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Amrita Tripathi

Writer/ Journalist/ Time Traveller

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Blog posts : "General"

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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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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Fun in the Sun (Or Cold, Rather)...

November 2, 2015

Hello again,

It's been months since I've been around -- another burst of inactivity online, which I'm sure to pay for at some point. 

How have you all been? Apart from the lovely folk who do send in comments hoping I can help hook them up with jobs, that is..  (I *really* wish I could!)  Keep your feedback coming in! 

As for me, I expect to tell you more soon about the lovely Mussoorie Writers Mountain Festival and the incredible people I had the privilege to meet and chat with, not least of all some bright high school kids from St George and Woodstock, as well as truly inspirational climbers and writers... The splendour of Landour also left me utterly recharged. More on that soon, but for the moment here's a delightful article by Shikha Tripathi featured in The Hindu. She does a great job describing the cosy vibe and all-round great atmosphere.

I'm also linking below to my session from the LitFestX Google Hangout over the weekend, where I was talking to Kumaar Bagrodia of LeapVault Media, about Writing a Darker Reality. It sounds solemn I know, but this covers some of our conversation on Delhi, the darker side of urban reality, as well as on depression, feeling isolated and alienated, the Darkness, the difficulty of adolescence, why banning sex education is a terrible idea, and more! 

Of course, I do use the opportunity to talk about my latest novel, The Sibius Knot -- most of these topics form the foundation of the book, which I do hope you'll take the time to read. Since this is the Kindle Festival we're talking about, here's the Kindle edition of The Knot

At the very least, watch, and send me your comments right here... Have a good one!

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Hola amigos!

July 13, 2015

I really am the *worst* blogger! It's not a question of intent, though I must admit my "journalling" of yore has also fallen through the cracks. It's a question of follow-through. And distractions. And how many platforms one should be on at any given time. How much of our lives do we need to make public?

And what of the written word left unread?

Does a word that's been written which hasn't been read have any resonance? With whom? Just the writer? Or the wider universe? I'm inclined to believe in the latter, because of the power words have. And yet, with the internet... isn't that a dilution? Or are we just over-thinking it? 

Ahem. Rambles aside, I trust you are enjoying the monsoon and staying dry and such-like? Reading anything interesting? I'm waiting, agog, I tell you, simply agog, for 'Go Set a Watchman'. Naturally, I'm not sure I'll survive it.

I won't bore you with more on that -- in the past few days alone, reams have now been written about how readers feel about Harper Lee messing with our idea of the ideal, ie Atticus Finch... I'm rather upset with the NYT review's major spoiler. JUST when I was coming to terms with the spoiler in the Guardian excerpt. (And wasn't that beautifully done, with simply the most delightful illustrations?)

Anyway, I'm just waiting patiently, with that wonderful sense of anticipation!  

I am also online with a hint of a small teaser for a new show, in the digital space. I plan to share more soon -- without being wholly obnoxious and self-serving! I do hope it's fun, interactive and that some of you (invisible?) people join in. Will share more on the guest list at the earliest! 

Ciao for the moment... Be well! *And remember life is short, so make time for what you enjoy / who you enjoy being with!  

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In Stylish Company...

June 2, 2015

Elle India for some reason included me on a list of stylish women, talking about an item of clothing that means something to them. The issue is on stands now, and I promise everyone else on said list is super-glam!

I'm uploading a photo from the shoot below, (with a photo credit and courtesy: Nishanth Radhakrishnan for Elle India) but here's the unedited text I sent them... (Of course, they had to chop this due to space constraints, but did keep the reference to my book, phew!) 

I almost got deeper into the whole body image issue, but I will leave that for another time, perhaps something more in-depth?

As always, let me know what you think! 

 

For Elle India (Unedited Version): 

It took me forever to learn that the world does – as my mother first told me – create its initial impressions of you, based on how you dress. As a young anchor in my early 20s, I wanted to be seen as serious, not frivolous, stern, not giggly, and definitely non-flouncy or bouncy-haired or whatever it was the hair and make-up team preferred.

