& occasionally about other things, too...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Creativity has many voices

Canadian Voices II has a hundred pieces of creativity – short stories and poems.

As with any collection, some are strikingly good to read.

I haven’t finished reading the collection yet. Of what I have read, the following short stories stand out for giving me that “aa..haa!” moment.

Chester & Grace
by Cassie McDaniel

A Black Snowball by Braz Menezes
A Blue Fish by Yoko Morgenstern
The Devil’s Stone Cook by Joyce Wayne

And among the poems, these are the better ones:

by Elizabeth Barnes

The Great Depression by Jasmine D’Costa
On Un-making Contact by Deena Kara Shaffer
Apology by Sarah Zahid
I, Too, Am Canadian by Jasmine Jackson which ends with these memorable lines:

So please do not take my accent or the darker hue of my skin

For mistaking me to be any less Canadian


Bookland Press, Toronto 6021 Yonge Street, Suite 1010, Toronto ON M2M 3W2 Tel: (800) 535-1774, Website: http://www.booklandpress.com/, E-mail: books@booklandpress.com
ISBN: 978-0-9784395-8-3, 360 pages, $25.95

Images: Jasmine:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ruksana's Story in Canadian Voices Volume II

Canadian Voices Volume Two and Ruksana's Story by Mayank Bhatt

Another short story published!

I have with me copies of Canadian Voices Volume II that has my short story in it.

Indeed, I'm proud, delighted and humbled.

Write to me and get a copy today. I'll pass on the writer's discount to you.

Here's a brief note about the collection:

An Anthology of Prose and Poetry by Emerging Canadian Writers

Canadian Voices is a powerful and moving collection of prose and poetry, which stretches across the boundaries of age, skin color, language, ethnicity, and religion to give voice to the lives and experiences of ordinary Canadians.

This vibrant, varied sampler of the Canadian literary scene captures timely personal and cultural challenges, and ultimately shares subtle insight and compassion written by a wide spectrum of stylistically and culturally diverse authors.

Canadian Voices is more than simply an anthology — it is a celebration of wonderful writing by some of today's finest emerging Canadian writers. This book is an ambitious, lasting, and meaningful work of literature that will not soon fade away. It is an exceptional reading experience to be enjoyed and savoured.

Publishers: Bookland Press, Toronto 6021 Yonge Street, Suite 1010, Toronto ON M2M 3W2 Tel: (800) 535-1774, Website: http://www.booklandpress.com/, E-mail: books@booklandpress.com ISBN: 978-0-9784395-8-3, 360 pages, $25.95

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Open conversations

Since I began writing this blog in December 2008, I've welcomed and encouraged comments, even when these comments have been critical.

I have published many such comments over the last 20 months and will continue to do so as long as I maintain this blog.

However, I have little patience for cowards who will bend technology to camouflage their real identity and use those of my friends to comment on my entries.

I have the courage of my conviction to say what I do. I come from an open society (India) and live in an open society (Canada).

My advise to my friends and well-wishers is to engage in an open debate. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jai Hind!

August 1947 the British partitioned the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan and left. Pakistan celebrates its independence on August 14 and India on August 15.

This morning, I celebrated the Indian Independence Day on Pakistani Independence Day. Panorama India, a Toronto-based cultural organisation, and the Consulate General of India in Toronto, organised the India Day celebration and grand parade at Dundas Square.

I learnt the Parade is five-years-old, and it aims eventually to rival the
Caribana Parade. At present, it’s modest and utterly charming, offering vignettes of the Indian microcosm.

There were floats from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala and Goa, and some from the many sponsors of the event.

Rajasthan had the smallest float and
RANA had adopted the Mirabai theme. Mirabai is the 16th century woman poet-saint and feminist who epitomises the Bhakti-Sufi tradition of sub-continental syncretism.

The morning trip to Dundas Square (with Che rather reluctantly accompanying me) was worth the effort because the Rajasthan float played
Lata Mangeskar’s Mira bhajaans.

Later, I read the
Times of India’s website and its special coverage on India’s Independence Day.

As many know,
Mahatma Gandhi stayed away from the Independence Day celebrations, preferring to douse the flames of communal riots in Calcutta.

Here’s a gem from that report:

Journalist Horace Alexander narrated an incident that occurred in that surcharged season (mid-1947). One day when Gandhi was praying in a village, a Muslim caught him by the throat. Gandhi almost collapsed. But even as he fell down, he recited some lines from the Quran.

On hearing them, the Muslim said, “I am sorry. I am prepared to protect you. Give me any work. Tell me what should I do?” 

Gandhi replied, “Do only one thing. When you go back home, do not tell anyone what you tried to do to me. Otherwise there will be Hindu-Muslim riots.

Forget me and forgive yourself.”

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Watching TV

All of last week I wrote (actually, struggled with) my novel. And I watched TV. 

My son is vacationing and I have the TV for myself.

I didn’t know what to see. Flipping channels, I stopped at WNED and saw three back-to-back episodes of Science and Islam, a BBC documentary narrated by Jim Al-Khalili, a physicist and a professor at University of Surrey (pictured).

It’s a fascinating documentary that dispels many western media-engineered myths about Islam; equally, it focuses sharply on the religion’s metamorphoses from an all-encompassing, knowledge-driven global force to an insular and one-dimensional entity.

Globally, there’s nothing that can match the BBC in radio and television broadcasting. 

Then yesterday on the same channel, I saw Looking For Angelina, a gripping story of Angelina Napolitano, an immigrant from Italy who, after suffering many years of physical and mental abuse, finally axed her husband to death because he wanted her to turn into prostitute to earn money.

The racially prejudiced trail and the campaign launched by a Chicago-based journalist in the United States to save Angelina from the gallows made for compelling viewing.

Angelina’s story shows that even a century later conditions in immigrant ghettos remain nearly unchanged even if the ethnicity of the immigrants may have changed. 

The racial profiling and prejudice that the Italians experienced at the turn the last century, is almost the same that immigrants from the Asia face at present.

Then as now, the ethnic community shun the victim and practice social ostracization; help comes from enlightened Canadians -- the court appointed advocate, Uriah McFadden in Angelina’s case.

Finally, earlier today, I saw Orson Welles’ screen adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1962).
In my view, most screen adaptations never fully do justice to the novel, and they succeed as movies only because the director takes liberties to interpret the novel in her/his own vision.

Some, like Sanjay Leela Bhansali take it too far and do silly things (can you imagine Devdas’s Paro and Chandramukhi singing and dancing together; although the song is brilliantly filmed.) 

Some movies are able to transcend the limitations of a novel to become classics.

Orson Welles’ The Trial succeeds in capturing the military-industrial complex’s bureaucratic maze and monotony, as well as its sinister meaninglessness that Kafka was the first depict in his works.


Jim Al-Khilili: 

Looking for Angelina: http://www.northernstars.ca/titles/2005/looking_for_angelina.html

The Trial: http://www.lovefilm.com/film/The-Trial/89263/