Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HOT news on yet another cold day

I was saying to a friend the other day, we make fun of the English for starting their conversations (or at least sneaking excerpts of it) with weather, but we all have been doing the same off late. I don’t even need to browse through Weather Channel's website; Facebook has people sharing their temperature-plight.

This other friend, she and I were at the same workshop last weekend, said to me, “Have you realized, it’s only desis who use weather as an excuse?”

“How do you mean?” I asked as I rubbed my hands to keep them from turning blue.

“If it’s too hot, desis switch on their air-condition and drink lassis or juices. If it gets too cold, we rely on heat, friends, and food for warmth. And monsoon means pakodas and chai. But the Americans are different.”

“How so?”

“Whatever be the weather, they enjoy life: On a hot day, they sunbathe and partake in water sports and when the mercury dips, they go skiing,” she responded.

Well, we said goodbyes and got our frozen toes inside our respective subways. But I thought about what she’d said. She had a point. But this winter is different. Irrespective of ethnicity and skin color or background, people are dealing with the weather in similar ways.

The winter has been harsh and vindictive. And because NYC demands that you walk, the pain gets exacerbated. Innumerable cups of herbal teas can perhaps thaw you for sometime. But that’s about it.

New Yorkers are used to snow-teasers a.k.a. snowstorms twice or thrice over winter. But not three snowstorms a week. I don’t think most New Yorkers are prepared (in terms of clothing or gears) to deal with what we have this season.

My weather-venting aside, the raging optimist in me (whatever bit isn’t hibernating) likes to believe that there is a good side to the worst of situations. And well, there is.

Thanks to the weather, the day-to-day distractions are fewer. I am still meeting friends or peers after work but at a coffee shop or for meals at home. In my world of writing, where we have readings and drinks/dinners more often than the real world (An artist’s life can be that of solitude when he or she is in the creative process, so social hour is quintessential for maintaining traces of sanity), people have been scaling back. The last thing you want is to be stranded at a restaurant or salon—be it your own or a new neighborhood.

So, all of this sub-zero chaos has resulted in higher productivity: I was offered the cool (okay, try suicidal since honestitis is my forte and most people don't have an appetite for blunt words) opportunity to be a columnist for UK-based magazine VISNOMY. My first column was accepted by the editor, and the magazine will be launched towards the end of first quarter of 2011.

I did two readings, where I was invited as a featured poet, this month. One was at Terraza Café in Elmhurst and the other was on my birthday at Brownstone Poets, Brooklyn. It meant a lot to see family and friends at both these events. They braved the nasty temperatures to support my dreams. Thank you.

Aside from the readings, I have had a few pieces out too this month:

  • Five of my poems appeared in an anthology published by Unisun Publications in Bangalore, India: Timescapes.
  • U.K.-based Skylark Publications published my poem, "The riddle of Draupadi" in their first anthology: Word Masala. This poem makes you wonder if Mahabharata was a strategic arrangement between Krishna and Druapadi.
  • My poem, "Crossing Over," inspired by a true story (I met with a clairvoyant in Ireland who told me stuff about my deceased, paternal grandfather), was published in Recovering The Self: Volume III, Number1. Also, check out the cover of this magazine. The picture was taken by my husband. Super-proud moment in the Srivastava-Vikram house!
  • Danse Macabre, an online literary magazine, published "A Sea of Curse." This poem is part of a new collection that I am working on.

But the BIGGER NEWS: I signed a NEW book contract for a POETRY COLLECTION. I am excited about this project, a lot, for many reasons. The theme is very close to my heart and so is the location where I conceived the idea for it. Like most artists, I too would like to believe that one-day words and art would change humanity for the better. Increase tolerance and help people empathize. But more on the project as the time comes closer.

Thanks for all your warmth and generosity. If you'd like to stay updated on news at my end or just stay in touch, I invite you to connect with me on Twitter or join my author page on Facebook. It’s true: A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns.

Stay warm! More until next time,


Copyright © 01.27.2011

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~Ray Bradbury

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