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Amrita Tripathi

Writer/ Journalist/ Time Traveller

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Blog posts : "Books General Life Media/ News Mental Health"

Like a Bridge...

September 16, 2017

It's been one intense and busy summer -- hope you've all managed to keep your cool? (Why for the love of all the gods is it still so hot in Delhi mid-September!) 

My updates, such as they are: 

-- As usual, madum is jumping out of her comfort zone and wondering where she lands. I've taken on a new role over at Twitter India. You'll find a little (not a whole lot!) more on my LinkedIn and Twitter account (@amritat). Feel free to connect and share your thoughts, comments, feedback and what-not

-- The passion project that is The Health Collective continues with some fab contributors, so do check it out!

-- The writing continues on a less grand scale, sadly. I have a draft manuscript I've sort of decided to overhaul entirely, and I am will be re-working (that's the plan at any rate)
While I'm doing that, do feel free to check out my last two novels The Sibius Knot and Broken News, if you like! Buy! Read! Share! (More on that on the books page)

-- I finally wrote about my father. It's been weird and difficult and heart-wrenching to think about him in the past tense, and I will say, memories pop up at the oddest times.
But I reckon you have to keep trying to make your peace with, if not make sense of, it (nothing about life and death *really makes sense). Many more of you know what I'm trying to say in this garbled fashion. The piece that Scroll published encapsulates some of that journey, through ... books, what else?!

Sharing a short excerpt below.

 

FAMILY TIES

Reading with my father, from my childhood till the time the end was near for him

She, a writer, prefers fiction. He, a diplomat, liked nonfiction. Together, they created a museum of reading memories.

It’s been five months since my father passed away. Time softens the blow, they say, but it’s still unimaginable that there are conversations we’re not going to have anymore, say about who’s a total fraud, how things are going to hell in a hand-basket, where the world is headed. Out of these, the most frequent question was: “What are you reading?” Followed often enough by a “Challenge yourself”!

We’re a family of readers and I wonder if this inherent judgement of other people based on whether they read in the first place, and what they read, is an inherited trait.

I’ve always had more of an appetite for fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, and some literary fiction, of course, and I have to make a conscious effort to read non-fiction. My father was the opposite, barely reading fiction as an adult. We argued about that, of course, once I found my voice, and judged each other from our sides of the boxing ring.

When he did read 15-odd pages of my novel The Sibius Knot the year before last it was a major deal. It unmoored him though, so he stopped. (Perhaps this novelist took more inspiration from real-life events than she let on.)

Last year, mid-treatment cycle he said he would read me when I reached 30,000 copies in sales... You’ll have to hang in there and keep fighting for years, I laughed.

Alas.

Over the years

Our journey through books had so many ups and downs, but it’s like a trail, something out of Hansel and Gretel.

The first book I gave my father was back in college, City of Djinns, which he enjoyed. I later got him a Jared Diamond and then much later, I lent him a review copy of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal which I had been sent. He read it, was moved by it, and essentially gave me a “What the hell was that”, sort of reaction which of course made me read the book and then…understand what he meant. It’s an insanely powerful account of the need to come to terms with our mortality, with how we want to die.

We do not want to think about how our loved ones might die. Like my dad, I refused to read The Emperor of Maladies, once I knew his diagnosis. Something about the finality with which we were told “Stage IV cancer”. He said that I could read it and give him the gist of it, but neither of us had the heart for it, once it got so personal.

But it is personal. One line that stayed with me from Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, which I repeated and insisted on repeating to dad, was the poignant moment where he says:

“Even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living.”

Kalanithi’s book was the last book I gave Dad to read. (He later gave it to his oncologist, who was touched, I daresay, but also implored my father to read lighter things.)
 

... (More on Scroll)

 

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Re-upping: My second novel The Sibius Knot

July 20, 2017

Introducing...Reader Reviews for The Sibius Knot

Sathya Saran reviews The Sibius Knot by Amrita Tripathi on Amazon

An excerpt from an Amazon review by the wonderful Sathya Saran
Read The Sibius Knot now!

Read, submit your review and give us a shout -- happy to feature your review next! 

