Wednesday 10 July 2024


Time speeds forward. Through light and dark. Regardless of the bright days or the starry, sometimes dreary, nights. Through hues and greys. Sweating up the highs and tumbling down the lows. At times warmed up by the shine. Often scorched by the heat. Bare to the nightly chills. Startled by the dawns. Anticipating the dusks. Time races on. So does life. At a matching pace. Shooting off at a tangent to every expectation.

life a shooting dart
time a tangent on its own
hope still circles though


[Picture: On the way to Phillip Island, Melbourne]

Friday 21 June 2024


Still runs deep.

Still waters
Turbulent fathoms
Deeps beckon.


Wednesday 5 June 2024

A Win or A Loss?



Sue & Rue

Sue: When, exactly, is a ‘win-win’?

Rue: When both parties feel they’ve won.

Sue: So a ‘lose-lose’ is…

Rue: ...obviously, when both parties suffer a loss.

Sue: And when is it a ‘win-lose’ situation?

Rue: When there’s a winner and there's a loser.

Sue: And a ‘lose-win’?

Rue: When one wins at a certain cost. Or loses with a consolatory gain.

Sue: Then what would you call this current situation?

Rue: Oh, this is a strange one.

Sue: In which way?

Rue: The winner feels he has lost. The loser feels he has won.


Monday 3 June 2024

In Conversation with AksharaSthree


Holding conversations is an art in itself. You enjoy talking with some people. Often, it's because they know how to make you talk. Here's an excerpt from a hearty chat that I had with Sandhya Naveen of AksharaSthree - The Literary Woman.

What made you decide to have a varied career involving writing, editing, curating, and content strategy?

During my school and college days, like all young people in those days, I too considered going for a professional degree. However, writing came to me naturally. And so I found myself veering my way into journalism and eventually found myself in this career. More than a conscious decision, it was a following of natural instinct. Writing, editing, content strategy, etc. are all creative processes related to writing which basically require the same thinking mind-set but different approaches. I was lucky that I got the chance to explore all of these. Also, with the advent of the internet, I was at the right place at the right time. I just went along with the flow.

Can you talk about your schooling and how it affected your path in literature and journalism?

When I was in school, there were a few teachers who persuaded me to engage in script-writing, versification, etc. As they say, your teacher figures out your interests before you are even aware of them. However, more than anything, it was the environment at home that influenced me the most. My father led a very successful profession as an engineer. And he was a poet at heart – a much published and awarded one. So he was a person to look up to. I grew up in my grandparents’ home though. My grandparents were huge literature enthusiasts. So is my mother. Their continuous literary conversations around the dining table and in the living room kindled and nurtured my passion for writing as well as reading.

Your poetry has been in different online literary journals and anthologies. Can you tell us about your creative process and what topics or ideas inspire your poetry?

I get inspired by things around me, things that I see and hear. Anything and everything, even a crumbled piece of paper, can inspire me. Sometimes poems written by others become a source of inspiration. There is no specific process as such. Writing begins spontaneously in the mind. Words and lines form naturally. The genre and the format are all part of this natural evolution. By the time I type it out, the poem is almost fully composed in my mind. This is followed by endless revisions. Fine-tuning is a never-ending process. But I just stop working at it after a point.  

As a Consulting Developmental Editor, what parts of working with authors do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the challenge of editing and organising their thoughts without even slightly affecting or changing their tone and voice. I try to maintain the style and feel in the authors’ writing, sticking to their vocabulary, staying in line with their thoughts. This requires several meetings and discussions with the authors. By working closely with them, I gain a deep insight into their subject and thus get to learn a lot. This, I consider, is the perk that comes with my job. My ultimate gratification lies in the authors’ happiness when they see the final product.

How do you manage being a writer, editor, and consultant, and what do you do to stay organized and get things done?

So who says I stay organised? I get things done all right. But my mind is in a constant state of blissful disorganisation. It is always a clutter of things that I am currently doing and that I plan to do, including writing. There are words and lines that form, un-form and re-form, so to say, continuously in my mind. This generates the fuel that keeps me going.

[Read the full conversation on]

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Left or Right?



Sue & Rue

Sue:  So what, say, is left thinking?

Rue: That the right is in no way right.

Sue: And what is right thinking?

Rue: That nothing’s left of the left.

Sue: Now I’m left thinking as to what is right.

Rue: Stick to your left if you think it’s still right.

Sue: If not?

Rue: Turn right to stay left.


