heroes – who really train hard, fight hard, and whom I care about.
– Unpredictability – I should not know at the outset, that the “good guys” will win, or even who the good guys are.
– Emotional content – if I do take sides, I should care deeply about who wins. At least till the movie ends. At least for a few minutes.
I could expand on all of this, and maybe one day I will. Right now I feel it would be even more time wasted talking about the insulting mediocrity of today’s blockbuster movies.
So, I’ll just say, I won’t be going to the movies anymore, I’ll just stay home and watch football. Because football gives me all that and much more. And when the season is over, and the playoffs are played off, and when the Patriots have won the Superbowl, I’ll go back to writing.
I hope 2010 will be a year of experiences and intensity and love and peace and fulfillment for you all!

Real Action Hero!

Real Action Hero!

Deccan Herald Review

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Painfully ever after

Painfully ever after


Tranquebar Times interview

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Tranqubar Times
Tranqubar Times

Friday, December 18th, 2009


POL on Amazon

POL is now “available” on Amazon. But not really. It’s Out-Of-Stock. The good part is though, now you can review it, and rate it. So those of you who have read it, and don’t need to order it, please do review it and rate it, it would help to put it on the map… thanks!

POL in Marie Claire India december 2009

Monday, December 14th, 2009
Marie Claire Dec 2009

Marie Claire Dec 2009


and write them into major events. Or
take marginally interesting people and
write them into giants and trolls and
goddesses. For example, the people
Ginny has sex with. There have been
men and women that I had crushes
on, that I might have wanted to have
a larger relationship, or just sex with.
And circumstances or their desires did
not allow it – well, Ginny got lucky (or
unlucky) where I did not. My mother
was quite a character and I did draw
upon her for Ginny’s mother. But I
had to distort her in order to make
her larger than life. I wanted to write
fiction about a woman somewhat like
me. After I started writing, she took
on her own character. So when I read
the book after its final edit, she didn’t
resemble me. I’m glad for that. Even if
everyone insists on assuming this is – as
one reviewer put it – “autobiography
masquerading as novel” – it is a novel,
and any resemblance to persons living
or dead is purely inspirational!
Who are your favourite writers?
Jane Austen, Kurt Vonnegut, John
Steinbeck, Italo Calvino, Lawrence
Durrell, Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
– the list keeps growing longer. I have
a weakness for comics, graphic novels
and science fiction.
De spi t e the f raught f ami l y
relationships, the book is actually
about family.
Family is an odd thing. There isn’t
always a mutual desire to be part of it
– we don’t choose our parents, or even
our children. We may love them, but
wouldn’t admit it to ourselves if we
did not. Ginny is unfortunate that she
doesn’t have any models to base her
social morals on, or the size and colour
of her family. But she is fortunate too,
in not having those models. Like a
traveller on an unknown road, she has
to make it up as she goes along.
By Manjula Narayan
The Complaints
Ian Rankin
Hachette India, Rs 595
Ian Rankin’s new hero
Malcolm Fox works for
the Edinburgh Police’s
Professional Standards Unit
aka The Complaints. He’s
a cop who catches crooked cops. If his first
outing is anything to go by, readers will soon
learn to love Fox as much as they do crabby
Scot Inspector Rebus. The author’s even been
hinting that Rebus and Fox might make a joint
appearance some day. Bet you can’t wait!
The New Anthem: The
Continent in Its
Own Words
Edited by Ahmede
Tranquebar, Rs 350
Here’s a book that brings
together voices from the
Indian subcontinent. Do stop to read ‘If You
Are Afraid of Heights’ by Raj Kamal Jha, ‘The
Ocean of Mrs Nagai’ by Sharbari Ahmed and
‘Cyclone’ by Khademul Islam. Also in the
fiction anthology are works by Amit Chaudhuri,
Tabish Khair, Padma Viswanathan, Kamila
Shamsie, Mohsin Hamid and Altaf Tyrewala.
new on shelves
novel A Pack
of Lies is an
Rs 295)
Don’t Swallow Your
Gum and Other
Medical Myths
Dr Aaron Carroll & Dr
Rachel Vreeman
Penguin, Rs 350
‘You use only 10 per cent
of your brain,’ ‘Acupuncture doesn’t really
work,’ ‘Condoms protect you from all STDs’
and ‘Eating at night makes you fat’ are some
beliefs challenged in the book. Though some of
the arguments aren’t entirely convincing, it’s
definitely a witty read.
book stills: manasa madishetty
234 marie claire india december 2009
Urmila Deshpande’s A Pack
of Lies traces the journey of
her protagonist Ginny as she
struggles to make sense of family
and of life in 1980s Mumbai. Here,
the original calendar girl – she was a
leading model – talks about her novel.
How much of the book is drawn
from your life?
Ginny is often assumed to be me
because the book is written in first
person. Yes, I am Ginny and Ginny is
me, but I am also not Ginny, and she
is also not me! There are moments in
my life that I used as starting points
to write Ginny – my relationship with
my mother, or my sisters, for example.
But I did not want to be restricted to
the truth. I wanted to take possibilities,
Marie Claire Dec 2009