 

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Bring Back Kindness and Decency

July 10, 2017

These days, I find I think more about kindness, ethical ways to behave and other things that many of us usually don't have the time or energy for. Because, as so many people have chronicled, busy busy busy-ness is the (now not so-) new trend. But where do we get off saying we're too busy to be decent, if not kind outright? And why is decency seen as an invitation to walk all over someone? Nice is not equal to doormat, folks! 

And what of the opposite? It's something I've struggled with in different avatars -- if you're going through something, does it give you license to play the asshole card? Sometimes, sure, but... as a default? 

Just like we don't expect people to bring their private lives into the workplace, I suppose we hope that private grief or trauma doesn't seep into everything. But it doesn't work like that. When you're gutted, you lash out sometimes, you implode at others. Little things can send you over the edge.

I've been irrational with anger at incompetence or callousness. I've been impatient and cursory with attention and affection, too busy to call, too busy to care, too exhausted to think sometimes. A recent train trip in a foreign land saw me blinking through tears as much as enjoying the view, but don't quote me on that. I've watched as people I care about lash out at each other, at strangers, while shouldering enormous burdens none of us should have to bear. I've lashed out, horridly, horribly, and barely recognised myself. That ugly anger, where did it come from? Why does destructive energy take over so completely? And feel like such a release...until it drains you altogether?

Sometimes self-awareness is a tough gig, kids. You don't always like what you see in the mirror. But there's *always scope for improvement. 
I'm somewhere on that journey still. I mean, trying to make sense of things, I've also acknowledged (sort of) that I'm taking a time-out. 

I've sighed with relief that a potentially devastating emotional situation has hit a stalemate, though that is a huge departure from who I am, or who I thought I was. Maybe that is who I am. I mean: I wasn't usually the kind of person who thought 'Your problems are your problems, don't leave them here on my turf' (except for one fairly shitty episode or maybe two with one or two dysfunctional relationships, that turned toxic).

But maybe now I'm more honest about saying things like 'I'm honestly coping with a lot right now, I don't think I can deal with... xyz'. 

Now to actually say it aloud. And move on to the next thing. (Hold the self-absorption.)

Meanwhile, please do check out our fabulous work over on The Health Collective. You won't regret it. And no I didn't write this (below)...One of our brave contributors did! 

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Silver Linings Playbook?

June 12, 2017

Sometimes you have to look for the silver lining even when things are tough. And while I totally admit a positivity bias while sharing on social and online (something a lot of us have in common!), I genuinely try, these days, to find something...to choose Hope over Despair; Pockets of laughter even in Grief and so on and so forth.

I tried to put some of these thoughts into a non-lecture-pot piece over on UC News. Do give it a read, if you like! Feedback welcome!
 


What's Inspiring You Today?

We spend so much time focusing on the things that are going wrong -- and there's certainly enough material for most of us to keep us going till kingdome come... but what about the things that go right?

Almost every time you look for it -- even in the midst of adversity -- there's something positive, someone trying to make an efffort to help you, say, or something that you never noticed before that helps you deal with your trouble. (And no I don't mean alcohol or any of the usual crutches!)

Sometimes you meet people who inspire you ... if you're lucky! Sometimes it's a beautiful piece of art or literature...

Read More on UC WEB NEWS

 


PROCESSING, PROCESSING...

Over on my passion project that is The Health Collective, this past week we've featured a wonderful in-depth review with family therapist Reena Nath. Go ahead and read it here

 

This week, we have the gentle but pressing advice from therapist Ratna Golaknath in her series Lost Voices, on taking your own time to grieve and heal... on your own schedule, after losing a pregnancy.  

 

Both experts talk about the importance of being kind to yourself, so that for me is a KEY take-away.

You can read these and much more over on The Health Collective

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Friendly Romans...

May 29, 2017

Hola amigos,

Off for a work trip and hoping to club in some sight-seeing too, if all goes well. #Comingsoon!

Till then, here's a small reminder of what we *all know we suffer from... too much hectic, worry-inducing, busy-business.

 

....And breathe.

Big hugs from the universe (just passing them along!)

