Ruth in Amy Tan’s book The Bonesetter’s Daughter sort of sums up our human state right now. All of us perhaps feel this way—

‘Sometimes I feel like I’m a pair of eyes and ears, and I’m just trying to stay safe and make sense of what’s happening. I know what to avoid, what to worry about. I’m like those kids who live with gunfire going off around them. I don’t want pain. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to see other people around me die. But I don’t have anything left inside me to figure out where I fit in or what I want. If I want anything, it’s to know what’s possible to want.’

Freedom to Remain Silent



Any married person will tell you that more important than the right to Freedom of Speech is the right to silence. It is a lot like the Miranda rights in the US which has to be read to a person who is being arrested.The silent treatment is very necessary for a fine tuning of a marriage. It allows a sabbatical from daily inane discussions about family, milk prices, elections, neighbors and the help.

Silence is a healer. Silence is the added ice in a not so cool drink. ‘I have often regretted my speech but never my silence’ is an allegedly Xenocratic saying which I use often but really fail in the practice of it.

If all married people did not stop talking to each other for one time or another, some time, occasionally, sporadically, the iceberg on which a marriage stands would melt.    It would do so because of the essential frisson or friction of a vibrant and lively marriage. An entire continent or pedestal of necessary marital ice would float away and sink all marriages.


Silence is indeed golden but when the dogs of war eventually fall asleep, love again slips in with a talkative but peaceful bout of renewed chirping between couples. Till the dreadful and really unwanted silence reigns again and brings in the freeze of a cold war let the gentle rapprochement of speech rule the roost.


Canadian Experience– A New Diet


Canadian Experience

This is a quaint Catch 22 kind of thing you encounter when you immigrate to Canada. You want a job? Leave your resume at various stores and offices. You will be treated with courtesy. No one is going to laugh at you for entering the august portals of a big organization and asking for a job. Someone will smile and take your resume. The crunch comes where you are supposed to give your Canadian Experience.

‘Do you have any Canadian Experience?’

I smile, ‘I just landed here a week back.’

A reciprocal smile, ‘Ok no problem, get some Canadian Experience and then call us.’

This is sort of a ragging; an initiation to a new society. You are not going to get a soft job. Soon you will be painting lamp-posts, delivering newspapers, hanging mailers on door-knobs (remember only on door-knobs or you will be fired-correction I remember now only in mailboxes and not door knobs–I was fired.)  If you have a valid license and a car then you are a lucky one. You can deliver flowers, packets and even heavy movie reels to cinema halls as I did. Three months later you would have acquired a slight roll to your R’s and yes Canadian Experience. I delivered packets in a car all over the vast Greater Toronto Area. I tell you the front seat was loaded with Junk Food. Chips, doughnuts, cokes and cookies. I lost weight.

I got lost so much. I parked in odd places to look up maps. I had a tough time handling the walkie-talkie and the ‘ten-fours’ and ‘Roger’ that I forgot to eat. I lost ten pounds in three months. That’s how I know you can lose weight with junk food.

Writers’ Tan


Word Game

Why do we write?   I think it is a curious love for words which starts writers on this endless journey. When I was younger I had a great ability in remembering spellings. It is gone now. Thanks to spell checking software. I think that love for words launches most writers on to this addiction of pen and paper or rather keyboards in the modern era.

There are so many words pouring out all around us. It reminds me of the song, ‘have you ever seen the rain?’ What can one do with this deluge of words skimming past our vision, unappreciated, unseen on laptop, tablet and computer screens?

I have a hundred writing projects started and all are stalled at various stages of word count. They are unexploded mines inside my laptop; poems, short stories, future novels, movie scripts and articles for my blog. When things really become bogged down I throw up my hands and grab a book to read.

The simplicity and ease with which Amy Tan writes her novels stuns me into silent submission. Oh Lord if I could only write like this about my cousins, brothers, aunts, parents, grandmothers, dentists, neighbors I would be a millionaire.

The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter are my favorites. Reading these books is like running the defragmenter of your software. It straightens out the empty spaces, the puddles, the bumps, aligns the reds, greens and yellows till your brain is again a fresh dew tipped green lawn of creativity.

Try it, it will work.