Saturday, April 20, 2013
Monday, March 18, 2013
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
|My play is being stage read at the Arcola Theatre in London for the Kali TalkBack Theatre Festival|
at 3pm on December 8th, 2012. Please come, one and all!
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Of course, it had to be my destiny that made him pick me from the litter when I was only three weeks old, my fate to end up with his incessant, 24 hour TV watching in New York City, instead of roaming around in the sanctuary like my brothers were doing back in Minnesota. As I think about my family, I feel a twitch in my paw. A roar comes out of me from nowhere. I couldn't control it even if I wanted to. I feel like slashing you up right there, as you peer through the metal bars. That's right, you! Grrhhhrh!! I feel like mauling you into little pieces, and stuffing all your little fingers inside my big mouth. I am going to tear you to shreds!! Arghgh!! Ouf, I am exhausted. Must lie down for a while. All this throwing myself at the bars is wearing me down.
I can't believe there's all this light all around me. And movement, men, machines. I thought Alfred was the only devil I would have to deal with in this lifetime. It seems there are millions of him out there. I am trying to understand what this big blue ceiling above me is all about. First it was blue, then bluer, than orange, then black. I am a little scared, to tell you the truth. I have never seen such a thing in my life. Or perhaps I saw it as a cub. I have vague memories of my childhood - fur, claws, milk, my mother's eyes burning brightly at night. Don't make me talk about my childhood, it makes me upset, deeply upset. It makes me wonder where all my pack has gone. I can't believe I made it out of that apartment. If you want to hear my story, stay on. You'll make the early morning edition, don’t worry. Just don't run identical photographs in all the tabloids, that's all I ask. Give me the chance to be multidimensional in my 15 seconds of fame.
Let me clarify - I am multicultural, but my heritage isn’t in China, but in Bengal. Either way, it doesn't matter, because I have never set a paw in Asia. Most of my life, except for the three weeks I was with my mother, has been spent right here in Harlem, in Adam Clayton Avenue, building number 345, Apartment 7D. I am as American as you can get, so don't try to pull that out-of-control illegal alien crap on me. Alfred would bring home The Village Voice to wipe his fingers off ketchup. Once in a while, his girlfriend would read him Nat Hentoff in a long drawn out voice, so I know what's going on with the Patriot Act. I know I have rights, and none of you can take them away from me, even if I did try to bite Alfred's legs off. I haven't broken any laws. If Alfred broke any laws, that's his problem. I mauled him, that's right, but it was only in self defense. Wouldn't you try to bite somebody's legs off if they chained you up in an apartment and tried to raise you with a five and a half foot crocodile?
Oh yeah, that's right, you heard about the crocodile. I call that infliction of mental distress and injury. If Alfred were my mom, I could sue him for neglect and bodily harm for cooping me up with that damned croc. He drove me crazy, snapping all around me, day in and day out. He would make that annoying snap-snap-snap just when I was getting into Sex and the City. Sarah Jessica! Oh sweet Sarah Jessica. What I would give to put a paw on her lovely blonde hair and give her a big lick on her face. Ah, the joys of living in New York City. I consoled myself by thinking at least my poor siblings in Minnesota don't have that luxury. Imagine, I could be walking down a sidewalk and I could see Sarah Jessica strolling down there with her new man. I know I would get insanely jealous. I am going through what experts call my adolescent phase. I am getting really horny, and really cranky. Yeah, yeah, I know all about adolescence and horniness - I probably listen to more radio that y'all combined. Of course, they talk about people, never about tigers, which makes me feel marginalized. Every time I hear one of those telephone call-in shows, I feel like picking up the phone and telling WBAI to initiate a program about the issues of inner-city tigers. That's when I knock the phone off the wall, and Alfred chides me because he thinks I am being naughty. Little does he know that I am just acting out my technologically sophisticated twentieth century tiger destiny. So the croc was driving me crazy. Snap-snap-snap, it would go on all my favorite TV sitcoms. Just to annoy me, of course. If I had my way, I would have eaten that crocodile a long time ago. But man, have you tried eating a crocodile? The hide is tough, that's all I got to say about it.
I was about three weeks when Alfred, bless that retard's heart, pulled me out of the pile. Alfred put me in a basket and drove me all the way back to the City. I mewed for about a week, but then settled down in the apartment. In the beginning, the crib was just right - dark and cosy, cavernous. He had even put a little blue plastic kitty litter box together for me. We got along real well, like brothers. I slept on his bed, and he would cuddle me and call me, "Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!" The croc wasn't too bad either - well, he was also about two feet big then, and fun to poke.
