Let me share a poem first and then I’ll share my thoughts. Perhaps the poem will make more sense then. Let me know your thoughts. How are you coping?

The Virus
Life is an inevitability inside my garden
Just as death has become one on the outside.
Like the green creepers snaking the bare branches which appear
As a vestigial winter, lifeless and still.
Somewhere, someone’s daughter wears blue,
Returning home, ignoring the rainbows held in glass.
She longs to sleep, to dream away the memory of gasping breaths
And grasping hands, clinging hopelessly to one last night.
And there is a bee stuck inside the house,
Flinging itself against the window,
Tapping relentlessly, looking for a way out, where it can find none.
I let it out, then we eat lunch inside the garden.
We remark at the late tulips and the early roses,
In the bright Easter sunshine of this mid-April,
When dying has become common place,
And the miracle of coming home or waking up is for the blessed.
Somewhere, a man walks and walks
Until he falls in the dirt that matches the colour of his skin.
He has no time for rest and no money for food,
And he gets up to walk again.
And somewhere, another man runs and runs,
Away from the crisis of his futility and
Back to the boredom of our crisis.
Where he will wash his hands and hold his wife and children.
And all the while, I worry about where to buy eggs and the growing folds in my flesh,
And what to teach my children.
Oh, what lessons we have learnt!
What lessons have we learnt?
But I am grateful as well,
Because the bee is no longer stuck inside.

This is such a strange time for us all. So much has been written about it and I really have nothing new to add. My thoughts and feelings have ranged from anger, frustration, resignation, gratitude and peace. Here’s a list of some thoughts.

  1. Some days, I’ve wondered what the point was of getting out of bed and if it wasn’t for the responsibility I feel towards my children, I think I would have wallowed in my own self-indulgence until I really, really had to get up.
  1. The news makes me laugh and makes me shout in anger also. I see Trump and watch his statements to the press, and I hear our own politicians and I think that perhaps I could do their job equally as badly. Maybe, I’d do better!
  1. I see posts on social media of people really winning at home-schooling and being crafty and creative with their kids and I have to admit, I’ve posted as well, so sorry! And it makes me feel like I’m failing. I couldn’t sustain it and I should have known. I am succeeding in keeping them fed, clean and engaged, however, although all that is rarely ‘Instagrammable‘.
  1. I am procrastinating with my writing. I can never wake up early enough. Today is an exception, but maybe not…who knows. No pressure.
  1. I have to be kind to myself. I have to be kind to myself. I have to be kind to myself.

Again, how are you all doing?

A whole other thing!

So much has happened since my last proper blog post. It’s been a whirlwind of activity and now I am left exhausted but happy.

The big news is that my book MIRRORS, published by Holland House Books is finally out! The print edition came out in January and the launch was on the 25th. I was overwhelmed by the support of friends and family who came and since then I’ve been signing copies as if in a dream.

If you’d like to buy a copy you can from Amazon and from Waterstones online. I would also welcome reviewers so if that’s something you’re interested in, please get in touch.

If you’ve already read it, can I please ask….please….could you write a review, either for Amazon, if that’s where you bought it (e-book or print) or on Goodreads (you can have bought the book from anywhere but you’ll need to register on Goodreads.) Personally, I love Goodreads as I get so many great recommendations and I’m able to keep a track of all the books I’ve read. Alternatively you can leave a short review in the comments section and I can pass them on. My publisher did say that reviews were like gold dust!

Anyway-enough about that!

Things have slowed down now though and I am grateful that I have the space and time to resume writing again, I just wish I could get my brain back into gear.

Today, I visited my parents to help with an email that needed sending and I was shown an old photograph from my son’s first birthday party. It was taken only about seven years ago but with my grandmother’s old camera, the kind that needs film. The angle wasn’t quite right, and the composition was pretty awful, but there was movement in it. My daughter’s expression was priceless, and my son looked like he was going to climb right out of my arms. Like I said, it was not the perfect shot, but then, it really was. The image was a surprise. It captured the moment, the chaos and the joy wonderfully. That spontaneity is something that is very rarely captured today. I’ve always hated people taking pictures of me when I’m not ready. I always felt I didn’t look right in them, but now, I don’t mind. Now, it’s more about the moment and feelings. It’s not really about my face-although I am devastated when I can see the dark circles and the roots of grey-but it really is about who else was there, including the people who took the picture. (Thanks to Mrs Talbot for today’s featured image-one of favourites of the day!)

launch image candid

My grandmother always had her camera handy. These days, not so much. It hid in a special pocket in her handbag and she would always produce it for someone to capture an image. A few days later, when the roll was full, she would send someone to the chemist to get the film developed and sometimes we would see the results. Most of the time, though she would keep the images to herself or show them off only when she was in India to relatives we would never meet. The photograph found its way back to us completely by accident and I am grateful for it. My daughter never smiles like that in front of the camera now. And her smiles for the camera, at the time the picture were taken, were forced, strange and not necessarily reflective of the joy she may have felt either side of the moment of the shutter click. We’ve got tons of picture from that day, but I think I that one one the best.

Chapter 12-Lost Song

Hi All,

Below is a work in progress. I’m not sure I even like it. I would love your feedback on style and content. Is the dialogue a bit rubbish. 1st person present tense-does it work? It’s been a while since I shared any kind of new fiction with you all, I’m a little nervous.

