The House Of Oracles | Chandini Santosh


Very few books are cathartic, even fewer leave you listless yet fulfilled in a strange way. Chandini Santosh’s The House of Oracles opened some blocks in me. Tears came effortlessly as I finished the book today. They came because a catharsis was much needed. The sky poured endlessly outside my window. I do not know how to review a book so just jotting down what flowed from my heart. This is the second book revolving around an ancestral house that has touched me so deeply. Both the books are by women writers and extremely compelling reads.

Some incidents from past can haunt you for the lifetime, emerging when least expected. Chandini has so beautifully woven that in the theme of the story. Throughout the novel the thought pulsates underneath the current happenings seeking release and atonement in some form or the other.

The heart wrenching narrative tugs at you to keep reading but I had to pause because the characters drew me in at different levels not letting go. The story is set in North Malabar region  and I urge you to do some reading about the ‘Oracles of Malabar’, an incredibly vibrant tradition that is slowly vanishing now, before proceeding to read. The House of Oracles is not just a voyage down the memory lane exploring the rich history, rituals, customs, it is also a journey within. A search for inner happiness, an effort to engage with oneself at levels one wants to push aside. Every one of us has to go through the myriads of  emotions, struggle and pave our path through the pressures and demands society as well as life inflicts on us and that is why perhaps the line between fiction and reality blurs as one reads through the pages.

Although the strong female characterization is the strength of the novel it is the portrayal of the male characters that grew on me. The vulnerability of human emotions is so deftly crafted that it is impossible to disconnect. Each character, even the short lived Vishnu, gets permanently etched in the mind.

The women on the other hand have this inner strength that surfaces quietly at times and at others more vociferously. Even in the midst of chaos that surrounds their lives there is resilience and dignity.

Chandini is a poet and painter par excellence and from the opening lines the four hundred year old house of oracles, the outhouse, the graves, the trees and the forty steps leading down begin to emerge before the reader like a painting. A painting alive with the aroma of the Parijata flowers floating down like tiny, wispy dreams or the moon dragging over the tulsi plant in the atrium, the stream swollen with rain, the daunting shadow of the seven layered stone lamp eternally etched on the walls, the grape-eyed monkey looking beseechingly from the tamarind tree, the lake simmering like a silver coin tossed into the night.. the imagery takes your breath away. One feels compelled to get under the skin of the characters and follow them around the House of Oracles and at times one almost becomes the house itself. There is no other way than to give in.

It is the phrases like, “Forgiving is a limbless genie. It has to be carried in rounded palms or the open hollows of the grieving mind” and “Everyone has to find their own key to the treasure; everyone’s treasure is different” that make you cling to the book till the last word.

Weaved intricately between family traditions, human tragedies, ancient customs is the inevitable social transformation, caste struggle, anomalies of land grab, the ways of the neo-rich and the uncomfortable transition from traditional to modern.

This intense, fast paced narrative will not let you down at any level. The cover design is based on a charcoal sketch by the author and is the portal to a world of storytelling that’s hard to come by these days.

I highly recommend Chandini’s debut novel to everyone. Go pick up your copy here – The House Of Oracles

Monsoon and Collection Of Chaos


Monsoon is at the threshold and already the rain has generously filled the empty pockets of my city. In the midst of the chaos rain brings one can spot carts and carts of mangoes, lychees, jamuns, peaches, phalsa, musk melons, water melons and other summer fruits. The gorgeous Amaltas or Laburnum, dressed in yellow, is hard to miss.
The parakeets are here and so is the familiar smell of earth, grass and flowers.
 I am thinking of wood roasted bhutta from the hills and hot jalebis filled with the sweet nectar of life. Usually a coffee person, I love  the adrakewali masala chai at this time espcially when it is infused wit hthe earthy aroma of the mitti ka kulhad.
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As I edit the second book of poems good news is still floating in from various parts of the globe with readers sending me their feedback and writing reviews for Collection Of Chaos.  I have come a long way since this book happened in 2014 and some very exciting news is coming soon that I will share soon. Here is my author page on Leaky Boot Press Website. Check out the other titles too.
Kabir Malik is a young poet, photographer, wanderer. This is what he says,
If you are fond of Urdu / Hindi poetry then you must listen to Tauseef Ahmed’s poems. He is brilliant and knows how to touch the pulse of the listeners. Many of his poems are on his FB timeline. Do explore. I gifted him the book some months back and here is what he says,
I must have mentioned the wanderer travel blogger BNomadic in some previous blog post. Travel enthusiasts Must checkout his blog. It is one the best I have come across till now.  He bought the book and wrote a review sometime back. He says,
Rebecca Behar is French Poet and writer and has been following my work since sometime. It was a pleasant surprise to find a short note from her on amazon.
The book recently traveled to Melbourne, Australia. Poet / Writer Jaymz Hawkes found me on FB and read some of my work there. I got a note from him saying he had ordered the book and here is his review. It took almost a month for the book to reach him. The waiting is always the part of the journey.
Thank you each one of you for the encouragement and support. There is nothing more humbling for a writer than her learning being appreciated. So much has changed in last two years and especially in last few months but that we will talk about in a different post soon.
Among all this euphoria I got bitten by Instagram bug. So, you can chitchat with me there too. I need to do write- edit- read – repeat but most of all I need some discipline in life especially as a writer. Soon… 🙂
Did I mention that my elder son got engaged in April? It was a beautiful Gurudwara ardas ceremony and the girl is one of a kind. Who knows where the time goes 🙂
It is a beautiful feeling to watch your children walk on their life path with such serenity and poise.
Motherhood has made me a better person and I always stress on this point, “Let your children be. You can’t teach a sapling how to grow; you can only give it all it needs, sit back and watch.” In doing so you are not just making them good citizens but most importantly better human beings; and in the end, that is all that matters.
I will be back soon with some poems and other writing news. Till then remember to connect with me and leave your views in the comment section of my posts.
Leaving you with someone I absolutely love and admire –  Every Word Has A Body And Soul 