See you on the other side

 

 

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Weekend...Filmi Fun, Writing and More

May 21, 2017

Hi all,

Hope you're having a fab weekend, enjoying the rain... and some down-time! I know I definitely have.

I wanted to share a couple of things... first up, a teaser of our interview with Film Critic Shubhra Gupta for Harper Broadcast on her book 50 Films That Changed Bollwood.

Harper Broadcast: Sneak Peek
Find us on YOUTUBE

The Writen Word:

  • Also up this week, a new avatar over on UC Web News @amritat (find me!).
    So far, I have a couple of short blogs up, including on the Need to Center... and how we all gotta be ready to SKILL UP!
     
  • Recently kicked in another draft of the old ball and chain (manuscript) -- fingers crossed on that one!
     
  • And our passion project over on The Health Collective continues, moving to third gear soon

New Skills:

  • Speaking of new skills, and as per the blog I'm hammering on about (above!) -- am working as a creative consultant (!) at a creative agency (!!) on a major project, that is (wait for it...) Make in India/ Digital Media. (Okay MII itself is not a project, it's an initiative, etc...)

Wishing you luck and a fab week ahead, folks!

Amrita

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Interview with Sabyn Javeri, Author of 'Nobody Killed Her'

May 5, 2017

Here's a look at an excerpt of an interview with writer Sabyn Javeri... for Harper Broadcast.

 

 

More of our interviews are up here.

Do let me know what you think! 

Look for HarperBroadcast on Youtube/harperbroadcast. You'll find me on FB or Twitter and of course we have good old email.

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Melloncollie and the Infinite Sadness..

March 13, 2017

I've taken a little time off to grieve. And will take some more -- as much as I need, I guess -- especially when it comes to 'public-facing' stuff IRL... Though virtually and in day-to-day life, I've been slowly re-surfacing. It's been tough to just say it... I lost a parent. It's been tough to exit the denial stage, the anger, the 'bargaining' (if we had X would he have Y or Z?)... It's going to be tougher in phases, going forward too, I'm sure. (Could we have done X or Y or Z? Should I have etc etc)

While the one universal truth is that we all must die, and many of you have shared very touching and moving moments/ memories/ remembrances of losing a parent or loved one, it's clearly also one of those intensely private moments of course, so I'm wary of what I write and a little watchful (or more so than usual). 

I may look at doing a piece on grief and mourning.

I may not.

I may write a piece on last rites and pandits who get pissed off that girls aren't boys. Or maybe I won't. Right now, I'm not setting any rules for myself. Except to show up...

  • Step 1 to not being an asshole, imo has been to Show Up. (When People Need You.)
  • Step 2: Don't Lose Your Humanity.
  • I guess I know I have the You're Free to be an Asshole card up my sleeve for a limited period of time but am not sure I'll play it. But you never know. Watch this space!
  • The one I'm struggling with is of course to be kind/ gentle/ let things be. And the banality of all that happens. How things just continue just the same for other people. This is life, after all. And we all know the clock it's a-ticking but we just act like we got all the time in the world.
     
  • Meanwhile: the passion project continues over on The Health Collective. Here's one of our latest posts.

Why have I decided to write in bullet points? Beats me!
But bless all of you for sharing your stories and for reading the first person accounts and expert views on there.

And be well.

--AT

 

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Aloha! Catching Up...in 2017

January 13, 2017

Hi all,

I hope you're having a good January so far -- the year's already lost its sheen, no? Though not quite as musty-rusty-fusty as the rest of 'em...yet! It's been a rough six months that rounded out 2016, and I know I wasn't the only one feeling that way -- take that, non-believers in planetary alignment!

Though I think it's also important to remember that:

1) Things can always be worse (...so take a moment to figure out something you're grateful for and hold on to it!)
2) Things can always get better

3) Don't forget to... breathe! 

At least that is what I imagine Guru-ji would say (if I knew a real Guru-ji one could trust, instead of a hold-all title for all pop wisdom!) 

Again, below, a reminder to myself more than anything else, but if it helps you too, why not? (Btw these are totally my old beads from Bhutan in this photo. They broke right after I bumped into a supposed palm-reader, so you can bet your nine lives I'm not looking fwd to a reunion any time soon!)
 

