I’m so excited I got my first Troll …

… I think that has to mean I’ve officially made it, hit the big time, right?

Seriously, if someone is taking time out of their presumably “busy” schedule to stalk me about how crap I am at everything literary related it would have to mean I’m someone of (somewhat) importance.

Either that, or the you-know-what head has got seriously nothing better to do with their life than leave unassuming, try-hard jibes peppered across my Twitter account.

I’ll take the first version because you know, I’m working on my positive affirmation.

Just so you know, they ended up blocking me which I guess makes me a Troll in return.

If I’d only known Troll training was as easy as it turned out to be, I would have received my certificate ages ago.

You know what they say – it takes one to know one 🙂

Slam bam, thank you mam!

diversity-in-books

This is why Diversity sucks

Though the concept is great – it still sucks for my kind.

It conjures up images of glitter and happiness with the glitz and glamour of a chocolate advertisement but tough luck if it makes up your very identity.

Though I don’t mean to sound cruel (even if it is) here’s a reality check for you – crickets will be getting more attention.

Diversity – such a great buzzword with the oomph of a derelict forgotten martyr even the history books couldn’t be bothered teaching us about. Everyone’s talking about it.

Diversity this, diversity that but that’s about all that’s happening.

Everyone’s saying it because it’s the cool thing to say, what the in crowd’s talking about but no one’s actually doing anything about it or even understands what the hell it’s all about.

Diversity sucks but only if it’s part of your core and more importantly, only if you revel in it, brandish in it with all the glory you can possibly muster.

I’m a writer – perhaps a self-declared one, but a writer nevertheless. Perhaps a mediocre one, but a writer regardless and I’m what many would term as a lucky struggling writer because it’s a great time for someone like me to be born apparently – a great time for a diverse writer.

But what does a diverse writer even mean?

That’s a great question because though most know what diverse writing means (as opposed to diverse authors) – very few actually bother about my type.

I’m not going to lie, it’s quite annoying existing in an age where there is so much hoo-hah about diverse characters (many of which are fictional dare I say) when no one really gives a crap about their very factual diverse creators.

This is mainly due to two reasons – one, authors are rarely as interesting as the characters they create (I can attest to this personally) and two, most diverse characters being created aren’t really being written about diverse authors in the first place.

Because let’s face it, who would know better about a brown girl coming to a foreign land and dealing with all the trials and tribulations of modern day western world attitudes and stereotypes against the backdrop of very real cultural boundaries than a white writer?

As a “diverse” author who has written a novel (or a poorly cloaked semi autobiography) about just that (hello people, welcome to my life), do I find it torturously disconcerting that many of the countless literary agents I have reached out to say that my story isn’t quite real enough?

Of course I do.

In fact, I find it so agonisingly painful I actually pondered on writing a thank you reply to the one literary agent who responded by saying that though the premise was good, it just wasn’t the right time for my “type” of tale when adult colouring books were all the rage in the literary world. I thought it would be presumptuous to send him the dictionary book definition of literature when I actually like colouring in.

Others said my book just didn’t strike a chord with them because my main character was too well, normal.

Of course a “normal” brown girl is just out of the question because who would want to read about a normal diverse character? Um – maybe diverse readers like me.

It’s unfortunate that during my teenage years I had to choose between a normal white girl to relate with or a crazy, brown one with a horrific juxtaposition of identity crisis’s that outnumbered the amount of times I change my underwear (which is regularly by the way).

Clearly there are no normal brown people on the planet because we all wear hijabs, struggle daily with radicalism and have a secret life our parents would commit suicide upon discovering exactly twenty two point five years later. And let’s not mention finally participating (while not in undercover) in romantic relationships after securing our parent’s reluctant consent upon finding out about our blatant “western influenced” unlocking of our chastity belts in our late teens. Please note, this is actually supposed to be sarcastic.

Being diverse and actually understanding what that truly meant for many of us diverse teenagers growing up in a world where no one really got us is what continues to make diversity so sucks.

“Normal” for us diverse, immigrant children meant tepidly tip-toeing the tightrope of immigrant versus adopted land issues every single day. It meant explaining why your parents had to meet your “friend” before they let you date him before he even asked you out. It meant you’d get tired of hearing your own voice every time you droned on about how “discovering” yourself after high school on that once in a lifetime gap year before you joined university was never going to happen if you wanted to live past eighteen.