Then Alfred started to get on my nerves. He would play that damned sax all evening. He can't even breathe to save his life, let alone play a decent note on a sax. Then there was the delicate question of hygiene. When I was small, Alfred bought me kitty litter. But then as I started to grow older, and I needed a sack of kitty litter a day, he became sloppy. So I was - I am ashamed to admit, but this is true - peeing and shitting all over the place. This embarrassed me, because I am, in my heart of hearts, a finicky cat. I hate sitting around on a big old pile of shit. I need lots and lots and lots of litter, not just one little teaspoon-full. Sometimes Alfred would clean it up, and sometimes he wouldn't. One day I peed in the kitchen and I heard the urine going straight through onto the people sitting down at dinner downstairs. What a laugh! I also started to test our my roar, and this made Alfred nervous. He would shush me up, saying: hush kitty! But the more he said that, the more I felt like roaring. All these people started to tell their kids to behave or the tiger would eat them, and all these kids, of course, knew this threat was for real. Except when they went and repeated the story of the tiger to their teacher, the teacher would give them an insufferable laugh and tell them kindly: Adai, there aren't any tigers in the city.
As summer came to an end, I knew I had to make a decision. I was starting to feel pangs of depression. Alfred would bring a woman and fuck her in the next room, and I could hear her moaning and panting. Meanwhile, I was left to watch the cartoon channel, which never struck me as particularly interesting - at least, if you're going to coop up a cat and give him a croc for company, leave him something more than Tom and Jerry to watch. Alfred didn't understand my need for female company. I wondered if there were any cats out there, roaming through the streets. The bars on the windows were strong. I could never make headway by throwing myself at it. When the woman left, Alfred sat eating chicken and watching the news with a big satiated smile on his face. I knew I had to make a move. That dude was my brother, but man! he had to learn you can't treat a cat in this manner. As he started to bite off another piece of chicken, I raised myself from the floor and lunged at him, biting a piece out of his leg. Alfred must have heard a demented growl, but it was just me chuckling to myself. Alfred gave a terrified scream and ran out of the room. I let him. I knew that that bite was enough to bring him to his senses.
That night, Alfred did not return. I heard the neighbors talking downstairs. They said he was badly shaken, and had run away to Philadelphia. Goddamn that stupid man! Now he was going to leave me here alone, hungry and waiting to be let out. "I heard he hasn't paid his rent since January," said the old lady who lived downstairs. She didn't like Alfred, mainly because my pee was bursting through their ceilings into their living room every evening. She said she had complained to the landlord, and that hopefully he would get evicted. I hoped the tenant that Alfred had brought along - a sweet woman from Italy who had been desperate for cheap housing - would come along and throw me some chicken thighs. As I got hungrier, I abandoned the idea of eating chicken and wondered if she would come into the kitchen, so I could eat her instead.
That night passed in anger and misery. I could not believe Alfred had abandoned me. We had been like brothers. We had slept in the same bed. And now, just because I gave him a little bite on the leg, he had to run away, leaving me to die of starvation. This was betrayal of the highest order, I thought. Nobody responded to my roar of misery.
The next morning, as I was dozing, I heard a man climbing up the side of the building. My ears pricked up, my eyes sprang open, and I was instantly alert. I got up and padded to the window, where I saw a strange man with a big pouch around his waist, gaping at me. Bring it on!, I roared, instinctually flung my body forwards, trying to get him. The glass shattered, and I sprang back. The man was carrying a contraption in his hand. It was pointed towards me. I felt a pin-prick entering my shoulder. Bastard! I flung myself at him again. The man, his face shaken, pushed himself back and fired again. This time, the pin-prick entered my back. For some reason, my legs started to feel shaky. Then I felt myself tilting over, as if I was going to sleep. I looked at my paws in surprise. What were they doing in front of my eyes? And then, as my head lowered on the floor, I wondered if this was it, and I would never wake up again.
When I woke up, I found myself surrounded by bright lights and too many people. They were all yelling and screaming and popping lightbulbs in my face. I was a celebrity, just like the ones I had been watching on TV. I was the only tiger to have been weaned in an apartment in Harlem. I even had my own private shrink, which vindicated my status as a Manhattanite. The man was an animal behaviorist. He said I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. I felt better when I heard this. Hopefully, they would blame the bite on the leg as a consequence of mental illness rather than pre-meditated spite. I was put in a cage and sent to Ohio. They fed me thirty-six chicken thighs, which I devoured instantly, gorging myself just in case there was another shortage of food in the upcoming days. They all said that I was the most anxious tiger reared in captivity they had ever seen. What did they expect, that I would be serene as a Buddha after that nerve-wracking experience? The city ain't the best place to learn laid-backness, not with all the Starbucks coffee Alfred poured into my chow every morning. He had a friend who worked in the Starbucks down the street, and she poured out all the coffee at the bottom – the real dark, real thick one – into a plastic bottle for him to carry home.
