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Amrita Tripathi

Writer/ Founder/ Former Journalist

Books by Amrita Tripathi

Blog posts : "Life"

Like a Bridge...

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.



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.


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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Bring Back Kindness and Decency

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?

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 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



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...

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

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!


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Aloha! Catching 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 ( 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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A Quick Catch Up

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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Finding your Zen...

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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