A Feminist Guide to Illness

As many of you may know, I have a couple of illnesses that have been part of how I move through the world for decades, and I finally got around to writing coherently about them for the Hindu Business Line. This is a long read, but in some very real ways, I have been writing this essay for years, and this is the best I could do by way of succinct! It's one of the scariest pieces of writing I have put out there so far, but it is also incredibly gratifying to finally have been able to articulate how these different threads of my mind, heart, and my body come together.

Do have a read here

Exercising the Empathic Muscle -- Artfully

"We will only “get” others emotionally to the degree that we become comfortable with emotion itself, something that our classrooms in general do not prepare us for. As art teachers, we must create spaces safe enough for students to express all of themselves, including their most vulnerable stories and feelings... In that mix of information and experience, feeling and body, context and care, a new possibility of empathy is born."

I wrote an article for Teacher Plus a while ago about Tasawwur and about how the arts can foster empathy... then I forgot all about it! When it showed up in my mailbox today, I remembered I should share it with you all

Here you go!

"The Fingers Remember" in the Sunday Guardian

"I read these poems at home, at work, on the metro, even on various DTC buses in the relentless May heat (the subject of a very short poem in this collection, incidentally). Not once did the poet allow my concentration to wander. It feels a little weird to call this a debut book. One reason is that it includes poems that I read for the first time years ago. But the other, more important reason is this: rarely do you come across a debut that is so assured in its style that you think you're reading someone with 20-odd books under their belt." So. A Facebook message I hadn't noticed in my "others" folder just brought this lovely review of the Fingers Remember to my notice. From the Sunday Guardian. From May 2015. Umm. Clearly, I need to get more on top of following my little book's journey into the big wide world!

Here it is now, though.

PS: Just to put it out there, I am the kind of poet who would _love_ to have a random person in a bookstore come up to talk about my work. Really. If you've done it, you know this. If you haven't, you should know it.

City of Flowers

I've been moved over the past week to see my ghazal "City of Flowers," written as the only way I could speak about the recent killings in Peshawar, find its way around Facebook, shared by some friends and many strangers. I'm never more grateful for having words than when I find them resonating with others at difficult moments.

Today, a pleasant surprise to discover that it made it into a newspaper in Pakistan. Usually, I'd do some writerly cribbing about the way the formatting was completely messed up (poets spend a lot of timethinking through stanza breaks, alignment, italics, and things like that, people!), but in this case, I'm just grateful these words found their way to some of the strangers for whom they were written.

To the many whoevers who made that happen (and the ones who got the photograph to me!), thank you. Click here for the full text from the Aman ki Asha website, or read the photograph or full text of my poem (correctly formatted!) below.

city of flowers poem

City of Flowers  For Peshawar, 16 December 2014

My temples pound with laughters that died today. Fences collapse. No this side that side today.

I made a hundred thirty two paper dolls, drew neckties, burned them one by one, then finally cried today.

A bloodied pencil. A broken ruler. The impossibility of measurement. No desks under which to hide today.

A teacher who saved two hundred lives, cries when called a hero. A heart too tight for pride today.

Mine is not the grey silence of the unmoved. The matted hair has left me tongue-tied today.

And the dead, listening to the wails of those who remain: do you, at least, have someone in whom to confide today?

To leave the city’s famed flowers blooming, or to lay them all at gravesides — who should decide today?

Your cliches do not warm them, Aditi. If you say more, you will have lied today.

Book Launch: 21st November, 6-7 PM, Max Mueller Bhavan

It's here! It's happening! And I'd love to see you there! :) Yoda Press is launching my first full length collection of poetry, The Fingers Remember, next Friday, 21st November, 6:00- 7:00 PM, at the Max Mueller Bhavan in Delhi. I'd love for for you to join in the celebrations!

The book will be available online and in stores soon. More on that as it happens.

book launch invite