Marie Claire Dec 2009

The Cholesterol- Part two

Monday, December 7th, 2009


Still alive, see? Without Lipitor!

I have not gone back to get my numbers checked again. I will wait for all the strategies to take effect. I’ve been walking, religiously. The Lake is 0.6 miles around. Three or four miles means I have to walk around five or six times, and though there is plenty to talk and gossip about with my walking partner, and there is a lot of wildlife in that lake to entertain us, it’s dizzying. It’s not really a lake, but a retention pond,  where the runoff water from the heavy rains end up. There really is wildlife there, right in the middle of Tallahassee.

My mother often said she wanted to be a bird after she died. I never thought of her as a cute songbird or as a raptor. I started walking around this lake soon after she died. I saw the great blue heron on one of my earliest walks there.  He was perfect in every way, and had a large scar on one side near his wing. I was immediately convinced that he was in fact my mother, the scar was proof.  It was a mark from the heron’s previous life, in which he had fatally damaged his liver. He still comes, six years on. He walks right up to the gaggle of Muscovy ducklings, picks up one of them in his elegant beak, and swallows it whole. His neck gets a little ungainly as the creature descends into his belly, and when the bulge vanishes, he steps up again to his buffet, and takes another, and so on, till he is full. That’s my mother all right.

Those Muscovies are ugly, and, little signs around the lake inform us, dangerous. They spread disease, are aggressive, produce about a pound of feces each per day, some of which we carry into our cars and homes with our shoes, and worst of all, they mate with native wild species of ducks and turn them into Muscovies! All these things considered, I am grateful for the heron’s contribution to the eradication of these spectacularly ugly creatures.DSC00052



In the spring there are soft shell turtles that go a little spring-silly and start coming out of the lake to find mates or lay eggs. They are big, they resemble the unfortunate Jar Jar Binks, and really do have soft shells, as I found out when I rescued one who had wandered into traffic in search of a mate. He was very heavy, and tried to bite me.

That’s the walking part. Then there are the oats. In the beginning it was awful to eat the goopy matter. But more and more, I find myself looking forward to the warm slurry with a handful of dried blueberries. I have not eaten any red meat or bird (I would put that aside for some Muscovy duck flesh) since the 11th of November, and have consumed so much Mackerel and salmon that I must smell fishy. I’m sure the garlic and olive oil contributes to my general aura as well.  But, all in all, I feel better, and maybe I am getting better too. If not, then not, but I am still adamantly against swallowing statin drugs to bring down those scary numbers.

The smoking, I’ll be honest, is a FAIL. I could easily do it in the next two months, it is football season after all. There are so many ups and downs, and so much of it on the NFL channel, that hours and days could pass before I needed to leave the house to smoke. That one thing will improve my numbers more than any amount of walking, herbal powders, or food. It has to be my next goal. I’m thinking about it. I’m down to two a day, the hard part is to bring that number down – to zero.

And, I could finish my unfinished third book…