Friday, May 31, 2013

Where nothing is taboo - Braja Sorensen

Braja Sorensen is one of my fellow bloggers. And I am pretty sure that majority of my blogger buddies too stalk her religiously. I was so lucky to do her interview as her book ' Lost and found in India' is about to hit the markets. The interview was published in the Sunday Magazine of the news paper ' The New Indian Express'. I am uploading the interview here in my blog.

Those who would like to check out her blog http://www.brajasorensen.com/


Braja for 'you'


In 1993, Braja Sorensen, a native of Australia, came to India. What prompted her to do so was her deep reading of the Bhagawad Gita. Braja was attracted by the philosophical, spiritual and cultural aspects of “exotic” India.

“I was living here for so many years and I wanted to say something about this country as seen by a person who lived here, and not be someone who visited and thought they understood something, and blurted out all sorts of pseudo-wisdom,” says Braja.

She has toured almost all of North India. She lived in Jaipur in the late 1990s and has also spent time in Delhi, Vrindavan, Agra, Mussoorie, Dehradun and Mumbai so far.
“But my favourite place is West Bengal. I have spent 12 years there,” she says.

And all these years she was unknowingly accumulating the ingredients needed to write a book on India. Thus was born her debut book, Lost and Found in India, published by Hay House India.

The book lays bare the daily lives of the people. As author and playwright Farrukh Dhondy says, “The book does not analyse India, it suffers and enjoys it. It is breezy, light and descriptive, with funny meditations by a voluntary citizen of India.”

It was her daily posts in her blog that eventually got compiled into the book. “I started blogging in 2008,” says Braja. “As I had been living in India for some years and also wanted to write a book, I thought a blog would give me an impetus to write daily. Besides, it was a daily push to write, knowing I had to post something. Obviously, it was going to be about India. I was tired of all the books written by westerners about India.”

Ask Braja about her favourite writers, she says, “I love William Dalrymple’s work. It is so understanding of all aspects of India. And he has inspired me a lot.” Braja feels that one has to love something ardently to write about it authentically.

“You have to love India, to be able to write about it properly. Many think they love it, so they come and live here, and then leave a couple of years later with their romantic ideals shattered by the reality that is India. And that is the thing about India: it is so real. Too real for most.”
In the book, Braja has also written about the recent rape cases which have traumatised the nation. “It happens everywhere in the world, though. The thing about India is that its heart is an open, realistic, and honest one: it does not hide anything. Death isn’t a taboo subject like it is in the West. In India, nothing is taboo. India shows its face no matter what, and I think the publicity and the public reaction to the recent rape incidents is just another facet of this honesty and openness, a fresh approach that the West just does not do. So, I don’t think it is necessarily worse here than anywhere else. It is just that India is not embarrassed to put it out there. The same is the case about the poverty and untidiness. Everything is public.”

Friday, May 17, 2013

MOM and Chappathi



Yesterday I was making Chappathi (made of flour) and it made me think of my childhood days when my mom used to make them. Frankly, I hardly took any interest in learning cooking from her. I always felt like ‘that was not me, I am much more masculine’. Years passed by. Now I am living alone. Since I do not enjoy hotel food, I have to cook for myself.  I started with tit-bits. Nevertheless, to say, it was quite successful. To my surprise, when I started cooking, I was following her, unknowingly. It is not that making a chappathi is a Herculean task. All you need is to be tactful to get the round shape. Otherwise, it could be sticky. Anybody could have surely faced such a problem to get that round shape without getting the flour sticky.

When I started cooking, like in a trance, I do everything my mom used to do. Sometimes I even think that I am not ‘me’ anymore but 'her'. It always hit strange to me for I always let my father influence me. I blindly emulated him and wanted to be like him. Still I do. ....In my mom's case, I always felt that I never resembled her in any way, not even in her looks. Now I feel that I resemble her, in every way and I am so happy. This is not only in the case with ‘chappathis’ but almost in every thing. I love that for she is a woman with integrity.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Quotes for ME and YOU

Never let loneliness drive back into the arms of someone you know you don't belong with - anonymous

" They say a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on top of the head. But I say a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can't stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that's a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it!”
C. JoyBell C.


“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

“In politics, If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.”
― Margaret Thatcher

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Thursday, May 9, 2013

published in The Hindu ( Newspaper )

This is something I came across in the news paper on Friday.
Absolutely heart wrenching photograph.
Though saddened by the picture to the core, but complacent to beleive that they are together even in death.




As life ebbed away:We do not know who they are. This heart-wrenching scene of togetherness as their life snuffed out emerged when rescue workers in Dhaka were clearing the rubble of an eight-storey building that collapsed on April 24. Over 900 lives were lost when Rana Plaza, that housed five garment factories employing nearly 4,000 workers, came down. This picture shot by Bangladesh photographer Taslima Akhter perhaps captures an entire nation’s grief in a single image.