‘Collection Of Chaos’ Review – Kalpanaa Misra


Last few months have been really a whirlpool of let-downs and the loss of so many precious things, people, left me disillusioned and dejected but I got a pleasant surprise the other day when @Kalpanapster tweeted a link to the review of my poetry collection. It is always a joy when readers express their views about something you have written. It helps to look at the work from a different perspective and improve upon it. Poetry books aren’t so much in demand and for a student writer like me every feedback is a step forward to more writing and learning. Good to know the book is still in circulation.

Thanks kalpanaa for appreciating my poems. Writers supporting writers is a very good thing in my opinion. While you read the review on Kalpanaa’s blog, do click on other pages and read them too. Didn’t you pledge to read diverse subjects? She is a traveler, writer, healer, reviewer, language teacher and most of all a wonderful person. Go explore her creative world.

Read what Kalpanaa has to say about ‘Collection Of Chaos’ .

“Skilful language with a controlled use of dramatic images makes the heartrending subjects she writes about bearable, as they touch you and caress you but are rarely violently demanding of your attention.I don’t enjoy language that’s too adjective laden, believing always that ‘less is more’ and Tikuli’s poems are sparse, delicate yet full-bodied. Sorry if I sound as though I’m writing about a wine. In my defence, wine and poetry have a lot in common. You think they’re going to make you comfortably numb and they end up seeping into the most emotional and well hidden corners of your being, extracting that which you would rather keep hidden, even from yourself.”

You can read the full review Here 

Show some love by reading the book. Buy it from any of the on-line retailers including Amazon, Flipkart, Book depository and more. Tell me what you think. You must.

Want to know what other (potentially) satisfied readers said about the collection? Click here. 

Thank you for all the support and encouragement.

‘Collection of Chaos’ at Cena Poetica di Samuele Editore


A few days back I had written about the Italian Connection.

A few poems from my debut poetry book ‘Collection 0f Chaos’  (published by James Goddard, Leaky Boot Press) were translated into Italian by Rachel Slade and  Alessandro Canzian   and read by Rachel at Cena Poetica di Samuel Editore in the beautiful town of Pordenone in northern Italy as part of  Samuele Editore’s poetry presentation and ‘poetry dinner’ held at ‘Al Campanile’ restaurant, a 15th century building where many talented poets including Nguyen Chi Trung presented their work.

 

 

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Rachel Slade reading her Italian translations of poems from my book ‘Collection of Chaos’ during Samuele Editore’s poetry presentation and ‘poetry dinner’ on 27th June, in the beautiful northern Italian city of Pordenone.

Rachel is a young American artist and photographer whose watercolor titled ‘Sea’  is used as the cover illustration for my book. A great friend and brilliant artist, Rachel brought my poems alive in the most poetic of all languages.

Here is one of the poems she translated and read :

You stripped me of my words
unravelled them quietly
pulled a good seam I guess
Took the braid of thread
and walked away
there wasn’t a single knot
a perfect weave
of silence and words
but how would you know

 

Hai spogliato me delle mie parole

mi hai dipanata con calma
sfilacciata per bene suppongo
hai afferrato il filo principale
e l’hai tirato
non c’era un solo nodo
l’intreccio era perfetto
di silenzio e di parole
ma come facevi a saperlo?

