The Whimsy of the Characters…

takes the writer on a ride. 

It’s easy to say, “plan your day and schedule your work,” and I’m sure every writer tries to do it, but the characters in the stories that the writer writers – they have a life of their own. They want to do their own thing. And this is why the plan, the schedule, and the characters, all get tangled up to cause a gridlock.

You see, each character in the story has a personality, and characters with strong personalities want a bigger slice of the pie, a stronger role to play. You may want to say that it’s the writer who, in the first place, created these characters, but quite like the parents who despite giving birth to and nurturing their children have little say in how their children must lead their lives, the characters too, want to lead their own lives – they want to make decisions, go on adventures, fall in love with the wrong person, Continue reading “The Whimsy of the Characters…”

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Becoming a GoodReads Author

About thirty minutes ago, I joined the GoodReads Author Program. My Author Profile is available at: https://www.goodreads.com/SRAnand, and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my GoodReads account 😦

So far, I’ve been following their instructions to the letter.

They got me started by making me rate some books. I did that. They kept pushing me toward the beautifully rounded and rather luscious figure of twenty by telling me that they’d be providing personal recommendations if I rated twenty books. I did that. Then they asked me to claim my books. I did that too.

Why did I do all this?

I happened to chance upon this short and sweet review of Mysterious Kemet Book I, and I suddenly felt all warm and fuzzy toward GoodReads. Thank you, dear reviewer. You made me smile.

review-of-mysterious-kemet-book1.png

So I climbed the bandwagon – with absolutely no inkling of the direction in which it might take me.

If you’ve been there and done that, I’d be happy for some guidance 🙂

My books, including “Mysterious Kemet: Book – I”, can be downloaded from Amazon.

 

Hatshepsut – in Life and in Death

Hatshepsut is one of the first symbols of feminism that we see buried deep in the sands of time. Three thousand and five hundred years ago, she ruled Egypt more successfully than many other Pharaohs, and yet her monuments were defaced, and attempts were made to obliterate her from history.

Who was this woman Pharaoh who defied tradition and strapped a false beard to her chin? 

Imagine a young girl, about fourteen or fifteen, married to an aging Pharaoh, who finds herself widowed at the age of thirty and finds herself at the helm of the affairs of state – co-ruling Egypt with her two-year-old stepson. The infant pharaoh, still in his swaddling clothes would contribute little more than ear-splitting shrieks to the administration of Egypt. We see here, a capable woman, possibly ruling in the stead of a child, who is not her son.

She obviously was in a position to control the destiny of Egypt and also steer the career of the young Pharaoh, who, upon attaining majority, was promptly sent off to the Egypt-Syrian border to defend it.

Djeser Djeseru, the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut tells us a lot about this woman Pharaoh, and also introduces us to a possible paramour. Senenmut. Continue reading “Hatshepsut – in Life and in Death”

The Morality of Sibling Marriages in Ancient Egypt

Immoral is…”conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles.”

– Merriam-webster.

As the “generally/traditionally held moral principles” are dependent upon time and place, we might say that what may actually be considered immoral in one place at a given time, may have been or could be moral in another place or at a different time.

Automatically then, we begin to understand and appreciate a lot of ancient mores that flummox us. For instance, the Ancient Egyptian practice of marriages within the family. We call these marriages incestuous today, but two thousand years ago, in Ancient Egypt, this word didn’t exist. They used the terms brother and husband, and sister and wife, interchangeably.

While laws, moral standards, and traditions are temporary and change with time and place, human nature has by and far remained unchanged, which is why it helps us understand the practices of other cultures. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that humans are motivated by need, desire, even greed.

Morality is Temporal.

Imagine the Ancient Egyptian Royalty trying to keep the crown in the family. Imagine a pharaoh reflecting upon keeping it all. Continue reading “The Morality of Sibling Marriages in Ancient Egypt”

Anxiety, Your Creative Loved Ones, and You.

Life

Life is a strange teacher. Untiring, relentless, and often merciless, it continues to heap tests upon tests on you. For the creative ones, these tests come with a continuous mulling over of every possible scenario that could result from every possible decision. This incessant churning of thoughts gives them heartburns, turns them into hysterical zombies, and gives them sleepless nights.

The Zombies

These creative professionals must use their energy to create or they’d soon find themselves out of work.

When anxiety takes over and hogs their energy, creativity slinks into a corner.

Unabated anxiety makes them neurotic and they struggle to keep their focus. Their creativity gets bundled up and thrown in a corner because Continue reading “Anxiety, Your Creative Loved Ones, and You.”

Feminism in History: Enheduanna – The First Woman Poet.

Four thousand years ago, when the Akkadians (one of the ancient Mesopotamian races) invaded Sumeria (the southern part of Mesopotamia, also known the Fertile Crescent or  the cradle of civilization,) they realized that if they didn’t meld their religion with the existing Sumerian religion, they would never win the hearts of the local populace. The Akkad king Sargon the Great placed the burden of this difficult task upon the shoulders of his daughter Enhedduana, by making her the high priestess of Nanna, the Moon god, and bestowing upon her the coveted title of En or the priest.

