On Micro-aggressions

Usually, when a person keeps exploding, it is because they have kept quiet for far too long and it has resulted in a pressure-cooker-like situation. One of the reasons could be micro-aggressions caused to the person.

Here are some examples:

  1. “Okay, grandma”
  2. “I thought you would be a meat-eater.”
  3. “He could be your son.”
  4. “You are a baby”
  5. “He was babysitting you”
  6. “Mundam” – a Tamil word – That’s an outright insult and not a “micro-aggression”. The list is long. According to https://www.themicropedia.org/, we are all guilty of microaggressions at some point. Some people may not even know they are committing a micro-aggression. Some may not think what they said was hurtful or insulting. That is why it is so important to put oneself in the other person’s shoes and understand what that person might be going through. The term”empathy” refers to just that.

I would appreciate it if readers just thought about this. Please do not respond with comments or with further examples. Thank you.

Don’t put yourself in a box

When I first started this blog, it was in 2007 or so and I wanted to keep posting only copy-editing-related content. In 2014, my friend suggested I start a book blog, and rather than start a new blog, I decided to post content on this blog itself. In 2017, I decided I wanted a separate space to talk about books, so I started one on Blogspot. Then I wanted a separate domain, so I started a Wix blog. However, I found WordPress was more user-friendly. So I decided to scrap my Wix blog and came back to this WordPress blog. Meanwhile, I had started a bookstagram called ashtalksbooks, so I changed my mymewse blog to ashtalksbooks.blogspot.in. I hadn’t posted for about two months on this blog coz I had called it ‘Aishwariya’s LittLog. So I felt it had to be a place for only literary content and not my own stories. Finally, I decided I will just do whatever I want and so here I am posting away. Phew! All this points to the need for a good content strategy. Also, it is okay to change your mind and do what you want. It’s your life and your blog (for whoever needed to hear this today).

Never-was

By Aishwariya Laxmi

You were once my fevered dream
Now, you are my migraine
It must have happened over the many nights
I lay awake staring at the eerie shadows
The fan cast on the walls of my bedroom.
I’m not altogether surprised though
You and I would have never happened
Maybe that certainty is what kept us from happening
Weird are the ways of love that never was
The angst is real though
Even if you are just a broken dream in my head
You once were the promise of something
However shadowy and weak a promise
Pinky promises…
Heartbreaks. Heart Breaks.

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“I write to get the feelings out.” – the writer

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“Music is your special friend…”

Do pick up a copy! I’m thrilled to have a flash fiction piece titled ‘Of Songs and Second Chances’ in this awesome anthology! ❤

mail your art

…sang Jim Morrison in 1967. And while the music is over for the legendary frontman of the Doors, the sentence still holds true for many people. What this friend can do for you, is the theme of an anthology, edited by the US-based author Steve Carr.

From heartbeat to drumbeat, from birdsong to crooners from yesteryear, from piano keys to the strings of a sitar. In Stories & Poems in the Song of Life, 175 authors and poets worldwide explore the theme of music, from the melodious sounds of nature to the world of hard pounding rock and roll. Fiction is mixed with non-fiction as writers and poets take you on their musical journeys, imagined and real.

The song of life is our own unique tune – the essence of who we are – composed while listening to the music that surrounds us, in one form or another, from…

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A community for bloggers that you MUST join!

Hey everyone! So, it’s been a while since I last posted. It’s because I’ve been crazily busy trying to do everything at once😊 But I’m happy that way, so it’s all good.

I hope everyone’s doing well and staying safe.

Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

I’ve been writing poems for Blogchatter’s #WriteAPageADay challenge. I’m doing what I can on the given day as is everyone else. I wish all my fellow Blogchatter buddies the very best for this challenge. If you are a blogger or are planning to start a blog, you need to know about this super-supportive community! If, like me, you know a lot of people, but still feel alone at times, this community can do wonders for you. Here’s that all-important link.

Even if you don’t have a domain yet, look up this community. You will get everything you need there. I know of some amazing bloggers who do not have a domain registered yet. However, going by my own experience, the sooner you decide to get yourself a domain, the better.  

