Bowing The Head…

My article published in a ten part series : Translating India


“Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.”
― Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems

And Miles To Go…

‘So what if they didn’t win the Booker?’ Article in Livemint on some of the best books out there.

Yayyyyy! K. R Meera’s ‘The Poison of Love’ is featured in that list.

DSC South Asian Literature longlist, Bangalore Lit Fest- Atta Galatta short list…

Yours Truly celebrates as the translator.

God works in miraculous ways!



Namah Tulsi Kalyani…

The AttaGalatta -Bangalore Lit Fest, Book Prize 2017 has announced the short list.


Anees Salim for This Small Town Sea
Penguin Random House

Arundhati Roy for The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Penguin Random House

S.L Bhyrappa for Saakshi

K.R Meera for The Poison of Love
Penguin Random House



Tulsi epitomises the blindness of passion. The sort that we typically associate with the gopikas of Vrindavan. Such obsessive love sees only the idol of worship: breathing him in, dreaming of him always, worshipping him with body, mind and soul.

The loved one is soon bored of such a love. He gets it from every single woman he courts. He loves a hunt and a chase. He values the woman who holds herself back, and taunts him with her haughtiness. Ah, that means she is covetable. If others too covet her affection, that makes her all the more invaluable a prize!

Tulsi is bereft of the tricks of love. She has been invited into love by a Player-God!

What happens when such a love is thwarted and treated with disdain and complacency? What happens when you desecrate what is sacred? And tell her that the  actual pursuit is of another woman, who is ‘ extra ordinary’, and ‘ not like her.’

Is it a tale which rings true only in the precincts of myth? Or do we see such on a regular scale?

The story of the worshipped  – both male and female-who use their powers of attraction for ticking off a virtual ‘ I got her/him  crawling on the knees list’, and then ticking another ‘ Now I am bored with her/him for overwhelming me list’ is playing around us all the time.

You occasionally draw blood with such games. It happens when what was once love, curdles into something frighteningly deadly.

The basil , Tulsi being its cognate, happens to be one herb which would never rot or stink when it dries up. Instead, it remains fragrant, and slowly fritters away, bit by bit.

There is something divine about Tulsi. And her love.


The Master Wit


The DSC awards for South Asian Literature has announced its long list. My friend K.R.Meera’s book- The Poison of Love- is in the long list of 13 books selected by an eminent jury. I am thrilled that her  amazing talent as a writer has yet again been recognised.( I have lost count of the number of awards she has already won:) I am also happy that my role as a translator has been recognised.

My job takes me to very traumatising places at times. Like a place of suicide. A severed head  and torso- lifeless-of what once was a very brilliant young man. When you stand looking at the gory remains of a human body, you realise yet again the futility of ego. The way death beckons with a loving smile. Love can be poisonous. It can tempt people into twisted ways of paying back. I have experienced it in my own life. Is it love at all?  Isn’t that sort of love rather evil?

Perhaps as Gibran’s Prophet explained: ‘.. For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst.Verily when good  is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves and when it thirsts, it drinks even of dead waters…’

I see the ripples of love turned poisonous in both the lifeless body now firmly etched in my memory and in Meera’s iconic novella. Tulsi epitomises the peculiar way women can sometimes love. Men too, for that matter. The theme is universal and yet so enlivened by traditional montages and nuances. The human mind is the greatest mystery ever created by The Lord.

I think the Lord has a taste for black humour at times.He has taught me once again that He is the master wit of them all.





Joyous Blue

I get my copies of ‘The Poison of Love.’ My thoughts go back to a November when I started translating Meera Sadhu.

The cover page is fascinating. They have coloured it in hues of blue and purple, to remind one of Krishna himself. My little girl gives an appreciative look. It is for the first time that she acknowledges me as someone other than her rather uninteresting mother. Ha!

Joy, I discover, can be coloured blue too. May the joy spread. Though it is a tale of pain.


Thank You, Grace!


And thus Penguin presents my dear friend and talented writer K.R.Meera’s latest book. By a great series of serendipitous events, I became a translator too:)

I will paste a quote of  the inimitable Mary Oliver for explaining how I feel!