Death and the desire for immortality

I so don’t like Death. I cringe everyday when I read about it in the newspaper. It happens to a stranger, unexpected when she’s just eating her food. It happens when someone is happy and shopping. It happens after a prolonged, wearisome illness. Every time I read it, I imagine scenes of violent (and can I add rather imaginative) deaths in which I imagine the people I love (not me, for that’s one thing I am not scared of, weirdly). I am not masochistic, I can’t help seeing these images. And they leave my heart palpitating with fear. Makes me cringe. Every time.

I don’t like to talk to Death. I ignore it when it is walking around my house. I wash my hands, again and again and I mutter mantras to protect myself from it. I pray that it would not happen to me or the ones I love. I don’t talk about it to anyone. If there’s a death in someone’s house, I don’t even go there. What if I or someone I love catches that disease? For Death for me (and if you let yourself accept it, for you too) is a disease. It’s a disease that cWilliam_Blake_Satan_in_Gloryatches all of us humans in the end. It’s there, hiding behind in the ends and beginnings of every story, every myth, every philosophy discussion that has happened and will happen. We live to question or solve the idea of death. Death is at all our doors, all the time. And it doesn’t need an invitation to come inside. (My fingers are crossed so that I can ward off Death as I write this blog, for some primal me fears that it will come because I am talking about it).

Death is the reason that immortality is such a fascinating idea to me. Escaping the clutches of Death! Living on forever, without the fear of dying! The very idea to live forever! As a brain in a box of metal, or a Russian avatar, or as a spiritual immortal canoodling with hot naked bodies in a fancy heaven, immortality is a soma which I want to drink from, given a chance. Do you desire it? How much would you want to sacrifice, to give away in your desire of it?

 

 

A few days ago, I created a character who is an immortal in the new book I have been working on. I won’t tell you who he is, but let me tell you one thing I realised as I was working on him. In all his dialogues, in the way he carried himself, the way he spoke, the way he just didn’t laugh anymore, but stared, the way he didn’t gobble up his drink, but just took a sip, as if he had all the time in the world—he just seemed so weary. That was one emotion that I could smell from him. He felt so tired. So weary of living. So exhausted with the idea of continuing to live, on and on, without refreshing himself, ever.

I was surprised at this. After all, he had a boon to live forever! Why wasn’t he enjoying it? Why did it sound more like a curse to me? I hadnt planned on making him to tired, but that’s what I could smell while writing about him.

My immortal character has made me thankful that I would die sometime in the future (small cringe). I don’t want to live through a lot of things—like world wars, famines, deaths all around me. I don’t want to live as the world completely changes around me—adapting again and again to these changes and continuing to learn, adapt, make new friends, see old ones die and wither away. I don’t want to live carrying all experiences —failures, hopes, dreams, successes, sorrow, happiness—as a burden on my bent back.

Nopes, I don’t want to do that.

So bye, bye immortality. I would rather start afresh. Feel differently? Tell me about it!

Bye, Bye my 1st baby!

It’s a rather pretty day today, have you noticed? I did, after a long, long time!

If any of you avid readers of my blog wondered what I have been up for almost a month of my absence from the online world, it’s editing. Two of my biggest projects which I had set out to do in the last eight months, have finally come to an end. I suddenly feel kind of empty. Nice empty Smile

The first mammoth one was the Digital Natives project. I edited two books for the NGO Centre for Internet and Society which were a culmination of three years of research. The books are out now in the world and fending for themselves now. I send them hugs. You can view the research book for free online or order one for yourself. Hear more about them on the dedicated page.

My second project was much tougher. I had decided to write a complete book while editing the Digital Natives books. Madness, now that I look back at it, but somehow the decision helped me bring out my first book and overcome my lack of confidence. It worked! Yes dear readers and the online universe, the first draft of my book is over!