You can listen to her in the video below.

 

 

I quickly Googled the lovely city where the event was being held while chatting with Rachel and James as she informed us of the event’s details and sent pictures of the restaurant building last Thursday. I had closed my eyes and imagined how it would feel to be among a group of  such talented poets and listen to her read the words that were so close to my heart. I cannot describe the feeling.

June 27th  brought immense happiness to me as a writer. To be featured as part of such an important event was like  a dream come true and I waited eagerly for an update from Rachel about the reading and her message, when it came,  filled me with so much joy.

She wrote :
“I have to tell you quickly about yesterday’s reading. Shortly I will send you copies of what I read, and Alessandro will be putting up the video as well… but I really wanted you to know now that people really loved your poems my dear. In fact you have made quite the impression without even being here. Your poems spoke for you and I feel, very strongly, that they spoke for each of us in such a way that as I read them aloud I could feel people responding around me, both the men and women… it was deeply moving. Of course I brought the book and people were very interested in the press (James ) as well as your blog – many people speak, or at least understand, English so they will be visiting… Many people wanted to know more about you (O mysterious one…) and hear more about India, New Delhi, your life, the lives of women there… and so many sensed immediately your strength, your presence and the force and fortitude of authentic poetry….”
Later she commented on a photograph shared on FB, “The poems of  Tikuli bestow phantasmagoric superpowers upon the reader………

 

What surprised me was the appreciation that poured in via messages and tweets. Poets connecting with me, reading my blog, sharing, reblogging my poems, writing to me, sharing their work. Nothing makes a writer happier than this bonding with fellow writers and I am grateful to each one of them for joining me in my  journey through poetry. Thank you Bea Ary and  Roberta Lepri, it is a pleasure to know you and read your work. It’s a blessing.

 

Sometimes in life good things come to us without us expecting them, this was one such occasion—and one of the happiest times of my life. Thank you James for making this happen.

 

You can View these links too

Rachel Slade’s Art 
Samuele Editore 

Leaky Boot Press

You can buy Collection of Chaos from all online book sellers including Amazon and  Book Depository who do free online shipping all over the world. 

 

 

A Poem, A Blog Feature And A Conversation


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Nothing is more encouraging for a writer than readers finding a connect with her writings. I never talked about the making of ‘Collection Of Chaos’ and when Ritesh of ‘ A book is a sexy thing‘ asked me for an interview I felt really honored. Though I have given interviews earlier this is special because it is my First Conversation as a Debut Author.

Here is an excerpt :

Q1. Tell us something about your book ‘Collection of Chaos’? How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Answer:

Collection of chaos is a journey inside the poet’s mind, her life and all that surrounds it. Each poem has emerged from the complex interactions of heart and mind, the struggles of daily life and a search for oneself beneath all the role-playing. The book wasn’t conceived as a whole but  it’s a patchwork quilt of poems.

It isn’t  just the product of disciplined hard work and learning with an open mind but also of great mentorship. They say that when the student is ready the master appears and I have been blessed to find teachers who not only helped me evolve but also stood by me when everyone including myself had given up on me. They had a profound impact on me as a writer and as a person. Sometimes you need more than your own power to make things happen. This book could not have happened without the support, encouragement and friendship that made me trust those people implicitly.  An artistic evolution is a dream work and each dream work is a team work.

Q2. When was it that you found your call in writing?

Answer:….. Read More Here  –  6 Questions, 6 Answers :An Interview with Tikuli, Author of Collection of Chaos 

There is a lot more to read on this blog so do encourage the young blogger and give your opinion. 

Thank you Ritesh for the interview. I really enjoyed the conversation.

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Janaki Nagaraj is an exceptional writer, a very loving and caring friend, and a fellow blogger. When she asked me to write a poem for her blog I felt delighted but honestly I was not ready for the post that appeared today on her blog. To be featured as an Inspiration is a humbling experience. I am honoured and blessed. We all draw inspiration from each other and it is a great thing to express love and gratitude. I totally dig this.

Janaki’s poems have just been published in an anthology called – Minds@Work 2  . Click on the link to buy the book.

You can read her poems, reviews, stories etc  Here – Memoirs of A Homemaker .

Thank you Janaki for being a wonderful friend. Keep writing.

CONCESSION

I painted myself

in a corner of your room

(Read  the whole poem on  – Inspirations

Many thanks to both of you for providing me with a platform to voice my thoughts and share my work.

I am eagerly waiting for the feedback, ratings and reviews of my poetry book. Do read and share your views. 

Onward we go. 

Connect with me 

Goodreads Author 

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