Alfred gave the tabloids an interview saying that the pain in his leg was nothing compared to the pain in his soul. "We were like brothers," he said, making me sound like the only mauler in the relationship. Isn't that just like him, thinking only about his own pain. Wait till he reads my side of the story. Make sure you don't censor a single roar.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I admitted I was clueless.
“They have started to tinker with watches. Now people have to wear watches which show their gender-whether they are male or female, and their height as well!”
I was bemused. “Does it matter?” I asked.
“YES, IT DOES MATTER!” She said, in that inimitable Amparo way. “OF COURSE IT MATTERS. It is screwing with universal standards!”
Those who know Amparo know she yelled a lot, often in frustration, often at those who failed to understand the urgency of the situation. How urgent it was to have the same universal standards of rights, everywhere, everytime!
What was my dream about? If Amparo was yelling at me from across the divide of Death, this was definitely something quite important. The clocks/watches, I think, came out of my mind because I had been watching HUGO, by Martin Scorsese. If you haven’t seen that film, let me say its all about clocks. A lot about clocks.
And Amparo of course was a lot about universal standards. Universal standards of human rights. She was working to mainstream the human rights framework into the UN just before she died, at a rather young age.
Perhaps, I thought, Amparo was critiquing my recent glorification of social media. I’d been too optimistic in my analysis that social media was the REAL MEDIA, as I had posted on Twitter. Because if it follows you and tags you “female,” “Five foot two” and “lives in Kathmandu,” it surely is not following the universal standards of journalism. Boring old traditional media, despite it flaws, always gave everyone the same news within the same 8 pages, in a regular old boring daily newspaper. Just like human rights. Everyone got the same thing-no more, no less.
I’m not going to get all Benedict Anderson on you now. Just wanted to share the incredible, passionate, wonderful voice of Amparo Tomas, straight across the Valley of Death.
As to what Amparo Tomas, a human rights activist from Valencia, Spain, was doing in Nepal, in 2004, at the height of Nepal's civil conflict, you will have for me to finish writing my book.
El legado de Amparo sigue vivo en Nepal http://elpais.com/diario/2009/05/27/cvalenciana/1243451887_850215.html
A Human Rights Approach to Development: Primer for Development Workers (Amparo Tomas, 2005). Language(s): English http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=104&language_id=1&erc_doc_id=4817&category_id=984&category_type=2&group=
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Here's a letter from Khun Burin.
Last week, Books for Thailand, the Annika Linden Foundation, The Asia Foundation, and The Nation Group went to Ayudhaya, our ancient capital, and distributed books to both primary and secondary schools, totaling about 250 schools. We distributed all copies of your book, too, so definitely the students and teachers will be reading it and will be able to related it to their experiences during our recent floods.
Again, thanks. Best, Burin
To donate books in Thailand and across Asia, contact the Asia Foundation which has programs to distribute books in many countries.
Monday, January 16, 2012
I'd like to share a little anecdote: during the civil conflict in Nepal, where educated people were fleeing in mass numbers from Nepal for better pastures abroad, I met a young man. He had studied in the States, and he had returned home. When I asked him why he wasn't leaving, he answered: "My life is here, with these 26 million people. Whatever happens, I'm not leaving them. We'll have to go through this together." I'd like to clarify that what comes across as "resigned acceptance" in the last story (I could see how it could be read in this manner) is also another way to write about this innate homing instinct of Nepali people to return home, from whereever they are.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Yangchen took this photo and told me I look like a writer in this one. I think I'm pretending to be happy when deep inside I am saddened by human behavior and the way we are destroying the planet and each other through our acts. So here it is... the author photograph.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
l mio volo per Yangon del 18 giugno è stato cancellato. La Thai airways annuncia che hanno chiuso l’aeroporto di Yangon per le pesanti piogge. Nell’irrequieta oscurità della sala d’aspetto iniziano a spargersi le voci. L’esercito birmano ha occupato l’aeroporto, sussurra la gente. Manca un giorno al compleanno di Aung San Suu Kyi. È capitato qualche avvenimento mentre sono stati fuori? I giovani padri siedono fissando il vuoto, chiedendosi se potranno mai tornare a casa...
Monday, January 09, 2012
Check it out, cool background, reminds me of lovely Bali. And damn, I really like that little knitted thing I'm wearing. Bought it for $6 in Ubud and it was really quite a nifty sartorial invention!
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Saturday, December 31, 2011
A very wonderful new year 2012 to you all!
Thank you so much for your wonderful support and enthusiasm during my publishing struggles and adventures.