It’s tentatively called Mystery of the Iyer Bungalow and is a children detective fiction. I thought writing it would be the biggest challenge for me, it wasn’t. It was editing that proved to be the main hurdle. It took much longer in time and was an emotional, depressing experience. Questions I didn’t have answer to hit me. Does the book work? asked the Editor in me. The Writer cringed and said she didn’t know. I had to take decisions of chopping down characters I had created with a lot of love and enjoyment. They didn’t fit into the narrative Sad smile

Finally, the first level of editing is finished. I feel a strange calm sadness. I have sent the book out (it’s going for the first time!) to some of my industry friends to read and for feedback. My heart beats fast and wonders how it will feel about it. I still don’t know if anyone would like to read this book. I don’t know how she will be treated (yes my book has feelings!) and if she will ever be published. I have lost every sense of objectivity for her. I am her mother and she’s my baby. I can’t be objective about her. As an decently good Editor, it’s a scary experience! And since it’s just a first draft and I don’t even have a publisher, I bet this is just a start to a long, long journey of my book. I wish Mystery of the Iyer Bungalow best of luck and hope that someday, a kid would read you and it would make her smile, just as it did me.

And that is the challenge that creative writing poses for me. It makes me experience the best and the worse of my talent and creative self. The highest and the lowest, both come one and again, in cycles. I had always wondered why suddenly one day, I decided to quit my journalism career and walk the thorny and painful path of fiction and fantasy writing. Now I know.

The beta of becoming

Blame it on a sleepy mood in the morning. Or the fact that I am doing too many tech stories for Mint (here, here and even here). Or a beautifully grey-blue morning in Bangalore. Or just the bellboys, who I love putting blame on anyways. Today morning, I woke up convinced that I am a program in its beta stage. Do I hear you laugh? Let me convince you.

TNAlphabet-Letter-B-shadowI am continuously changing, evolving, becoming something else.  Everything about me is in a flux–physical, mental, emotional, intellectual and all the other lulls. My source code is constantly being tampered with. By me, the things I read everything, by a man on the streets I don’t even know, by the potent combination of conversations and caffeine, by media, the movies I see, the videos I flick through on youtube, even innocent tweets. All of these are constantly tweaking my self, my insides, fusing, fastening, gripping, loosening, doing the salsa with my minds.

It’s interesting times, yes. It’s also revolutionary times inside me. I am becoming something else. I don’t even know what yet. What will I eventually turn into? If I look one step ahead, I am scared. There’s nothing but darkness there. A big, black hole of missing code, yet to be written.

Sometimes I am a developer of this conundrum of minds, senses, thoughts, ideas. Sometimes, I am an observer, one of them, helplessly watching from the sidelines as someone tampers, hacks into the deepest core of me, damaging, changing me forever. Sometimes I feel like binary numbers which have stopped making logical sense. Sometimes I feel like god, comfortable and enjoying the organic growth, celebrating the way the beta is shaping up. The way me is becoming, constantly changing, adjusting, tweaking to the demands of users, observers, critics, editors, friends, writers, developers, and opinionators.

I am an immortal beta who will never really become.

Venice and romance? Bleh!

Sorry for being such a party pooper for romantics (I consider myself one, btw. It must be society of cynics getting to me). Let me start this blog by copy-pasting a quick Google search I did on Venice.

‘Venice is probably the most romantic city in the world; its unique watery landscape gives the city a magical quality that is irresistible…’

‘The romantic city of water, that is how Venice is known to the masses. Who visits Italy, has to see Venice as well’

Even..

‘Why is Venice Italy a romantic city?’ on answers.com without any answers to it.

And finally, my favourite, from a tabloid The Sun,

‘The singer took a romantic gondola ride with pretty LUSIANA LOPILATO (famous chick in Brit) in Venice, but the stirring sights of the city failed to provoke even the slightest smile. At one point he even looked like he couldn’t wait to get off the watery ride as he rested his head on his hands.’ This accompanied a photo of the a grumpy looking singer.

I like what Sun said. Rather I understand what the Sun said. What is so romantic about the city after all? Why does the whole world keep on gushing about it? Don’t get me wrong, I loved the get-lost-in tiny lanes over canals that Venice is. Venice, I am sorry to say, looks good just in photos (as proof find here the pictures I clicked). It stinks for one. It’s a dead town full of three hundred year old buildings and romantics with gooey eyes.

 

Continue reading “Venice and romance? Bleh!”