You won’t find novels on how you spent the better part of every weekday morning airing your school uniform out of that undeniable, wicked curry smell that lingers like a bad memory days after you devoured it. Or why you can use your forehead to corkscrew even the mightiest Foster’s beer bottle thanks to the countless afternoons you spent rubbing the elusive bindi off after your weekly prayers. All this just so you could rush off to see the latest movie at the cinemas without having to explain the red dot on your forehead for the millionth time. You won’t even find stories on the absurdity of forgetting French kissing when your people came up with the manual on having sex.

Why would we forget the lips in the Kama Sutra people – really, why?

Why don’t you find common day stories on the very real, normal lives of brown people?
Because there’s no way that a white author has been cursed with our version of normality. Normal, non-brown people think this is comedic which is probably why Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project has done so well.

Poor Mindy had to fabricate a normal Indian girl’s life as a comedy when most of us brown chicks know that there’s nothing funny about Mindy’s life – it’s just our version of normal.

Maybe that’s what it is.

Perhaps my premise in Un-Belonging is too real for the mainstream. Maybe all I need to get a literary agent’s attention is to tag a “normal typical brown girl problem” joke at the end of each sentence so that the general public can make a parody of my protagonist instead.

Maybe that’ll get over her not wearing a hijab bit.

Photo Credit: Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

For Good to Exist, There Must be Bad …

This really hits home sometimes.

Like when I meet some people I’m really stumped about – specifically on how they exist. Forget the why bit …

Or I put the news on and I see what we do to our fellow human beings to protect the “invisible” borders people we don’t even know or remember put up …

Or when I look at a cheesecake and think about its calories. But whhhhyyyyy …

But then I think about the Nelson Mandela’s, Mahatma Gandhi’s and the Rosa Park’s of the world and I am reminded that nothing worthy comes easy so let the bad be because so many of us will keep fighting the good fight.

I’m Sorry …

… for being so absent lately.

Though it isn’t an excuse, I’ll fall back on that dismal aspect of human nature and attempt to absolve myself of any wrongdoings by providing you with an adequate 3 point resource on how it’s really not my fault.

Point 1 – I’ve been so busy that if I were a Troll protecting the make believe bridge to Narnia I just made up right now, well, Narnia would no longer be Narnia – it would be the next best holiday destination. I have been writing though, about an article a week but woe is me, much of my time is taken up in maintaining active social media accounts for work.

You need a Twitter, Facebook or Google + guru right now, don’t look at me. I’m fresh out of ideas.

Point 2 – I have seriously pissed karma off and I don’t even know what I did. The amount of minor mishaps I have had with my skeleton over the past month would be enough to fill up a small encyclopaedia. Seriously. From toe injuries to wrist massacring’s, it’s a wonder I still resemble a human body. Fine, maybe not an encyclopaedia but a good weekend read in a grubby motel off Highway 5. At least.

Point 3 – I blame Trump because well, why wouldn’t you?

I don’t think history has ever provided us with such an apt “he is the cause of everything that’s wrong in this world, my life and this entire solar system really” excuse, people. Ever.

I am not kidding. It’s every man, woman and child for themselves and I can’t even copyright this one. Take it. Run with it.

I’ve been busy because Trump exists.

With that being said, I make no promises except an absolute true declaration – I have missed all of you. Truly.

I’ll try and make it up for it and write some more, or at least be more present if my fingers remain from that biyatch injury infliction.

I hope you’re listening karma. I’m a Hindu and I ain’t going anywhere so let’s try and be friends, okay? Or at least civil.

See you soon my peeps xoxo

Creativity Transcends Borders

Honestly, the single best facet of any form of creativity for me is the way it transcends cultures, language, races – basically anything we fall back on to discriminate.

Creative pieces can bring you to your knees and exalt you to the top of the Himalayas in one instant – that is its unique power.

It always makes me celebrate how much more similar we are than disparate and for me, that is always a good thing.

So, in this spirit I thought I’d share an example of this with you – this is for anyone who needs to be reminded that no matter what, humanity is still winning 🙂

I hope it brings a smile to your face like it did mine.

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!

shimla-snow

A little piece of Heaven in India

I was lucky enough to visit what is commonly known as the British Capital of India during the time of British rule in my magnificent country.

It’s also often referred to as the Paris of India but to me this would suggest that Paris is the epitome of perfection and beauty which I don’t think is true (though Paris is a stunning city in its own right).

