• 29

    “I read these poems at home, at work, on the metro, even on various DTC buses in the relentless May heat (the subject of a very short poem in this collection, incidentally). Not once did the poet allow my concentration to wander. It feels a little weird to call this a debut book. One reason is that it includes poems that I read for the first time years ago. But the other, more important reason is this: rarely do you come across a debut that is so assured in its style that you think you’re reading someone with 20-odd books under their belt.”

    So. A Facebook message I hadn’t noticed in my “others” folder just brought this lovely review of the Fingers Remember to my notice. From the Sunday Guardian. From May 2015. Umm. Clearly, I need to get more on top of following my little book’s journey into the big wide world!

    Here it is now, though.

    PS: Just to put it out there, I am the kind of poet who would _love_ to have a random person in a bookstore come up to talk about my work. Really. If you’ve done it, you know this. If you haven’t, you should know it.

  • 18

    It’s finally out and official: “The winner of the Muse India – Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2015 for poetry is Aditi Rao (for The Fingers Remember) for ‘the range and variety of her poems, her innovative craft, the solidity of her images and the unflinching fortitude of her unique voice.'”

    Big thanks to Arpita Das for giving the book a home in the big, wide world. And a special shoutout to Akhil Katyal, my little book’s favourite uncle, and my favourite person and poet to share a shortlist with!

    A little more on the award below, from the press release:

    “Muse India Young Writer Awards are given to recognise and encourage outstanding literary talent. The awards are given in the categories of poetry and fiction. Instituted by Muse India, the literary eJournal, the awards are given during the Hyderabad Literary Festival. A panel of senior professors, besides editors of Muse India, evaluated the entries to short-list books for the final round judged by nationally reputed writers. The panel included eminent poets and critics K Satchidanandan, Ranjit Hoskote, Meena Kandasamy, Sukrita Paul Kumar and GJV Prasad among others.”

    Here’s the full, official announcement

  • 01

    A few months ago, I recorded a few of my poems for a podcast on South Asian Feminisms, curated by Electric Kulture, in conversation with the authors of The Two Brown Girls blog. The podcast has recently gone live; you can have a listen here

  • 23

    We have just begun recruitment for Round 2 of our program. If you are between the ages of 15-19, interested in working with a diverse group of teenagers to co-create a social change curriculum, and excited by the arts, we’d love to hear from you.

    The program will meet every Sunday from 18th October 2015 to 14th February 2016, 12;30 PM to 5:30 PM. For more, have a look at the poster below, or get int ouch through our contact page!

    Tasawwur Round 2 begins

  • 15

    So, while I was doing my morning chanting on this independence day, I had a thought: What would happen if we chose to celebrate this as “interdependence day”? No, really, it isn’t just a play on words. What would happen if Pakistan, Kashmir, and India decided to commemorate interdependence over the 14th and 15th of August (because let’s face it, none of us can fully know peace, security, or freedom until we all do — that’s just the reality of our history and our present)? What would that celebration even look like? It seems like such a faraway possibility, and yet, it seems so necessary, so urgent.

    Therefore commemorating this day by sharing an article I wrote for the “Common Threads” blog, recently started by the SGI quarterly, my favourite peace, culture, and education magazine. This was definitely among the most interesting pieces for me to write, not only because it helped me bring together many different experiences (all of them simultaneously personal, professional, and political), but also because it gave me a chance to talk about so many people very dear to me.

    I look forward to the day when changing the names in the story won’t feel like a necessary precaution for the individuals concerned, but for now, here are the stories: The Threads the Connect Us

  • 14

    So, as many of you know, in my non-poet life, I also work with young people, exploring how to use the arts as a vehicle for social-justice education. Last November, I started Tasawwur, a collective of artists and educators, working towards this end, and we’re just finishing up our first program cycle. Next week, we proudly present our first every show, “Walk!” — a collaborative production inspired by the stories, struggles, dreams and hopes of a motley group of teenagers.

    The show is born out of a 4 month intensive arts-for-social-change curriculum, in which 12 teenagers, cutting across barriers of caste, class, gender, religion, and nationality, came together to teach each other about the social issues that affect them most deeply as well as the changes they dream of. “Walk!” is based on the lives and stories of the cast members; while no one plays their own part, the stories are all true. Facilitated by Tasawwur, a collective of artists and educators, this show brings together song, choreography, tableaus, and stories to take the audience through the world these young people inhabit and the more inclusive world that they dream of.

    Walk! is open to the public, but seating is limited, so the audience is requested to arrive early. While there is no charge for the tickets, we welcome donations to cover our costs. Proceeds raised at the event will be divided between Studio Safdar and Tasawwur.

    When: 22nd and 23rd May, 7 PM
    Where: Studio Safdar (Near Shadipur Metro Station)

    See you there?


    If you’d like to know more about Tasawwur, here is a brief description, or visit our website here, or our Facebook page here. We are always looking for volunteers, donors, and participants, so do get in touch if this excites you 🙂


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