I wanted my own identity intact, so no removing the nose ring, or my Buddhist beads, or my hoops, at least not for years! Only proper, “serious” outfits would do. It took about six years for me venture into a dress here or there, for “entertainment” interviews, and that was thanks in no small part to the channel stylist, my friend Priyanka Singh, who along with my sister gave me the confidence to dress up once in a while, instead of always dressing down.

Fast forward to last year, when I found myself checking out and buying this dress online from the UK – it’s something called Paper Dolls, which I haven’t actually heard of, but I liked the look of it, and just hoped the size was right. As I launched my second novel The Sibius Knot earlier this year, I wore this very same non-fussy dress, very little make-up and didn’t bother to get my “hair done”. 

That's A for Author, not Anchor, after all! It’s a gesture my younger self would undoubtedly approve of.

 (As a writer, I think you’re only really dressing up at book launches or literary festivals, and then too you’re trying not to distract from your work.)  As far as me and dresses go – at the grand old age of 34 – while I may not have repeated this dress (yet), I have added to my collection and look forward to experimenting a little more, every once in a while.

 

PHOTO COURTESY: Nishanth Radhakrishnan For Elle India

(PS: Now that I've discovered shoes, I also want to say I love these Anne Kleins I bought earlier this year! Sigh, materialism!)

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The Royal Photo

June 2, 2015

Meeting HRH Princess Sirindhorn at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, as part of the 'Words on Water' Festival

 

 

(During the 20 minute session prior, there was some talking about The Sibius Knot, some care taken not to swear, some royal protocol and some scuttling about, 'tis true)

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Of Reading, Reflecting and Travelling

May 31, 2015

I just got around to reading Akhil Sharma's Family Life -- what a phenomenal book. Gut-wrenching and yet so unassuming to start with. 

I think that's what the distinction between 'good' writing and whatever else there is out there -- trashy writing, flashy writing, pulp fiction, and everything in between -- really comes in. Good writing leaves an indelible imprint on your soul. It enriches you, somehow. Mind you, I have Murakami and Gaiman on this list too, so feel free to argue about literary fiction at any point in time. Good writing changes your soul or expands your mind, it makes you nobler sometimes, I find.

There's something about losing yourself, immersing yourself in an experience triggered by someone's talent and your own imagination. 

On the flip side, there's something about everyday life that forces you to lose yourself, every so often. Not sure how I feel about that. It's certainly not been an uneventful week or two...there's more travel coming up (potentially) and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Bangkok, on a literary junket. While it was an incredible experience and quite surreal in bits, it was also a reminder of how you can get lost, or at the very least majorly distracted from what you want to be doing. Maybe if I spent as much time writing as I do now thinking about writing or talking about writing (the worst of the lot!), I'd be more fulfilled. 

Instead, here I am, staring at you. 

Long story short: I basically got on here to update a couple of the audio excerpts from my Mumbai launch, et voila! With huge thanks to Suresh Venkat and Denzil Smith, who agreed to read for us. 

(PS Drop me a line if you're also rambling, or wandering down similar lanes and bylanes.)

 

 

 

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Hoping for Readers...(Not a Zero Sum Game)

May 3, 2015

So, I hope you're having a lovely weekend, wherever you are. If you're lucky (like me) it's a long weekend :) 

And that reminds me, I've been meaning every so often to stop, smell them roses. It's a wonderful thing to be happy, innit? Even better to know it when you feel it!

And at some level, I think I was letting that whole book release thing play on my mind (Are sales happening? Will people find the book and read it? Are enough sales happening? Is there enough publicity? Have I created enough buzz? What am I not doing right?)

It goes on and on...an endless circle, an endless cycle. I almost forgot - hey, I wrote the book, it's time for me to withdraw from *that* part of the deal, especially because there is so very much I can't control. Yes, it really is on the author these days to publicise, create a buzz/ some sort of demand -- and those of you in my twitterverse will no doubt know, I've done what I can! Beyond that, I need to let go, because this is very crazy-making! 

Though there is one school of thought, that can be summarised as "If not you, then who?" Who else is going to care enough to ramp up attention? (Apart from the initial push by publishers and a launch event?) There is the school of thought that you can not do enough to push your book. But it's perhaps - as I need to remind myself - not "that" kind of book. I'm not the kind of author who is going to full-out market my book/ have a PPT on target audiences and so on (more power to those who can, and who can afford to take out ads etc)... I'm just going to have to hope it finds its readers. The Sibius Knot was an important book for me to write, and now it's written. The rest really is on you guys ... ie the universe!

