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Hello there,
Greetings.
 
Briefly ...

While making breakfast this morning, I remembered a meal from long ago.

It was the middle of the night when our badly delayed train pulled into the temple town of Rameswaram in southern India. A lightning strike had been declared. I don’t remember the reason why. Shops and restaurants had downed shutters and hotels had closed their reception desks and barred their gates. Violence was expected.

We came out of the station to find the roads deserted. No vehicles for hire either. We walked some distance in the direction of an ashram we knew about from an acquaintance. We hoped that, being a charitable organisation, they would be willing to put us up for the night. Our footsteps rang out eerily in the night and though we whispered our voices seemed extra loud. We hailed a lone tonga that clip clopped by and it dropped us at the ashram. The front gate was open and a sign told us to ring the bell. An elderly man clad in white opened the door. After introductions we were shown into a spacious room with several beds with crisp white bed linen.

“Aren’t you hungry?” the kind man asked us. We hesitated. We were ravenous but felt it would be intruding upon their hospitality too much if we asked for food at this time of the night. The man went away without saying anything and we resigned ourselves to hunger.

Sometime later, we heard a gentle knock on our door and on opening found a young man also clad in white standing outside, smiling.

“I have made upma for you,” he said apologetically. “That was all I could manage.”

“Thanks a lot,” we chorused as he led the way to a large dining hall a corner of which had been lighted and a table set just for us.

He served us upma on plantain leaves. The semolina was cooked just right and was soft but not sticky. Apart from carrots and onions, he had added cashew nuts browned in ghee.
It was the most delicious meal I had ever had.
 
Latest Blog Posts

Folk tales fascinate everyone.

A Man Like Bhima
This is a folk tale from Kerala in two parts. It tells the story of a huge man who had to supplement the food he had from home by hunting in the forest. Because of his extraordinary strength, his gentle ways and helpful nature, Kulapurath Bhiman was very popular among the people of all the villages of the Kingdom of Poonjar.

Bhima and the Runaway Forests

Bhima's strength and willingness to help earned him the king's friendship. But after some time circumstances changed and Bhima was left to lead a lonely life. Finally, there came a time when people forgot all about him.  

Click on the titles to read the stories in full. 
Some Interesting Reads

I've not been reading as much as I should be.I often feel that way. I wonder if you do too.

I recently completed a short story collection called  Each of Us Killers by Indian American writer Jenny Bhatt. It has around twenty short stories and most of them are set in India. The theme connecting all the stories is people and their work. 

'Return to India' is about a man who gets killed. Several different people who knew the man tell us the story. These include his colleagues and his ex-wife. The end is quietly chilling especially in the light of recent events. 'Pros and Cons' is about a yoga instructor at a resort by the sea, who makes a decision that changes her life.I also loved 'Neeru's New World' 'Journey to the Stepwell' and 'Each of Us Killers' the last story from which the collection gets its name. 

A good read that will give you something to think about. You can buy it on Amazon here.  
Just So You Know ...
One of my short stories 'A Lamp Facing East' was recently published in the online magazine Bengaluru Review. If you are interested, you can click on the title to read. 

I'm currently working on the sixth draft of my novel Bharati Central. When I started out two years ago I had no idea about the complexity of the project I had undertaken. I didn't imagine it would take so long or require so much of effort. Experience is the best teacher, as they say. If something interesting happens regarding Bharati Central I'll definitely keep you updated. 
If you liked my newsletter please share on social media using the links below. 

Be happy, it's a way of being wise.

That's all for now. Until next time then. 

Best,
Veena
 
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