Wednesday 17 April 2024

Higginbothams - Where I stumbled upon my childhood

If reading had a huge role to play in my growing up, Higginbothams had a greater role to play in building my reading habit. If I were an artist, I would have sketched a portrait of the man who used to keep the Higginbothams store at the Thrissur Railway Station. He was already an old man when I first met him. He was dark and slightly on the stouter side, with sloping shoulders. Not one strand of hair on his head was black. He had round, curious eyes staring out of an oblong face. He must have been short. Whether he was sitting down on his stool or standing up to cater to his customers, I never saw much of his torso above the counter of the book shop.

The first time when I went to the shop with my grandfather, I was a small kid. I had to rise on the tips of my toes to read through the titles. And then I would look straight into his eyes. (Yes, he was short.) The old man and I used to have a kind of silent communication which hardly needed any verbal expression. He almost always knew which the titles I wanted were. And they were always one too many. But Achhan (as I used to call my grandfather) made me always stop my purchase at one or two. Because we were not taught or allowed to overindulge. And this became a ritual. Every time we came to receive or see off anyone at the station - and that was the norm in those days - I was most eager to do the honours. For I knew I could stop and linger at the bookshop, and return with at least two books.

From Amar Chitra Kathas to Enid Blytons to the classics, romances, suspense thrillers and period fictions to serious nonfictions, Higginbothams silently witnessed my evolution to adulthood. And as I grew up, naturally, my appetite for reading also grew and we couldn't afford to buy enough to satiate my craving anymore, and I slowly migrated to the Townhall Public Library. My visits to the railway station grew fewer, and I lost touch with the shop. However, I had always reserved for the store and the old man a special place in my heart. And then I realized one day that the shop at the station had closed down. That left a kind of void in my mind and a heavy sense of loss. Later on, I found a Higginbothams store at Kochi, which could never hold that special corner in my heart. What's more, it closed down or relocated to I know not where. 

Several days back, I was at the Chennai airport. I was roaming around, looking for a book shop. (Yes, I have lately got back into the habit of hanging around bookshops, and I still do have a membership in one of the best libraries in Kochi.) And to my pleasant surprise, I came upon and happily stumbled into a Higginbothams'. I was swamped by nostalgia and a rush of emotions. I tried to chat up the storekeeper for a few long minutes, all the while an old man's face gradually forming in my mind. I forgot to take a selfie at the store, as I am not a selfie-clicking person, but I wish I had, just this once. And yes, I did buy books. Only two, though.


[Picture Courtesy: Public Domain]

Thursday 11 April 2024

To Paint the Complete Picture

Pick up your thinking brush. Dip it in the skies. Let it soak in the blues. Then sweep it across the mind’s canvas. From end to end. Repeat once, twice or thrice. Or as many times as it takes for the blues to rub off the brush.

If the blues are too intense, dip the spiky bristles in the cloudy whites. Wait until the blues wash away, and then touch up your skies so they light up just a mite.

Now steep your brooding blues in the twilights. Blotch up your canvas with blobs of red, yellow, orange, and blends of all three. Make sure you leave some room for the occasional blues. Draw a few defining strokes so the blobs know their space and don’t spill all over the place.

Splash across the bottom some earthy hues. For all those shades need to bury their roots. Then plant a bed of sprouting greens of the upcoming spring. And there you are! Your canvas is complete.

Some brights and some blues
A picture replete with all hues
Ups and lows, joys and woes.


[Picture: Yarra Valley, Melbourne]

Thursday 7 March 2024

i came upon a lighthouse


Title: i came upon a lighthouse
Author: Shantanu Naidu
Illustrations: Sanjana Desai
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers India

“i came upon a lighthouse” is a book about the most unique, unusual, and unlikely friendship between an octogenarian (Ratan Tata) and a twenty-something author (Shantanu Naidu). The book is as charming as I expected it to be. Illustrations by Sanjana Desai add to the charm.

Though the author says – almost like a disclaimer – that “the pages of this book are the result more of heart and story and less of artistic capability”, the story, which is a true one, reads as smoothly, gently and softly as any good fiction. The two friends meet because of a common trait – their compassion for homeless dogs. And the meeting evolves into a rare kind of friendship where the elder of the friends become a guide, a mentor and a companion-on-call for the younger. And a confidante and an anchor when the latter finds himself alone and lost in an alien land. 

“Everyone has their own layered relationship with New York City. It is a relationship with a living being, an actual person. Each visitor has their own version, their own narrative. Everyone is hustling, trying to make it, whether in life or through the day. It is overwhelming to be on the sidewalk with people who are always anxious to be somewhere. When everyone around you has a purpose in the city, it is lonely to be there without one.”