Having said that, here's one review, with thanks to Mail Today. (I will one day be organised enough to have links to reviews, I'm sure of it! No call to be a lazybones about this!)

Let me know what you think! 

 

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The Sibius Knot ... hits Bombay

March 23, 2015

Soon.

Nerves? Check. Fingers? Crossed. Looking forward to seeing some of you at the event on Friday.

'Upstairs Studio' and HarperCollins are hosting -- so if you're looking for an invite, hit us up.

Before that, though, here's one of my favourite photos of all time. Incredible people, incredible vibe:

 

 

 

 

 

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A teaser-excerpt of The Sibius Knot

March 3, 2015

 

With thanks to Shoili Kanungo for this image. Book cover by Arati Devasher

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Where/ How to buy The Sibius Knot

February 24, 2015

The Sibius Knot, Amrita Tripathi's second novel resides at a store near you! 

And online:
 

For Your Kindle : http://bit.ly/1v0dxoz 
Amazon: http://bit.ly/1EmUutM
Flipkart: http://bit.ly/1JoOSG9

URead: http://bit.ly/1DQVKaf

 

 

 

 

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The Sibius Knot

February 17, 2015

As promised, I'm going to post some of your twitter reviews/ FB reviews/ comments on the book, on here!

 

But first, hark! To the East! Nizamuddin East!  (An aside to my siblings, that was!)

But dekho, with huge thanks to the lovely folks at Full Circle and Cafe Turtle:

 

 
 
 
 
Also posting: An Audio Excerpt of The Sibius Knot...One passage for now on the "barbaric vibe" in Delhi, as one character puts it. 

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Launching a book...

February 15, 2015
 

 

 

 

 

I was absolutely delighted to be able to launch my second novel The Sibius Knot on Friday the 13th, in Delhi. Lady Kishwar Desai was a wonderful interlocutor, and the presence of family and friends made it an overall warm, cosy, fuzzy experience. And looks like we sold us some books, too!

The discussion was about cults, the Devil/ Darkness, how fragile relationships are and much more!

Here's hoping The Sibius Knot finds its readers! 

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Grief, loss and mourning... An Ode to Diptosh

February 9, 2015
Just sit with your grief...Let it swirl, let it swell
How do you frame a legacy? Only time will tell...
 
Little pockets/ groups of bright-eyed journalists
No money, shared suttas, stars in their eyes
Chat, faff...Help them sort the truth from the lies
Gather them round with tales from the beat
Punctuated with love, laughter, the noise of the street.
 
Father figure, mentor, senior, or Boss
It's going to take forever to deal with this loss.
The writing, the passion, the politics and the news
We're shaken up, in shock, but you were never ours to lose.
 
We sit with our grief...Let it swirl, let it swell
How do you frame a legacy? Only time will tell...
 
Wherever you are, Diptoshda 
That's where it's at - the ultimate adda.

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Kindle edition!

February 5, 2015

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Plugging in...Classics

February 3, 2015

Nothing like the olden goldies, at times...

Am thoroughly enjoying reading Tales of The Jazz Age by our old friend F Scott Fitzgerald. 

One of my best friends Shoili introduced me to him years ago -- her favourite book back in college was The Great Gatsby -- and I've never thanked her enough.

I wish I'd read The Jelly-Bean in college, to be honest, I was a bit of a jelly-bean, if you ask me...Would've been helpful to know what was what back then when being vague and faffing were all such novelties! 

A friend had asked a few months ago (or was it years?) about how I could possibly read "good fiction" and "bad" -- how do you enjoy high art and trash, I think she was asking. (She's not one to mince her words.) I don't quite know, and am curious to know what you think... but I love both. They're balm for different parts of the soul, I should think. Though maybe that isn't entirely true. Good literature -- much like good art and good cinema, I suppose -- elevates you...It touches your soul. A racy thriller may have you turning pages like an adrenaline junkie, but can't claim the same.