My imagination shows me a young Enhedduana entrusted with the responsibility of combining the Sumerian gods with the Akkadian gods in a subliminal way. I see her researching, holding conferences, determining the key religious symbols of the new (Sumerian religion) and synthesizing them with the Akkadian ones. I see her as an organizer, manager, visualizer, writer, and poet.

And I see many cynical faces around her. These faces belong to people who wanted her to fail, and who, away from the prying eyes, come together to plan her fall. For over the last four thousand years, things haven’t changed all that much.

Recently, in a program that I conducted for some senior managers of an organization, a woman participant told me that a woman has to work three times more than a man to prove that she is equal to a man. I couldn’t disagree with her.

I see Enhedduana as a similar woman manager, who despite her privileged position as the eldest princess of the conquering people, would have to work doubly hard than a man, to prove that her father’s confidence in her capability wasn’t misplaced.

I see her reflecting upon her strengths and realizing that the matters of belief can only be worked through the hearts of the people, and only by evoking their feelings would she be able to bring about a lasting change in their religious beliefs. Her father Sargon knew that for the task of bringing the Sumerians onboard, his daughter was the right person for she had the empathy of an artist and the gumption of a princess.

In addition to discharging her other duties as the priestess, Enhedduana can historically claim to be the first poetess ever. She wrote forty-two poems, and three hymns to be sung in the praise of goddess Inanna, the powerful Sumerian goddess of love, sensuality, fertility, and war.

Image shows Goddess Inanna. Image Source: By Ramblings of the Claury [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Unparalleled. (Story)

The girl picked up the soiled and torn piece of newspaper that had streaks of gray, black, and brown – some of its text hidden under the streaks and some wiped away by the hoary finger of time, it still had quite a bit of it left. She handled it gingerly for the paper had turned brittle with age and when she had picked it up it had started to flake. A piece of newspaper, this big, with so much of the text still legible, could buy her family two full dinners, and the thought of mishandling it horrified her.

Inside, however, she struggled with another dilemma. She coveted the newspaper piece, she wanted to keep it in that little hole where she kept those other things she found – things that could each buy the family a meal or two or even five. Three mouths all waiting to be fed, all waiting for her to bring home something that could be bartered – three, and hers was fourth. She never questioned why she must be the one to worry about feeding them. This was how it had been for the last three years. It had begun when she had started accompanying Pa and Ma on their scavenges, and then, somehow, for no apparent reason, Pa and Ma stopped accompanying her on these trips.

They told her that her ability to detect things of value was unparalleled…that she was gifted, and all they did was slow her down, and so they had started staying home – first a little less, then more and more. In the beginning she liked it. She enjoyed being called unique – she loved all that adulation and praise that they heaped upon her when she returned to the fourth floor crumbling room of the dilapidated building they called home. But then after the first year, there was the baby. Ma had started to chide her gently for not doing enough for her baby brother, and Pa would only talk to her for a few minutes as he opened her tattered bag and evaluated the goodies. When the haul was good, he grunted; when it wasn’t so good, he criticized. Continue reading “Unparalleled. (Story)”

7 Short Stories – An Eclectic Collection of Tales that Twist and Turn.

This post is a collection of my short stories that have appeared on this blog. If you are a reader who likes variations, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy these 🙂

Cracked Mirrors and The Grim Reaper 

When a mirror cracks, somewhere the Grim Reaper reaps a soul.

Window - the story - Cracked Mirrors and the Grim Reaper.
~0~

The Siren & the Banshee

When a siren and a banshee both call – whose call do you answer? Continue reading “7 Short Stories – An Eclectic Collection of Tales that Twist and Turn.”

The Thaw (Story)

Marianne awoke groaning. This is how she’s been waking up this whole month – her body a tense bundle of aching muscles. He didn’t beat her, he didn’t scold her…and there were times when she hoped he would – a blow that would leave a cut on her brow or lip, or an angry avalanche of curses would be infinitely more welcome than his cold indifference.
He had stonewalled her.
Nothing reached him anymore.
When he looked in her direction, it was as if he was looking through her, like she was made of glass.
No. glass was classy.
Plastic would be a more appropriate metaphor to describe her.
Plastic, brittle with age;
plastic with stains and scratches;
plastic that would keep rotting endlessly.
He looked at her like she were made of plastic. When she tried to talk to him, he heard nothing. He wouldn’t even bother to up the volume of his headphones. When she poured her heartache on paper and left it on his table, he tore it away, and then told her that he didn’t give a damn.
Marianne was stonewalled.
And yet, she couldn’t give him up. Helplessness swirled around her, pulling her down by her ankles into the dark abyss that promised a vast emptiness. Marianne would be glad to lose herself into that deep well if only the nothingness wasn’t temporary. She had been there, and she knew well that this tempting nothingness would soon leave her in the company of despair laced with self-pity – and that it would make her cry and squirm. Her aching shoulders and stiff neck would twist and turn to the terrible music of her anguish and leave her more broken than ever. She knew that Inside that deep abyss of helplessness, she would be tossed about by self-pity, self-righteousness, self-doubt, self-castigation…
Once or twice…just once or twice, she had even considered suicide. Continue reading “The Thaw (Story)”

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