Thursday, December 31, 2009



* At the top of my list: Stop playing MAHJONGG SOLITAIRE. I probably spend an hour of every day with this wretched thing. It's true that it "clears the decks" effectively -- but it's too time-heavy. I'll just have to find another way to clear my mental decks.

* In terms of work, I've got two picture books and one novel on my desk. I wish I was the sort of writer who could post daily progress reports. But that would freak me out so much I'm not going to even begin thinking about it. My typical work day begins at 9.30, when I wake up and 3.30 a.m. when I crawl into bed (it's 2 a.m. right now). In between, there's an endless struggle between dabbing at the key-board -- a few paragraphs -- and everything else: meals, cups of tea or hot-water-and-apple-juice (this is my current tipple of choice), chats on the phone with my sister/my mother/friends, solitaire, naps, TV. It's disgusting. I listen to other people say they work for 18 hours at a stretch and already I feel tired. I've also got paintings on the agenda and maybe a show. Or two.

* Fewer trips, longer stays. This resolution is going to be very difficult to keep. Especially as I'm starting the year with a shorty-short expedition -- just one week long. But I need to stop that.

* Stash my bills in an orderly way; currently there's one big padded envelope into which every bill gets stuffed and since I can never face opening the envelope the pile just grows bigger and more unmanageable until one weekend I spend the entire 48 hours struggling to make sense of the whole thing. If I would only stash them neatly to BEGIN with, there would never be that wasted 48 hours -- which I could otherwise spend napping or drinking hot water. *sigh*

* Post Ms Malcontent regularly. Like maybe every Sunday? That would be SO cool. I see that as a direct result of not playing solitaire any more. Maybe I'll get HER to play! Ha. That'll be fun.

* Keep a diary once more. For most of 2009, I failed to do this little thing that I've pretty much done most years, particularly since the late nineties. Everything depends on having the Right Diary in which to keep the record. It's especially important to get the Right Diary BEFORE the year begins. Which is currently the case: I have TWO diaries, actually, both very attractive. One is the WelcomGroup diary with contemporary art and the other is a spiral bound diary containing the wonderful drawings of the American artist CHARLEY HARPER. His Golden Book of Biology was something that grabbed my attention when I was 8 years old and never let go: I think my interest in both biology AND illustration was hugely augmented by his work! He died a couple of years ago, but his work has suddenly become highly accessible. My sister Su keeps me well supplied. Recently she gave me the Charley Harper MEMORY GAME set (you know, the game in which pairs of cards are placed face down and you take turns to expose them in pairs? Also called CONCENTRATION or PELMANISM) and I played endless rounds of the game with my niecelet in Madras. Outstanding.

This isn't a resolution but a link to TULIKA's blog, where I wrote a short piece for them, about putting together the I AM DIFFERENT book.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009



Go look at them, but keep your hands folded firmly over your heart or else it is liable to be wrenched right out.

I have two questions for visitors here: (a) tell me if you agree with me when I say that the handful of images which have been hidden and are accompanied by a too-disturbing warning (followed by "click here to view") are no less disturbing than the vast majority of the rest. Collectively, they present our species with excellent reasons to SEEK OUT extinction (b) What is your estimate of the percentage of people who DO click to view the hidden ones? Mine is 100% -- i.e. I think 100% percent of those who make the effort to see the pix, see 'em all.

Oh! And a final question: which of these searing images strikes you as being beyond-all-belief shocking? My choice, made with no deliberation (I mean, I haven't gone back and looked through the whole lot multiple times) is number 28.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I AM DIFFERENT! Review in Saffron Tree

This review of I AM DIFFERENT! appeared at the SAFFRON TREE site. I am very pleased that someone's noticed the book. TULIKA editors reported seeing potential buyers put the book down after one glance because "Oh! It's not in English!" It certainly seemed as if our decision to use 16 different Indian scripts -- with pronounciation guide -- had been a mistake, even though it's very clear that the scripts are additional value, not the only text.

Anyway, according to the comments at Saffron Tree there are at least a few readers who not only got the point and but also enjoyed muddling along with the unfamiliar words and shapes of other languages, while working through the (very simple) puzzles.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Remembering Bhopal

Please visit REMEMBER BHOPAL to leave your thoughts, your comments, your reminiscences of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The 25th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster starts on the night of the 3rd and continues for 72 hours.