It’s just that this world is full to the brim with breath-taking places and Shimla is one of them for me.

So I like to see this abode in the Himalayan range as one of these beautiful places, where my grandmother was born and where my parents fell in love – where my sister and I became a possibility 🙂

power-of-faith

The Power of Faith

As a writer, I’m ashamed to admit that I rarely allow others a glimpse into my psyche and though I will often joke about my warped brain, the fact is I have always been a thinker.

Some consider this a boon but in all honesty I find that thinking too much is more painful than peaceful and wisdom can sometimes be, well, overrated.

Why?

Because there is a certain type of profound solace in simplicity and when it comes down to it, when I reminisce about knowledge, I picture a calming, peaceful, bright hue.

Not many people know this but some years ago I hurt my back, not exactly in a debilitating way (at least from a scientific perspective) but one that nevertheless paralysed me in living a life full of happiness and positivity through my late teens and into my early twenties.

During the time, I had begun to read a book called Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama and Autobiography of a Yogi by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.

Now, I am a Hindu but I have been very fortunate to have been reared by parents who always pressed the importance of spirituality over any religion on my sister and I and for this, I will always be grateful.

So I really do hope that you see that the faith I am talking about is not attached to any particular religion or version of “God” but rather as a testament to the supremacy of faith and belief and Creative Life Force (as Sri Yukteswar Giri defines it) that we all have within us.

I haven’t had back pain for many years now, strongly believing that I had received a miracle of my own after a kind-hearted, gentle swami of my father’s told me with complete assurance that it had been fixed. Viewing it as my own version of a miracle that mirrored an event in the Autobiography of a Yogi, my mind, heart and soul completely believed his words and soon my back pain became a thing of the past.

Late last year however, it returned. I had nagging thoughts on how I couldn’t possibly deal with the pain all over again and how maybe I hadn’t received my miracle. In one short phrase – I had been infected with doubt.

One of the worst possible human emotions and weaknesses that any of us can let creep into our lives – doubt.

My parents have my whole life really, been my very own personal “God” in many ways and even their words of reassurance had little effect on the virus of doubt that was infiltrating my pores.

About two weeks ago I got a CT scan and the results were, to me at least, devastating. The problem had gotten worst according to my radiologist, and my doctor (who can’t read x-rays) made it appear to be even worse than my radiologist’s report.

After days of depression and heart-wrenching panic, I was in pain, plagued with mental and physical agony so I did some soul searching and sifted through my Autobiography of a Yogi copy and just opened random pages to “see the light”.

By utter chance, I landed on an excerpt where a disciple of Sri Yukteswar was beside himself because all the doctors he had seen had declared that he had a maximum of three months to live. The disciple had ran to his guru to beg for help and Sri Yukteswar has laughingly chided him for believing doctors who knew nothing about the Creative Force of all Beings and had proclaimed that he would be healed regardless of what any medical practitioners or experts stated.

The disciple had asked if he should continue with the medication to which his guru had replied – it’s up to you, take them or throw them, they will have no consequence on your health. The disciple got worse and worse by every passing hour but his faith remained steadfast, after all, his Guru had said he would be fine. Just when it looked like he had no hope, the next morning the disciple was completely healed – as if a miracle had just occurred before everyone’s eyes!

Though I am not comparing my situation with the dire one of this disciple, I decided last week, after reading this passage, that I too would have complete faith on my own miracle.

I didn’t care how it would happen, but all I knew is that it would happen – regardless of what anyone said or anything I saw.

Today, I went to my physiotherapist and though I had some trepidation, my faith remained steadfast. My Creative Life Force is unbreakable, undefeatable – omnipresent.

My CT scan had been misread and misdiagnosed by the radiologist; in fact, my back has one of the most beautiful curves (my physio’s words, not mine!).

I have my miracle and it’s one of the most beautiful feelings ever.

I have learnt two lessons from this:

1 – Positive thinking is absolutely the BEST medicine out there and it’s completely free and you don’t need a prescription.

2 – If you believe, I mean, truly believe no matter what, you WILL have your miracle, I promise it!

I know this is a long piece but for those of you who are down and in despair please know you are your very own version of “God” or a superpower. It’s all you, you just have to realise, experience and celebrate it.

Once you embrace the power we all are, you will quickly come to realise that YOU are omnipresent in every way!