Meanwhile, in keeping with my plan to be more organised about life in general, here's some stuff that I've been up to, and some that's coming up:

  • I had an interesting time at a panel back in December, as the film Bachelor Girls was screened in Delhi. Have you seen it? Were you at the discussion? Do share your comments -- and with the director, of course! @shikhamakan
     
  • An oldie but goldie post I should have re-upped! #SocialMedia 101 on SheThePeople.TV 
    • In fact, you'll find some of my columns and interviews as Editor at-large, SheThePeople.TV on here
       
  • The passion project continues over on The Health Collective -- where we aim to create a safe space for conversations on mental health, end the stigma, and provide first-person accounts from survivors and expert voices in the field
     
  • Interviews with writers are over on Harper Broadcast, the Youtube channel and initiative from & for HarperCollins India... We're also in our early stages of creating a community, so join us! And give me feedback - brickbats and bouquets welcome @harperbroadcast
     
  • The Girl Rising project to create short films on girls' education is pretty much done. Hopefully those will be screened soon, at a school near you!
     
  • Also winding down the role of story producer for a couple of lead stories on India's Gamechangers -- the episodes air on Channel News Asia starting January 25, 10 pm
     
  • Will see some of you at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year -- am moderating a few panels...come by and say hi! 
    • In conversation with French writer Maylis de Kerangal on her book The Heart, on January 20th
    • Moderating a panel at Jaipur Bookmark on tech and how it's transformed publishing -- featuring Urvashi Butalia, Charlie Redmayne, Ananth Padmanabhan, and Fiona Henderson
    • In conversation with Devdutt Pattnaik on the 21st
    • And moderating a panel on Manelists, Misogyny and Mansplaining -- featuring Bee Rowlatt, Ruchira Gupta, Antara Ganguli, Anuradha Beniwal, and Suhel Seth on the 23rd

Catch up soon! 

 

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Sharing Your Stories: Mental Health

December 27, 2016

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A Quick Catch Up

November 26, 2016

Hola amigos,

How has your November been? I barely kept track of where I was standing, let alone working this past month -- three (count 3!) fly-by trips to Mumbai and I felt almost like a jet-setter, if not a corporate suit... Of course my incessant day-dreaming and thinking about, living, dreaming fiction means I'll never be one, but that's a matter for another day!

My Quick Updates, as I resolve to be more organised:

Speaking engagements: 

Will be over @ The Times Lit Fest Delhi for a session tomorrow (Sunday) at 1545 on the Modern Indian Woman: Devi/ Dayan trap, feat. Kavita Kane, Swati Chaturvedi and Malavika Rajkotia

New Work:

-- Interviews over on SheThePeople

-- A piece on The Swaddle about our Parents and that Bittersweet Moment (aka the Middle Ages!) 

-- Interviews coming soon @HarperBroadcast -- Les Ecrivains Incroyables (because why not pepper English with other languages?!) Amitav Ghosh and Amruta Patil

-- The passion project that is The Health Collective! Live and awaiting some of your stories ... #MentalHealth

-- And finalement, a draft of the new novel!! Praise the universe :)

Achievement Unlocked:

-- I finally made it to an ATM -- it was empty (god bless, Nariman Point and good friends who walked me over) but who knew that an ATM crawl would replace the pub crawl of yore when visiting Maximum City?!  

Be well! 

 

 

 

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Your Stories... On The Health Collective

October 19, 2016

Thank you so much for your readership! The hits counter has been a glimmer of validation, I tell you (as I continue to banish the ego, I can only say, 'tis a work in progress.)

I do hope you will take a short trip with me over to The Health Collective, and check out a profoundly moving poem by Natha Wahlang... as well as more of your first-person accounts on surviving the Darkness. It ain't easy, and that's a fact. Bash on regardless... and know that you're not walking alone! 

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Coming up on World Mental Health Day

October 9, 2016

World Mental Health Day is tomorrow, and I hope to be sharing more of your stories over on The Health Collective Get in touch @healthcollectif if you want to share... Till then -- and in keeping with the festival season -- this is quite the loveliest and most apt quote... Bash on, friends! 

