Archive for October, 2011


Updates on Blue Dust and Quotes

Update on Blue Dust

Blue Dust is now in stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata as the main ones and then in smaller cities as well. And it will be coming to Pakistan in February. I have also been invited to the Karachi Literature Festival where I will be speaking at a panel with Kamila Shamsie and H.M Naqvi next month about Pakistani writers writing contemporary fiction in English. The book is being sent to 100 reviewers in India and 30 reviewers in Pakistan. The online link to Blue Dust is given here where you can also view the blurb about it.

http://www.rolibooks.com/indiaink/fiction/-/blue-dust/

More links of book shops where Blue Dust can be bought

http://bookshopofindia.com/search.asp?action1=default&bookid=9089377

http://www.jainbookdepot.com/servlet/jbgetbiblio?bno=B002190

here is a brief blurb about me too:

I did my Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of East Anglia, UK. Many of my poems have been published in literary journals in the UK including Smoke and Splizz. I have also worked for the development sector in Pakistan for more than twelve years during which time I have written several technical papers in various sectors. I have been a panel organizer and panelist for two of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute’s panels at their annual conference on sustainable development, one of the largest in South Asia, for the last two consecutive years. The first panel was on religious minorities in Pakistan and the second on bridging the gaps between fact and fiction. My paper, Shame and Fury on the global menace of religious conflicts in terms of how religion is and has been used as a political tool by nations and its ramifications on world politics from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq to the more local fractures that Pakistan has witnessed in the context of conflicts between religious sects and different religions was published in this year’s anthology, Peace and Sustainable Development in South Asia published by Sang-e-Meel.

I am currently writing my second book, Noora, which is about a Pakistani family based in Islamabad against the backdrop of the recent “holocaust” of bombings that rocked the nation. The book’s main characters are a hijra, Ruby, Umber, her husband, Ali, their son Zain and the local rubbish collector Noora. Although they each come from entirely different worlds they are all tied together in a strange bond that threatens the fabric of their lives and yet teaches each of them not only of the frailty of the human condition but the necessary armour that each of them must carry with them to survive in a world that is breaking apart.

Favorite Quotes

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  ~Gloria Steinem

“You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled.” —Dhyani Ywahoo (Native American)

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source. ~Lucretia Mott

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

“But the artist persists because he has the will to create, and this is the magic power which can transform and transfigure and transpose and which will ultimately be transmitted to others.” 

Anais Nin 

“Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.”

Albert Einstein 

“When I was a boy of fourteen,

my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.

But when I got to be twenty one, I was astonished

at how much he had learned in seven years.”

Mark Twain

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…….. The universities, for example, are not independent institutions. There may be independent people scattered around in them but that is true of the media as well. And it’s generally true of corporations. It’s true of Fascist states, for that matter. But the institution itself is parasitic. It’s dependent on outside sources of support and those sources of support, such as private wealth, big corporations with grants, and the government (which is so closely interlinked with corporate power you can barely distinguish them), they are essentially what the universities are in the middle of. People within them, who don’t adjust to that structure, who don’t accept it and internalize it (you can’t really work with it unless you internalize it, and believe it); people who don’t do that are likely to be weeded out along the way, starting from kindergarten, all the way up. There are all sorts of filtering devices to get rid of people who are a pain in the neck and think independently. Those of you who have been through college know that the educational system is very highly geared to rewarding conformity and obedience; if you don’t do that, you are a troublemaker. So, it is kind of a filtering device which ends up with people who really honestly (they aren’t lying) internalize the framework of belief and attitudes of the surrounding power system in the society. The elite institutions like, say, Harvard and Princeton and the small upscale colleges, for example, are very much geared to socialization. If you go through a place like Harvard, most of what goes on there is teaching manners; how to behave like a member of the upper classes, how to think the right thoughts, and so on.

<http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199710&#8211;.htm> accessed 5 October 2011

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question...
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair -
(They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin -
(They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all -
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all -
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all -
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet - and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all" -
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: "That is not what I meant at all."
That is not it, at all.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor -
And this, and so much more? -
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
"That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all."

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous -
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.