FB page for Skull Rosary

Just a few months ago, I announced my upcoming graphic novel The Skull Rosary. To build up some excitement (not only for you guys, but also for myself!) I have just launched its FB page! If you read this, and click on the FB link too, I hope do press that all important LIKE button. The graphic novel releases in May 2012 and will be done in collaboration with artist Vivek Goel and his indie production house Holy Cow Pvt Ltd. I am thinking how I can Do keep coming back to know what more is happening in this!

And a sneak update: The Skull Rosary comprises of five stories and I have already completed one of them! It sounds beautiful to my ears, but you never know what happens when its thrown out there! Fingers crossed.

Preview of my upcoming comic anthology

skull rosary ad

 

This one is completely my baby as a writer with artist Vivek Goel. Comprising of five short stories, this anthology is a new take on a mythology. That’s all I can tell you right now, more will come laters. Oh, and it’s going to release next year during summer holidays. Hope some kids out there are excited!

Were House Volume 1 released!

My first comic short story it out in the market. It’s a horror comic anthology of three authors with artist Vivek Goel. You can order it online at Flipkart

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Would love to hear some feedback on it!

Werehouse out in the papers

The excitement is building up for the May end release of Werehouse-The house of monsters. One of the three horror stories in the anthology are mine and I am quite excited about it as it’s my first horror comic coming out. Here’s what the Mumbai Mirror journalist had to say:

Endangered fury

A graphic novel ropes in some endangered Indian species and narrates tragic tales of the human civilisation through their perspective

Ankit.Ajmera

Posted On Sunday, May 01, 2011 at 06:56:15 PM

w e have seen it all. From Benicio Del Toro playing the werewolf in the film The Wolfman (2010) to Rahul Roy becoming the weretiger in the film Junoon (1992). Cursed creatures have always been portrayed brutally devouring numerous innocent humans to satisfy their lust for blood. A graphic novel on similar lines of therianthropy (metamorphosis of humans into other animals by the process of changing forms through shape-shifting), titled Were House — Volume I, will be launched this month. The novel moves away from the cliched transformations of humans into wolves and tigers and introduces some lesser known but endangered Indian animals such as the Snow Leopard and the Dhol (Indian wild dog), along with a rat, as new therianthropes.
Graphic artist and creator of Ravanayan, Vivek Goel is self-publishing the novel under his newly formed publishing house, Holy Cow Entertainment based in Mumbai. With specie after specie becoming extinct from the world, the novel takes us closer to the heart of animals through therianthropes. Instead of being cursed, the creatures have been blessed with the power to change shapes. “We have conveniently exploited every possible living creature for our own selfish needs. But we hardly know what and how they feel about humans,” says Goel. “I thought it will be interesting to see the world through their eyes.” There is a lot of blood and gore in the story and it justifies the creatures’ need to kill as mere survival instinct instead of a mad blood-lust like that of werewolves and weretigers.

To read the full story, click here.

The photograph which was selected for Haptic 2011

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About the photograph:
It was during a recent trip to Ajanta Caves that I clicked this. The Ajanta caves which were excavated during 2nd century BC to 5th Century ACE, are a series of Buddhist monastery sites, still beautifully preserved. In one of the caves stood these tall sculptures of Buddha which are more than 1500 years old and still exquisite. Hovering around them was this throng of tourists, both males and females, caressing them softly with their eyes and capturing them in their memories and cameras as they stood unapologetically naked–emotionally, spiritually and physically.

About the exhibition:

Bangalore has hosted film festivals on themes related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT or Queer) communities since 2003. Although they were small events, since their transformation into The Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF) in April 2009, held at the Alliance Francaise, the festivals have made Bangalore a destination for international Queer films. Haptic is a photograph exhibition held during the Film Festival.

My first graphic novel with Campfire

Just discovered my debut novel’s cover on the Campfire website. Here’s a sneak into what the beautiful book, illustrated by Rajesh N, will look like. I am so, so excited about it!

Krishna, Defender of Dharma


The best part is that you can PRE-ORDER the book now! It costs Rs 195 and delivery worldwide is free! Click here to pre-order!