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Showing posts from May, 2013


Celebration time. Jyotsna, the girl who lives next door, has passed her Class Ten board exams (CBSE): and with a 92 percentile score. Her report card had no B grades at all, only As, and many of those A grades had double and triple plus signs alongside. So what's special? Jyotsna when she was eight. She is the taller one. What's special is that Jyotsna's father, a jawan in the army, died when she was four. Her mother, who works from morning to night tending cows and collecting fodder, is illiterate. She lives in a two-roomed house with a shifting population of relatives and sometimes there are fourteen people living in those two rooms, sometimes three or four fewer. There's no generator for the hours and hours when there is no power (every day). She has no quiet corner, let alone a room to study in, nor a desk of her own. She goes to Central School, about six kilometres away -- walking, whatever the weather. None of this is is unusual. What is remarkable is t


Summertime, and the tourists have come, the water supply has dried up, garden plants have shrivelled, the forest is getting ready to go up in flames -- as every year. But the roadside bushes are loaded with  raspberries and purpling blackberries and our bird cherries have turned red. Our plum tree had to be propped up using a car jack and a forked log, it's so heavy with fruit and marauding monkeys. The good thing about the hills is that most people share their fruit. The other day a complete stranger offered me a handful of pine nuts -- she had been collecting them from under the trees -- and they take ages to find, so it was almost as noble of her as sharing ... water. Would she share water? Probably not. Water makes blood flow here. We've no apricot trees but an ancient carpenter, Kunwar Ram, who has been part of our life for years, came from his village with a couple of kilos; our nearby taxi driver friend Harish, whose house burnt down in last year's


The Folded Earth is travelling in other languages In Spanish this month ...    and Romanian (out now) It is also out now in paperback in Norwegian, where the hardback was published in 2011. And out later this year in French.