Okay. I gotta go now. But I promise to be back asap. Also, have you checked out the template change on my blog? I did it myself😊 Don’t laugh! I find it quite challenging to do these things! Till the next post, ciao!

Interview 31: Aishwariya Laxmi

Outside the Book

Years editing: 11
Job title: Consultant editor
Job description: Edits different kinds of content (from infographics to case studies) and develops company style guides
Location: Suburban Chennai, India

EXPERIENCE

How did you get your current job?
My boss from a previous office approached me with a work-from-home offer.

What copyediting training have you had, and what positions have you held?
I have a master’s degree in journalism and communication. I’ve been a freelance journalist, copywriter of greeting cards, associate creative director at a leading advertising agency, and copywriter of marketing collateral at a technology company. I’ve worked in copyediting roles with the National Institute of Information Technology, Aptech, UBS, The World Bank, India Syndicate, Flipkart, and now Gutenberg.

DOING THE JOB

Are there any complementary skills that are important in your job?
Yes, it’s important to know about content marketing, graphic design, and social media…

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A Love Poem

By Aishwariya Laxmi

The day I fell in love with you
A poem was born
On the pages of my diary
That’s safe from prying eyes
You awakened inside me
Emotions strong and sublime
I thought about you all the time
Far-away echoes of a time and place
Were replaced with new thoughts
Whispers of happiness
And an image of your face
The person I once was is now gone
And the new me is journeying through life
With the help of words that I string together
To express the feelings that you’ve stirred inside
The very same ones that keep me alive

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“I write to make sense of the world.” – the writer

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Interview with Author Rishi Vohra

  1. What’s your latest book, ‘Diary of an Angry Young Man’ about?

Hello Aishwariya. Diary of an Angry Young Man is inspired by true events and the protagonist is based on a real person. The book is set in Bombay in 1992 and Mumbai in 2012, the latter around the time of the Nirbhaya incident, which had moved the nation to anger. Among these angry people is one ordinary angry young man whose anger and actions bring him under the radar of both the police and the beggar mafia. In addition, he has unemployment and a volatile home environment to contend with. Through his journey, we see how a disturbed childhood can lead to an unfocused and unstable adulthood. And how hope and clarity can come from the most unexpected of people and places. The genre of the book is Coming-of-Age/Crime/Drama.

2. What prompted you to write ‘Diary of an Angry Young Man’?

When I was a kid, there was one particular young man in the area close to where I lived, who had become a figure of childhood folklore of sorts and we knew him only by his nickname. He had achieved a high level of recognition, given the issues he stood up for and the scraps he got embroiled in. He seemed destined to go nowhere in life.

I visited the area years later as an adult, and was surprised to learn about how life had completely turned around for him and his current vocation. His unique journey revealed him to be an unreasonable and fearless man, and I admired his resilience and goodness of heart despite the cards that life had dealt him. I felt compelled to tell the surreal story of this angry young man.

3. When did you start working on this novel? How long did it take for you to finish writing it?

I started writing this novel in 2013, right after the Nirbhaya incident had shaken the country to its core. It started off as a short story and I finished it in a month or so. Yet, it felt incomplete as there was much more to this man’s journey and a short story wasn’t doing justice to it. I rewrote it as a full-length novel and kept working on it off and on and over the years to its final draft in 2021. So, to answer your question Aishwariya, it was written over eight years but the first full-length manuscript took around six months.

4. Could you tell us about your writing journey and the books you’ve written?

I started writing my first novel when I was pursuing my MBA in Sustainability at San Francisco State University. In my free time, I sat down to pen a screenplay (since I was a recent Bollywood export) but wrote a book instead. I had no intention or even knowledge of publishing but thoroughly enjoyed the process. A friend read my draft and encouraged me to publish it. The book was Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai and was awarded a special mention at the Hollywood Book Festival and longlisted for the 2013 Crossword Book Awards, which encouraged me to write further. Two novels followed – HiFi in Bollywood and I am M-M-Mumbai. Diary of an Angry Young Man is my fourth novel.