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Hola Amigos

August 22, 2016

I hope your August is going well, and not quite as apocalyptic as it's starting to sound... 

(I'm kidding, I think...Though there's no dearth of bad news, personal and otherwise... We will of course aim to stay optimistic and hope that this isn't quite #EndofDays)

But, but, but: 

I've been busy over on the new project: www.healthcollective.in, looking at mental health awareness, and what we can do to share stories, remove the stigma (collectively), and provide a database of resources. Those of you who are interesting in sharing stories or otherwise, do get in touch -- Email is best! You'll find more info here.

I've been a bit behind on the writing, and on checking in -- but pl feel free to mail with any q's or comments you have! Always happy to get feedback :)

Thanks, those of you who've tweeted photos of The Sibius Knot/ Broken News after reading it...  Lovely to hear from you.

Et voila, while mucking about on a photo collage maker, thought I'd share with you scenes from one rainy day, and a photo of TSK shared by a reader (and friend), as well as a scene from a shoot recce, at a school in Delhi.

Cheers...

 

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Mental Health: A New Project

August 5, 2016

Hi all,

So as I mentioned earlier to some of you (and those reading), setting up a new project -- an initiative that is just slowly taking shape -- to provide a safe space for conversations, as well as trusted information on mental health, from resources to basic info, to where you can get help. We are in beta here and while I am counting on the support of some wonderful mental health experts, I'm also looking to many of you to share of your stories... that might be of help to someone else (whether they are going through something similar or for their loved ones, to know what to expect).

We will practise the utmost discretion, and respect your confidentiality, should you wish to be anonymous! 


(That background photo may look familiar to some!)

Appreciate your support, as always!!

-- AT

 

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A Passion Project...

August 2, 2016

It's been a while since my last entry, mainly because I'm just finding my feet in this new-fangled freelance era that I seem to have thrust myself into.

I'm not sure how so many of you do it so seamlessly -- it's tough! But infinitely worth it (if only for the lack of grumbling on Sunday evening), or for the break mid-week to meet loved ones who are visiting, or for the innumerable things that flexibility and independence can buy.

I won't bore you with the stress levels, multiple melt-downs and steep learning curve when it comes to doing only a small amount of free ka kaam, or -- most crucially? -- chasing payments (invoice, invoice, invoice everyone and keep track of everything lest you also lose out on money owed to you here).

I will share with you a passion project that's been some time in the making -- an endeavour to create a safe and informative space when it comes to mental health. Mosey on down to www.healthcollective.in to check out some of what we have been doing stealthily, with a little help from the shoemaker's elves, and a whole lotta help from mental health experts who are backing what we all hope to be a solid initiative. 

Will keep you posted on how it goes ... and invite stories from those of you who wish to share!

Till then, take it easy! And thanks for stopping by.
 

PS Another rant for another time is definitely going to be books biz-related, mark my words. But for those of you who have been so lovely as to buy The Sibius Knot and/ or Broken News, mille thanks! And hope you enjoyed them! For those who haven't heard of them -- please hasten along to the books page :)

 

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The Sibius Knot...Meet the Characters

June 27, 2016

The Sibius Knot -- an invention of my characters' (I mean, mine) -- is a book that is really rooted in the city of Delhi, starting off in the '90s or so.

A group of friends essentially get lost, as they come of age, they lose the plot, friendships unravel, and lives spiral out of control... till they start realising what's going on. Globe-trotting between Delhi and New York and back again, this ultimately is a story about love found and lost -- familial love, sibling love, love love and the strong love we feel for our friends, even when we don't know what the hell they're up to.

I hope you enjoy meeting the characters below... And hit me up when / if you do get a chance to follow them into their maze!

 

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The Paths Taken...Tried and Trodden

June 20, 2016

I'm really having too much fun with these... but the series (and search!) continues...

Here's to finding our own paths -- whether they're tried and tested or spanking new!

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The Sibius Knot... Awaits

May 31, 2016

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Finding your Zen...

May 26, 2016

Sometimes it's just enough to sit back and feel the flow... Especially hard to learn how, but once you do... Slow...It...Down

Here's looking back at a beautiful moment, a memory pebble for the ages.

 

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