I wanted to let all of you know that "The End of the World" is about to be published in Kindle (in around 24 hours, as we speak) and that you can soon download it on your Kindles.
I will also soon have my novel "Loving the Enemy" available as an e-book online shortly. Thank you all again for your thoughtful support and love of literature.
I hope this new year brings you new joy and new directions for spiritual and planetary growth. Love to all, Sushma
Monday, December 19, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
(Here's the Asia Fellows from 2010-2011. I am on the far left. If I look fat, its because I was eating too much Thai food!)
My aim is to write a book like Tiziano Terzani's "The Fortune-teller Told Me". All my friends who like to mock my fascination with astrology, fortune-telling and prophesizing the future--please read this book! It is possible to be a journalist for a publication as serious as Der Speigel, do excellent reportage and still weave these fascinating tidbids into your book, as Terzani did.
If you have a literature related group in Oxford or London and want me to come and read from my book(s), contact me at: email@example.com. I haven't been in the UK since 1995--I'm looking forward to this visit...
Monday, October 31, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Dear Friends! "The End of the World" is now published through Sansar Media.
Here is a great review of "The End of the World" by Guru Magazine, the Friday supplement of the Bangkok Post. The book is now available in Asia Books, Bangkok. Don't forget to pick up a copy if you are in the Swarnabhoomi airport.
(Note this book--or any other edition of my book--is now no longer legally available in Kathmandu. Due to unaccountable and illegal practices of publishers and bookstores in Kathmandu, I only sell my books outside Nepal. If you would like to get a copy and support the writer, please wait to purchase the legal edition.)
Saturday, August 20, 2011
"The Lotus Singers" collection includes my short story "Law and Order."
Monday, August 01, 2011
Our expectations descend through chasms of arcane wonder, where the Internet shapes marvelous new communities, even as the Academy breaks the chains of worn convention and formal discipline, sending forth a new class of scholars to explore the frontiers of unique realms. Amidst this progress, strangely enough and yet quite appropriately, consciousness rebels. In these pages are stories, poems, and essays that are exuberant, eloquent, and original—where expression and intelligence commingle in a flash of awakening. Whether this new consciousness is human or perhaps something greater remains to be seen, but by looking into our emanations we might find an answer. The first anthology to be released by International Authors, Emanations showcases the work of sixteen writers from around the world. With illustrations by Kai Robb, Dario Rivarossa and Vitasta Raina. Find it in Amazon.
Friday, July 15, 2011
"After the Floods" is now printed in "Stories for Sendai", an anthology whose profits will go to benefit people who were affected by the earthquake in Japan this year. You can buy the book via Amazon through this link here. An author interview is printed here.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
There's nothing quite like going to Google one fine morning and finding your story translated into an unknown language. First it happened in Vietnamese. Now an Indonesian friend has confirmed for me that the language below is indeed Bahasa Indonesia. I'm not sure how a story about the end of the world fits into a blog devoted to writings on love, but I am moved nevertheless by the translator's intuition that somehow this story has to do with love. Also honored to find myself in the company of Khalil Gibran and Pablo Neruda. Thank you Zeventina!
Akhir Dunia (The End Of The World) Suatu hari, semua orang berbicara tentang hal itu. Ia bahkan telah dicetak di koran. Seorang sadhu besar dan belajar telah dinubuatkan sebuah kebakaran, bencana alam sehingga proporsi lebih dari setengah populasi dunia akan dibunuh.
To read it in Bahasa, click here.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
|FROM ISSUE # 176 (August 2010) | |
PHOTO SEBASTIAN MEYER/GRAPHICS WAVE
I write because the story begs to be told. I don't think about myself or the readers. How do you choose the names for your characters?
Sometimes I take them from myths, sometimes newspapers. What is the most hurtful thing people have said to you?
I can't remember now, so they can't have been that hurtful.
What is the strangest thing you have done while researching a book?
I took an acting class in graduate school. Strangely enough, it helped me get into the minds of the characters, much faster than taking a class on how to write fiction.
Which five people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Ang Lee, Oprah, William Dalrymple, Virginia Woolf and Tin Tin.
If you were deserted on an island, which book would you like to have with you?
Rumi's Rubaiyat. Am I allowed to take a few comics on the side?
Which fictional character do you resemble?I played Catherine in "Proof" and people said I was the spitting image of her—more so than Gwyneth Paltrow. I guess I look like a genius mathematician and she looks like Shakespeare's lover.
What distracts you from writing?Kathmandu. It's a big whirl. I need to go to some quiet, deserted island.
Who is your hero/heroine outside of fiction?Paul the octopus. I am deeply fascinated by beings that have the ability to foretell the future.
Are you happy with where you are in life?
Ask me in 2.2 years, and then I'll tell you.