The beauty of this friendship is in the sweet innocence of the friends and their refreshing candour. Their relationship becomes a subtle, non-intrusive influence in the young man’s life, helping him find his feet in his confused world. That he has access to one of the greatest, one of the most brilliant, minds of India makes the relationship even more special, rather, enviable, to the readers. 

“Why don’t you come with me to the World Trade Center office tomorrow. You can see the slums surrounding the campus from the twenty-sixth floor. It is a disturbing difference, a mismatch of classes. But you can also see how organically they are mapped, how there is pattern to the chaos.”

I am grateful to the author for writing this book for, it brings out the unseen, unknown, and unheard-of (at least to the general public) personal side of one of the most admired and respected citizens of the country. And what I find is less of a surprise and more of an affirmation or a reassurance. 

The friendship of this pair – the youth and the youthful – restores your faith in honest, genuine, selfless friendships where almost nothing stands as a barrier between friends. The aura of their friendship lingers long after you have finished reading the book. You are happy to be caught in its spell, and remain so.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Pranayam - Limited Version

Title: Pranayam – Limited Version
Genre: Flipbook of Pictures, Poems in Malayalam with Translation in English
Poet: Jayarsree T.
Translator: Sujatha Warrier
Photographers: Basanth Peringode, Manikantan Mundakkal, Poornima G.,
                             Riya Anes, Sudevan, Zakariya, and Jayasree T.
Publisher: Writers International Edition
Bookstore: Google Books

Excerpt from the Foreword by Shreekumar Varma

Translators usually tread a tightrope. There is a tendency to either stay safe, or push ahead, and often venture away from the original markers. Here, in this encompassing volume, Malayalam words, even when they seem uniquely untranslatable, are rendered into English with an independence, even whimsicality, that startles at times (as in the case of “Thiruvathira”), but always remaining loyal and pristine, always embracing the sensibility of the original. This allows poet and translator to stand up as twin towers, as one voice, and unique at the same time.

Excerpt from the Foreword by Kavitha Balakrishnan

ഇവിടെ ഒരു മനസ്സ്. അത് ഏറ്റവും പരിമിതമായ കരുക്കൾ ഉപയോഗിച്ച് സ്വയം ആവിഷ്‌ക്കരിക്കാൻ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നു. സ്വയം, ഒരു 'ജയശ്രീ' എന്ന മനുഷ്യൻ / കവി അല്ല. അത് പരസ്പരം പടർന്ന് ഇണങ്ങി വ്യാപിച്ചും കലർന്നും കാണാൻ പറ്റാത്തത്രയും സൂക്ഷ്മമായ ഒന്നാകാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുമ്പോലെ തോന്നും ഈ കവിതകളും കാഴ്ചകളും കാണുമ്പോൾ. ഇവിടെ ഒരു പ്രണയം. അത് നശ്വരമാണെങ്കിലും വൈവിധ്യമാർന്നതാണ്. സർവ്വവ്യാപിയും ഭൗമവുമായ ഒരു ജീവജാലപ്രപഞ്ചത്തിൽ അത് സജീവമാണ്.

About the Book

Pranayam, or Love, is such an emotion that cannot be limited. Pranayam – Limited Version gathers Jayasree T.’s reflections on unlimited love expressed through very limited number of words and lines of poetry. The poems are inspired by photographs captured by the poet herself as well as by other nature lovers, some of whom are photographers by profession and some for diversion. Jayasree’s poems in Malayalam have been translated into English by Sujatha Warrier. What began as a light-hearted exercise of creative camaraderie grew into a collection of pictures, poems and their translation.

Readers’ Reviews:

Love as ‘Limited Version’ speaks a lot ironically. The capacious nature and manifestations of love, and its kinship with nature and human nature lends a dimension which is immeasurable, thus rigidly limiting the interpretation of love. The many shades and infinite permutations and combinations of love, the essence of the abstract, remind me of the “melakartha ragas” and their infinite “janyas”…the chromatical brilliance of colours, the chiaroscuro of myriad shades.

Yes, the very idea of translation is a daring “tread on a tightrope” as graphically stated by Shreekumar Varma.

Jayasree has stretched it and Sujatha has covered the stretch.

PRANAYAM – an e-book with a difference…intellectually challenging, visually pleasing.

-      Professor Rangarajan G.

