Slavery in India and how it compares to the world

While browsing the layers that is the internet, I came across Global Slavery Index and found the facts that they’d written about India after research quite intriguing. There are lots of little nuggets there to mull over and think about various ways we ignore, encourage and are okay with slavery in our country. I had hoped this is not true, that it’s fiction, or something that can come under my Tall Tales section, but unfortunately, that is not to be. An excerpt from the report.

How many people are in modern slavery in India?

India is undergoing a remarkable ‘triple transition’, in which economic growth is both driving and is being affected by rapid social and political change. Economic growth has rapidly transformed the country over the past 20 years, including the creation of a burgeoning middle-class. In 1993, some 45 percent of the population were living in poverty; by 2011 that had been reduced to 21 percent.In addition to economic growth, ambitious programmes of legal and social reform are being undertaken right across the board, from regulation of labour relations to systems of social insurance for the most vulnerable.

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Neil Gaiman’s handwritten notes

Call me old fashioned, but there’s something in notes that are handwritten. So I salivate after notes of my favourite authors, trying to find bits and pieces of handwritten marvels from them, when they were constructing my favourite books. So imagine my sheer bliss at having discovered Neil Gaiman’s notes on his book American Gods. of that’s been handwritten. Glee.

Initial thoughts about the book

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How creating Anantya helped me find my freedom

The plotlines of most action flicks, are all about the hero. The hero rocks the roads, chases goons, tots guns, fights for justice, sows wild oats with white girls, and then heads back to home, to his heroine. All this while, this heroine, the girl, pines away back at home or sits pretty in a café (usually alongside a swimming pool for some reason), waiting for her hero. The only time she’s outdoors, she’s either surrounded by other girls, or is with the hero, or is getting raped or attacked by the goons. The message is loud and clear: The streets are unsafe for an Indian woman: If you’re out there alone, you will be slaughtered, you little lamb.

As a girl who grew up in Delhi, I was fed this message by family, society, school, college and onwards. Every time I walked on the streets of the capital city, as a teenager, as a working woman in her 20s, I had to constantly fight butt slaps, boob pinches, stares and hoots and whistles from strangers. Every time a violent act happened, I was told to not walk alone on streets, to wear looser clothes, not stare back and scream, not confront, not act, but be passive. For that’s how a woman should behave. Wait for someone else, a hero, a guy, the government or the police to react to the aggression that happens to her, to save her. An Indian woman is supposed to be passive, silently take on violence if given by her husband or in-laws, or ask for help from the boyfriend or police or government when faced from an aggressive stranger. Most of all, a woman is supposed to protect herself from all of it, to keep indoors, to make friends carefully in case they turn out to be rapists.

With Anantya Tantrist, the tantrik detective of my latest novel, Cult of Chaos, I decided to take all of these years of imbibed and heard and oft-repeated Indian values of passivity, decorum, rules and ethics meant for women and flip them, turn them on their head. Just to see what happens to the society in the world if I do. For speculative fiction gives you that freedom, to extrapolate, to try and do things differently, make new rules and new societies, explore gender roles and beliefs about gender. And I took it.

Anantya as a result, became a complete opposite to the restrictive idea of an ideal Indian woman.

First of all, she is always in the middle of action, she speaks her mind, there’s no passivity when it comes to her, in fact passivity bores her. She is boisterous, angry, spews gaali, smokes beedi, drinks hard stuff like a fish, hangs out on the streets with all kinds of things and species, doesn’t come home till wee hours, has crud in her kitchen, can’t cook to save her life, but can wield a boneblade to save another’s. She has unapologetic one night stands with all kinds of supernatural species, wears chappals and goes to parties and doesn’t know what a ‘date’ is. Continue reading “How creating Anantya helped me find my freedom”

Time to pitch is now!


Finally the day has come. And what can be better than the start of the new year to do something that you have cringed from all of last year? I am going to close Mystery of the Iyer Bungalow (yes, dear readers, it’s still not published. The reason is that it’s still being edited and has not been even shown to a publisher yet). I have begun the process of pitching its manuscript to publishers starting January. I was afraid all of end of last months of 2011. I cringed, stalled, questioned, panicked, and analysed. Basically did everything in the WHAT IFS category and didn’t pitch the book.

Now I am geared myself for rejections, criticisms, rotten tomatoes and jeers. Basically anything and everything that anyone who wants to throw can throw at me.

Maybe it’s the new year. But I am determined. I am determined that I will follow my dream and write and write some more.



Here are things I am NOT going to do this new year:

  • I will not be afraid of reactions to my writing.
  • I will not think on writing and not write.
  • I will not compare.
  • I will not worry about what my life would have been with different choices
  • I will not be afraid out trying new things.
  • I will not worry about how bad I write
  • I will not equate success with the money I could have been earning.
  • I will not feel lonely and boring.
  • I will not feel envious of books I enjoy reading.
  • I will not stick to my comfort zone.

With so many things I had been doing, it’s a wonder I still write. Stubborn I think 🙂


A sentimental note for Mystery of the Iyer bungalow: As I put in the finishing touches to the my first manuscript of the Mystery of the Iyer Bungalow, I feel a sense of anti-climax. While editing the book, I realised that it could have become so many other books with the same characters, with the same settings.  I would like to change it a bit, tweak it from here, add things to that side, but I cannot. Not anymore. I know it’s not perfect still, I don’t think it ever will become perfect. Like a mother, I feel I am over-fretting on my child rather than setting it free. So many emotions. When did I become so attached to just words? I hope someone else becomes attached to this imperfect book, reads it and enjoys it. That’s after all, the most important thing.