Chapter 12-

We stay on the first floor now, the ground floor has tenants but we can see the courtyard where the maid washes the metal vessels squatting on her haunches at the tap.

I remember the maid who was there when I was child. She was a Nepali woman who had her baby tied to her back with a cloth and a little girl who would come with her to work.

The woman had grey eyes and when I think of her face it’s confused with the National Geographic Afghani woman. She would look stern as she worked, often intimidating, often she looked harassed. Her daughter would help wash the dishes too, although she could not have been more than three years old.

She wore little gold earrings in her ears and a dirty dress and her hair, like her mother’s looked brown and dry. Her plump round face was like butter and I remember thinking how unfair it was that she would have to work. Often, I would imagine her to be a princess playing at being a maid’s child.

Sometimes I would share my biscuits with her and my mother would buy her treats. Wordlessly, she would take them and munch them, smiling up at me. Was her name Lakshmi? Just before the Puja, my mother bought her new clothes. We never saw her wear them and her mother accepted the gifts without a word or smile.

The maid at the house now is an older woman, wiry, cheerful and efficient. There are no children in tow and no resentment. I do not know where she is from, only that she goes from house to house in the mornings and returns to ours in the afternoon. She has become company for my grandmother who now lives as a widow. Her brother is still there, Chotu Dadu and he is a widower.

He stays in his room and reads. Sometimes he will come out and chat to my father and I. He never visits the uncle who lives downstairs and I do not ask why. We eat our evening meals together, My grandmother, her brother, my father and my children. It’s a quiet time, the laughter gets caught in webs of grief. My father seems at peace however and the children are oblivious. They add to the conversation, my son asking questions about this and that.

Usually, after I put the children to bed, I climb the terrace steps and watch the clouds drift across the cold stars. Black and grey, blue velvet and suede. Sometimes, I get lost and forget where I am and it is comfort for a short time.

Tonight, I do the same. I have spoken to my husband when he called earlier and there is a knot of sadness I need to breathe away. He pleaded for us to come home. He is sorry. He needs his family back.

Of course, we will come back. The children are his after all and he can see them any time he likes. Our tickets are already booked for returning in a week’s time and he knows this. But I cannot forgive him. Not yet.

I think about the betrayal. I think about my part. He said that he was lonely, that I neglected him. I did neglect him but…I don’t want to think about it anymore. Not tonight.

The stars are not out today. The clouds are too thick but I strain my eyes anyway for something, anything in the darkness. There are the silhouettes of bats as they swoop and glide and there is the occasional bicycle on the road below.

There are footsteps behind me, and I turn. It is Rishi. We have not spoken since that evening at my uncle’s house a few days ago and the trust has shifted, I’m not sure why I feel this way.

“What are you doing here in the dark?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I reply. I do not want to talk.

He stands closer to me and takes my hand. “We’re blood brothers, remember? You can tell me anything.”

“Then why were you so strange towards me at my uncle’s house?” I ask, “Why haven’t we seen you since?”

He laughs and tells me he was only expressing an opinion. I let go of his hand.

“We were children then.”

“Sometimes the sincerest promises are made by children, Daya. Didn’t you mean it when you said we were best friends, that we would always be there for each other?”

I hear hurt in his voice and I am confused again. The joke was gone. I turn to look at him. His eyes are shining in the dark, honest. There is no trace of laughter.

“We never wrote to each other, but I never forgot you. But you forgot me. I could tell by your eyes when you saw me again. But you’re here now.”

He takes my hand again and this time I let him. I feel the soft warmth of his palms and for a moment I feel that my hand feels right in his. He has never betrayed me. But then he breaks the silence.

“We saw something as children, do you remember? Something we should not have seen. Of course you remember. It is not something we can forget.” His voice is quiet and low. There is no other sound. My hand is still in his, uncomfortable and limp now.

“We never spoke of it, though,” he continues.

I close my eyes and I try to forget again. Try to unhear. I do not respond and Rishi takes me by the shoulders now and faces me again. His voice is urgent. “I never told anyone but after you went back to England I was not allowed to forget. You’re finally here, I can talk to you about it. You can talk to me. There is something I found out. Something you should know.”

This was not how our meeting was supposed to be. I thought back to thirty years ago and the two children who were where they should not have been. I thought about what we should not have seen and I remembered the promises we had made to unmake what had happened.

I have no desire to talk anymore. I move away from him and he blocks the way to the steps leading down but I push past him.

“Daya,” he called but I was already downstairs making my way to our room.

In Awe


You see me how, now?
You see me put my clothes on,
A tired ritual in the dark of an autumn morning.
After children, after brushing my teeth,
After waking from another life.

The life where I was someone not as I am
Known to you.
I think back to when I was unknown to you
Before I let you examine, judge and weigh me,
Before you saw the irrational, rational thoughts within,
I caught you watching me in awe.

“You are beautiful,” you said.
I laughed and cocked my head
to one side and sighed.
I inhaled, exhaled
And that was that.

The last holy observance,
The last time you witnessed a miracle in me
I did not know I carried.
After that, love became mundane.
Because how can you compete
With being watched in awe?