In addition, my short story, The Mysterious Couple, was featured in Sudha Murty’s anthology – Something Happened on the Way to Heaven and another short story, Kaala Baba, in Neil D’Silva’s urban horror anthology – City of Screams. My other short stories include The Saas-Bahu Conflict which was published in the HBB Horror Microfiction Anthology and In Your Eyes in Tell me Your Story’s LGBTQ anthology Pride, Not Prejudice : Decriminalising Love.

5.Your earlier books were Mumbai-centric. How have they been received?

Even though the books were Mumbai-centric, they were well-received my readers all over. The books are set in Mumbai because that’s the place where the stories come from, since I grew up there, but the emotions and conflicts in the books are universal. I try to make Mumbai a character my books so that the setting doesn’t seem alien to readers who don’t know much about the city.

6. Do you have lessons to share from your own writing journey?

Writing is a very solitary and challenging journey that can alienate one from the things and people that matter. One has to learn to switch off and on from one’s book.

Also, it helps to keep making notes and have some clarity before commencing the writing journey rather than putting pen to paper and seeing where it goes. The stories somehow come out better.

7. You’ve written short stories and novels. What different techniques do you apply for both?

Both are enjoyable experiences and require courage before I commit myself to writing them. But for short stories, I need to have full clarity on every part of the story and character as the length is short and any new addition while writing could throw me off course. With novels, there is room to move things around, bring in new characters, twists etc. as I have enough length to do justice to them. So, with novels, I have more freedom to be spontaneous with some aspects as long as the beginning, end and certain essential elements are in place.

8. What do you think are the qualities essential for a good writer?

Passion, diligence, patience and discipline. Above all, reading helps make one a better writer.

9. Could you name some of your favorite books?

I have favorite authors rather than favorite books. My genre of choice is crime fiction and my favorite authors are mostly from Europe who write crime fiction series in their own languages which are translated into English. I can’t think of any book that I have read more than once.

10. Which books on writing would you recommend to aspiring writers?

For fiction, Consider This by Chuck Palahniuk. Of course, there are many more. For aspiring writers, the best way to develop your writing style and instincts is by reading EVERYTHING, with a focus on the genre in which you want to write in.

Four Books I Read Recently

  • The Comfort Book by Matt Haig – This book is like a warm hug. The author shares with readers a list of his favourite movies, recipes and books in addition to his musings on life. In short, he writes about all the things that bring him comfort in the hope that they could help the reader, too. Matt Haig has always been open about his mental health struggles and I’ve loved his other books like The Midnight Library and Reasons to Stay Alive. What I loved about this book is that unlike some other books that discuss mental health, this one is least likely to be triggering for the reader.
  • The Full Platter by Abha Iyengar- I loved this collection of flash fiction by Abha Iyengar. Each story is different and with 40-odd stories, the reading experience is pleasant and enjoyable.
  • The Secret Life of Debbie G by Vibha Batra and Kalyani Ganapathy – This graphic novel is a coming-of-age tale about a sixteen-year-old girl named Soundarya, who likes to be called Arya. In the book, we enter Soundarya’s world and discover that her mother is a divorcee, who is looking to remarry and has a suitor in mind. How Soundarya deals with this new development, considering she might soon have a half-brother and half-sister forms the crux of the book. Add to it teenage drama involving becoming the talk of her school due to social media and how it changes the relationships in her life and you have a rather spicy graphic novel for the modern reader. It addresses issues such as fat-shaming, sexuality, gender, outing, bullying etc and is suitable for the internet generation.
  • Arrivederci by Amrita Valan – I read this collection of fifty poems by Amrita Valan. There is no underlying theme to the book. It is a collection of her fifty best poems. Some of the poems are rather long. I liked the last poem in the book titled ‘The Last Poem’ the best. I also liked ‘Life Lessons of a Poet’.  Her poems deal with themes of love, longing, loss and death.

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