for literary contribution. In some very daunting company indeed. In the shortlist are authors whose work I’ve read, loved and respected. Delighted and honoured to be shortlisted for the Femina Women Achievers 2017 with some rather intimidating writers like Twinkle Khanna, Anuja Chauhan, Ratika Kapur, Anuradha Roy and Roopa Pai.
Kiran Manral: Her first novel, The Reluctant Detective (2011), was about a bored housewife who becomes a detective. It was followed by two romance novels, Once Upon A Crush (2014) and All Aboard (2015). Her latest work, The Face At The Window, is a dark mystery set in the hills.
Here’s the link
“Forty-seven-year-old Goregaon resident and stock market professional Kirit Manral laments that his own upbringing was not similarly gender neutral.
“I grew up with three sisters, back in the 80s, and our roles were very clearly defined. Today, my 13-year-old son Krish, an only child, however does not associate any roles or careers with any genders — we make it a point to raise him in an environment where there are no barriers, no limitations,” he says.
Krish’s mother Kiran is an author and one of her books answers questions for boys aged 10 to 12, and on the cusp of puberty. The 45-year-old tells us, “I was raised to be a feminist by my own father. Krish sees how ferociously I fight my battles and I don’t think he has any doubt about the fact that women are no weak, meek creatures. He’s also a competitive swimmer who made it to Maharashtra state level and he has trained with both boys and girls — he knows exactly how tough girls can be. Of course we do not lay down male and female roles at home — Krish can even cook certain dishes way better than I can,” says Kiran with an air of pride.”
Read the rest of the article here
“Being the offspring of an inter-religious marriage, to me religion –the following of, the belief in or the lack of was never something that even crossed my mind while I grew up. I realise now how lucky I was in that my parents, all those decades ago, had the kind of idealistic marriage where my mother continued to follow her religion, my father his and I was not inducted into either. Choose what you want when you get older, they said, when I was a child and immensely envious of the special treatment the Catholic students received in the convent school I attended. I was determined then to be a Catholic, the religion my mother followed. My father, a lapsed Muslim, did not impose Islam on me. His method of educating me about religion was to bring me books about every religion and their founders, and the Amar Chitra Katha versions of the lives of the founders of each. By the end of it all, for better or for worse, I was no closer to deciding what religion I wanted to follow and ended up on the fringes of them all. The fringe is a lovely place to be though, it allows you to peek in, to observe, assimilate and step out when you choose.
In this era of love jihads and anti-romeo squads, I wonder if they would have ever gotten married if they’d fallen in love today. And then I then went ahead and fell in love with a very religiously inclined man, from a religion different from both my mother and father’s religions. I married him. It wasn’t something I’d bargained on when I did fall in love. You know hormones, those insufferable chemicals, they don’t really go by logic and ticking boxes, they just swarm on your brain like a plague of locusts and eat up all reasoning.”
Read the rest here
I wrote this for the June July issue of Conde Nast Traveller India.
How a road trip saved my marriage
“The night would be velvet dark when we left, the morning
star yet to peep out from beyond the distant Eastern hills. We’d wake with the alarm dinning consciousness into our sleep-addled brains, have a quick shower, grab our duffel bags packed with a week’s worth of clothes and tiptoe out, trying not to disturb the household.
Down in the parking lot, our trusted green Zen awaited us, the second
car we owned, a tin can of hope and anticipation. It would be home and transport for the next couple of weeks or so while we drove out to wherever the road took us. Those were days when our hearts were young and stout, unstriated by the cares of what the years would soon throw at us. The most careworn we ever were back then was while nursing a well-earned hangover. We were in our twenties, the spouse and I. Middle age was a lifetime, a cut uterus and a slowing metabolism away.”
Read the rest here
Perhaps the most critical eye gazing at us, is our own.
When you cross forty, the first thing that hits you is the fact that you’re morphing into Invisible Woman. People push past you in public. Salespersons don’t give you the time of day. In conversations you are spoken over. Ironic because when you look at yourself in the mirror, all you can see is more of you. Generously more. On the waist, where the fat lovingly settles down like some well-set jelly, all wobbly to the touch. On the hips where the skin morphs into orange peel grimness. On the face where the jowls continue to make their disapproval felt long after you’ve stopped shaking your head to a no, swinging to a beat all on their own.
When I crossed 45, I wondered why my voice was raising itself higher to be heard, why I found myself applying the make up with a heavier hand than I usually did. The hearing was going, I told myself. The eyesight was also going, ah well, let’s be honest, most of me was going. And the breasts, well, they were so far gone, they needed a visa and passport for their travels.
I wasn’t alone. All around me women in their forties are working hard at reclaiming their bodies and their body image. It is a relentless process and perhaps the most critical eye gazing at us, is our own.
Read the rest of the article here.
If one is known by the company one keeps, am in great company here. I wrote for this month’s edition on Love and Travel for Conde Nast Traveller India on How a Road Trip saved my marriage. Read. Thanks Divia for inviting me to write, and Shunali for being such a darling always.
Read what I had to say here:
Can you be a feminist and let your child read ‘sexist’ fairytales? huffp.st/nR6wlpj
Spent Friday evening being part of the jury at the INIFD Bandra student fashion show.
Quite a lovely show choreographed and produced by the sparkling Nisha Harale of Niche Entertainment, thanks Nisha for inviting me. It was a great experience, the energy, the enthusiasm of the students, not to mention the lovely designs.
Also, quite indicative of how awkward I am re anything about fashion, with the other ladies on stage in slinky gowns and cocktail dresses and me sticking stubbornly to my all purpose go to look for every occasion, namely jeans and a shirt.
The offspring has taken to cooking in a big way. I cannot explain it. I have been no role model to him of any efficiency in the kitchen, the max I have extended my ability to produce Maa Ke Haath ka khaana has been dal chawal in a pinch when the cook is on leave and even then, at times, this has been occasion to indulge in the hedonism of ordering in. In fact, I have been known to say the offspring will grow up nostalgic for Maa ke haath ka two minute noodles, so abysmal are my cooking skills.
The husband is quite lost in the kitchen too. He might meander in for a bottle of water, or a drink of whatever carbonated beverage or juice he can locate in the refrigerator but beyond that he is quite at odds in that space, have grown up believing it to be a woman’s preserve and then still reconciling himself to the sad fact that he married a woman who absolutely refused to make it hers.
The offspring though, took to the kitchen completely on his own, with zero encouragement from me, given I barely enter its hallowed premises myself. When he was a toddler, he would sit on the kitchen platform and offer to whip his own scrambled egg. More whipped egg landed on assorted surfaces in the kitchen than actually making it into the frying pan, but he persevered. As he grew, he forayed occasionally into the kitchen, but not too often. But last year, a switch was flicked on and he found himself in the kitchen, more often that I would have thought a teen boy would have wanted to. It began innocuously enough, by making a general nuisance of himself and coming dangerously underfoot whenever the cook was trying to whip up a meal in the limited time that she had. It then morphed to mega levels of pulling out recipes from the internet, trundling off to the stores and returning home with armloads of groceries he needed and then force feeding us his experiments.
We weren’t complaining. He was rather good, actually. He has churned out, so far, Caramelised Apple Crepes, Chicken Biryani, Chicken Do Piaza, a Miso Soup with Tofu and Greens, Curd Rice, Chocolate Shahi Tukda and a lot more that I forget in the listing. Our praise has been lavish and extravagant to the point of being toe curlingly embarrassing if one were at the receiving end of it. He glows. A dear friend told me the other day that men who cook are “confident and sorted.” That line made me glow.
Read the rest of the column here