ആദ്യമായാണ് ഇത്തരത്തിൽ ഒരു ഇ ബുക്ക് പണം മുടക്കി വാങ്ങി ‌ വായിക്കുന്നത്. ഒട്ടും മുഷിഞ്ഞില്ലെന്നു മാത്രമല്ല ഏറെ സൗകര്യപ്രദവും... ജയടീച്ചറുടെ 'സാരമില്ല' വാങ്ങി വായിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. അതിനും മുൻപേ ടീച്ചറുടെ ചിത്ര കവിതകളെ പിന്തുടരുന്നും ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഇതിലെ കവിതകളും അതിന്റെ വിവർത്തനവും ഒരേ പോലെ ഭംഗിയായി തോന്നി. ഇതിലെ ഒരു കവിതയുടെ വിവർത്തനം ഓഡിയോ ആയി കേട്ടിരുന്നു. ഇതിനോടൊപ്പം തന്നെ മുഴുവൻ കവിതകൾക്കും ആ ഒരു ഓഡിയോ ഭാഗം കൂടി ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നെങ്കിൽ എന്ന് മോഹിച്ചു പോയി ️ അഭിനന്ദനങ്ങൾ സുജാത വാര്യർ 🥰 ജയടീച്ചർ 🥰

-      Sudheer Peringode 

Saturday 10 February 2024

Book Launch at Kochi: Pranayam - Limited Version

Following the initial release of Pranayam (Love) – Limited Version at Mysuru on January 6, the e-book was launched at River Bourne Center, Kochi, by Author and Columnist Rammohan Paliyath on February 4, 2024. The audience  a coterie of bookish people – was looking forward to the "Webinivesam" author’s informal and delightful oratory, and it was as effortlessly engaging as expected. 

Playwright, Author, Poet, and Columnist Shreekumar Varma shared his thoughts on the three-dimensional creative collaboration of poetry and photography, and the individual and collective experiences of the pictures and poems. Poet, Artist, Curator and Researcher Kavitha Balakrishnan, who was expected to but could not make it to the event, made her virtual presence felt. 

An introduction of the photographers and their pictures along with poetry rendition by the poets was well received by the audience. Not to mention the musical rendition of a select few Malayalam poems by Lyricist, Composer and Short Film Director Krishnakumar Varma.

Rangarajan G.
Pranayam – Limited Version (Love – Limited Version) is a flipbook of pictures and poems in Malayalam and English. Jayasree T.’s Malayalam poems are inspired by photographs captured by Basanth Peringode, Manikantan Mundakkal, Poornima G., Riya Anes, Sudevan and Zakariya, and translated by Sujatha Warrier. The e-book, designed by Bharati Varrier, has been published by Writers International Edition. The e-book is available on Google Books. For your copy of the e-book, please click here.

Jayadas. T.
The concluding session, which was an interactive one, turned out to be thoroughly entertaining as well with the participation of Poet, Professor and much-more Rangarajan G. and  Jayadas T., a teacher of math who is full of mirth. The evening ended with amazing twilight waterfront photo opportunities well exploited by the guests and participants.


Thursday 11 January 2024

Book Launch at Mysuru: Pranayam - Limited Version


Introduction to the e-book by Sujatha Warrier

Pranayam – Limited Version was launched by Geethanjali Dilip, Poet and Curator, Yercaud Poetry Festival, at the 6th edition of the Festival held at Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden, Mysore, on January 6, 2024, in the presence of the Chief Guest of the event, Prof. B. N. Balajee, Sai Baba University, along with the Guest of Honor, Shubha Sanjay Urs, Chair Person, Mysore Literature Festival, Rotary Dist. (2982)
Geethanjali Dilip
Governor 2023-24, Rtn. S. Raghavan, the leading members of Rotary Club of Salem Galaxy who were the sponsors of the Festival, a physical gathering of poets from different parts of India, and a virtual participation of poets from different parts of the world. The Festival was organized by the Soul Scribers Society, Salem.

Pranayam Limited Version, an e-book, was launched with a click on the link to the book by Poet Geethanjali Dilip on January 6, 2024, the first day of the Festival. A screening of the e-book was done on the second day, January 7, 2024. 

Ashish Godya, Soul Scribers Society

Pranayam - Limted Version (Love – Limited Version), published by Writers International Edition, is a collection of photographs, short poems in Malayalam, and their translation in English.

Jayasree T.’s poems in Malayalam have been translated into English by Sujatha Warrier. The photographs, which have inspired the poems, are by Basanth Peringode, Manikantan Mundakkal, Poornima G., Riya Anes, Sudevan and Zakariya. The book has been designed by Bharati Varrier. 

The e-book is available at