Thursday 10 June 2010

Frankfurt on my mind

Germany was wonderful. Frankfurt and the book launch with several readings at universities and a school. The school children had even translated three of my short stories and when they read back to me one of my stories in German, it was pretty amazing. Uni of Dusseldorf and the Translation Studies students were next. A two hour train ride past the Rhine valley, very green and beautiful and castles in the far horizon. I met my translator Mayela for the first time. Beautiful grey-eyed Mayela and I read alternately. Eun San and Monica, Stephanie, Sigrid Roering, Antje Brake - suddenly these were no longer names on emails and I could put faces to the names. Very nice ones too. City tour on thursday with Sigrid including a tour of Goethe’s house. The Roman square and cafes that sell tall glasses of amber wine. Croissants for breakfast and morello cherries on the street corner. Yes, I have Frankfurt on my mind.

Saturday 8 May 2010


The trouble with oral cultures and oral societies of which I am part of, is that we are taught to speak and do not learn sufficiently to listen because we place so much value on the spoken each man comes with his goatskin bag of wisdom and doesn’t have enough space to take from the other’s goat skin bag of wisdom..certainly our goat-skinbags and tobacco pouches are too small to hold God’s wisdom ….is that why we never care to take time out to listen to God?  There is always time to listen…listening can happen any time…listening helps you grow..not listening makes you run in the wrong direction and then make mistakes.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

A blog, a blog, my kingdom for a blog!

Just kidding. I’m sure that was not voiced in any kingdom!

One glorious week in Stavanger where we kick started the Neighbourhood Challenge project which is being promoted by Shahrazad where Norwegian artists and non-Norwegian artists collaborate on a project.

Anita and I didn’t really have Shahrazad in mind when we planned to make foto-poem books on the ICORN cities in Norway. But when it got serious, in the sense that we started to tell people about it, Sharahzad came forward to say that they would sponsor us partially.

So last week was the beginning of what looks like a very exciting work. We stopped strangers on the streets and asked if we could take their photos, explaining that it was for a book on Stavanger. Ninety seven percent happily posed for us. When we bumped into some of them the next days, we were like old friends, greeting each other, exchanging addresses or parting with the words, “We’ll talk on Facebook!” What a rich experience this has been. If the other cities are going to be half as friendly, wow, we could do this for a lifetime.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Spring where?

When you live in the arctic circle, announcements of Spring and violets by friends round the world sound like the proclamation of the Second Coming of the Christ. Spring where? I raise my head and cry out. Violets? what are those?

Ah well, elsewhere are people called the Australians complaining about hot summers. At least Northern Norway has its blue hour..those hours after the arctic sun sets..from about 5.00 pm till about 8 or 9 pm when it is elf-blue and magic…and stars come out reluctantly…sit back, stay in the blueness and write more poetry…no point in stressing..Spring will come when it will…I guess there’s a lesson in there…be patient or be more patient?

Thursday 14 January 2010

Incredible India

Whether you spend a few days or a month and a half in India, you will come away mouthing that. Nowhere in the world have I seen such squalor co-exist with the most decadent luxury. But leaving that aside, India was lovely, yes I can say that, still lovely even after three years away from it. My Hindi returned haltingly at first, but with Bollywood coming to the rescue, I managed to carry out confident conversations with taxi drivers and shopkeepers. It was like my Norsk teacher had said, ‘They’re all there at the back of your head somewhere, all the languages you have learnt, and when you press the right button, it comes back.’

Bright blues, Reds and Oranges - colours even in the midst of the overwhelming grey fog that is so typical of Delhi winters, colourful pashmina shawls and silk bags and woollen, neo-persian carpets at the Delhi Haat market. We stopped our shopping and watched an impromptu dance by street performers, a young boy and an older man who donned a horse costume and swayed appropriately to the compelling beat of drums.

Nan, paneer, butter chicken and real yoghurt…nothing tastes like Indian food in India…