Anyway, enough yammering from me for the mo' -- let me know what you're reading! Hope to have more books-related stuff on here, more regularly! 

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What is the Sibius Knot?

January 27, 2015

You'll have to read the book to find out (Find it on Flipkart, Amazon, or a bookstore near you!)...But here's a synopsis! 

 

 

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The Sibius Knot at JLF

January 26, 2015

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Readers' Reactions

January 26, 2015

Some of you have been tweeting your reactions - a couple of the first tweets to come in for The Sibius Knot:

 

 

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We Did It!

January 26, 2015

Thoroughly enjoyed the Jaipur Literature Festival, and all the sessions I got to moderate! Perhaps understandably, I was most nervous before my first session -- this was where I was talking about my own book, after all. This is where The Sibius Knot made its debut! And we had a bit of a book signing afterwards. 

I thought it might be interesting to put up the email q&a with Anindita Ghose, Features Editor at Vogue India, ahead of our session at the Jaipur Lit Fest. (Was tempted to remove the smileys, but have left them in... judge away!)

 

1. Was Broken News almost entirely autobiographical? 

 

Broken News (and indeed TSK) is fiction - it's not drawn from life but is real to life, I feel - it talks about the frenetic pace of 24/7 news, it talks about relationships fraying under that kind of pressure, and also the wave of young people coming in essentially wanting to become stars. (This still holds true!) But the story also worked in sexual harassment, people looking the other way, how easy it is to lose track of reality and perspective.

 

(In some broad sense, as I'm writing this to you,I realise that is a common theme with TSK - losing perspective/ losing oneself is remarkably easy, even in this hyper-connected world)

 

 2. What drove you to address fucked up 90s kids and mental health in your second book? Was there a moment of sorts? Any literary inspirations for The Sibius Knot?

 

I don't think anyone's really written our generation's reality yet - but it's quite possible, I've not been reading those who are doing so. Deepti's book I have been meaning to read - I was in her batch at school for a year, actually! So we have friends in common and do know each other :)

I think that adolescence and young adulthood can be devastating - it's remarkably easy to not just lose yourself, but say, OD and die. It's remarkably easy to not realise there is help available... And depression is a nasty beast -- under-discussed even in urban India. I have done several stories on mental health, and that forms the basis of some of the research - the fact that 1 in 4 people at some point will suffer some sort of depression to me was a mind-blowing revelation. India still has a long way to go, but I think the younger lot - the millennials - are much more clued in to a lot of stuff. They're also more plugged in and driven and practical, so I suppose that also fascinated.

No direct literary inspirations as such - but I love Murakami, Neil Gaiman, and just discovered David Mitchell (after writing TSK... and I think LB's character would fit in with one of those in Bone Clocks, at some very fundamental level!)

 

 3.    Are a lot of your characters composite characters?

 

I'm not entirely sure - some of them I got to know while writing this book, and they sort of decided who they were going to be - I found their voice by tapping into something, that's for sure! But some of them have a specific take-off point - or some of the conversations will be triggered by a line that strikes me from somewhere... If that helps answer the q!

 

 4.    Did you have an agent ( I ask because Deepti's agent David Godwin has been talking about a "bold, radical Indian female voice" emerging)

 

Yes, for this book, my agent is Shruti Debi of Aitken Alexander (UK-based)

 

 5.    Were you worried about offending people (family, friends) while writing the book? Were there any repercussions from the time you wrote Broken News? As a writer at what point do you stop caring about what family/friends will think? 

 

I wasn't worried about offending anyone, but I wanted to sensitise some of my family and closest friends - this book is very very different from Broken News, and I wanted to make sure they're aware it's got a darker theme and is quite strange! It's not what people who know me/ even are acquainted with me are expecting, that's for sure. 

I'm so glad you read it, I have to say! My first reader :) I'm going to tweet that, actually!

 

With Broken News: people were expecting a tell-all, so some colleagues were maybe disappointed not to be reading who's sleeping with whom, etc! :) 

But there have been interesting reactions, which thanks to Twitter, one gets exposure to- and one of them was recently when the Tejpal case came out, someone wrote to say it was eerily reminiscent of my book. What can I say.

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