Tag Archives: womens issues

My Writing process #Monday Blogs

I have to begin by thanking my dear friend Feroza Unvala, the creator of all my book covers who introduced me to  her writer and social activist friend, Humaira Ghilzai.  Humaira I appreciate you inviting me to participate on this blog tour which has impelled me to reconnect with my writer friends and continue the blogging process which I thoroughly enjoy.

My writing process

1)     What am I working on? 


The culture that you are brought up with to a large extent defines who you are in the context of modern day living. It grounds you and gives you a sense of identity. Added to this is a passion to give a resonant voice to universal women’s issues. That said, 1930?s Colonial India was the  natural choice for the setting of my first novel, “When the Lotus Blooms,” which was published in 2011, telling the story of two child brides attempting to find identity in a patriarchal society. the novel includes the entire gamut of women’s issues from infertility to a domineering mother-in-law, rape and substance abuse to abortion and widowhood. Rajam and Dharmu, the main protagonists, are my grandmothers, Kandu, my father and Kamu, my mother.

I am currently working on the sequel which I hope to call, “A Rose from a dream.” The book spans a decade from 1942-1952 and brings in issues which I didn’t cover in the first book, including the institution of Devadasis, (organized prostitution) the Independence movement and the World war as it impacted India. Hopefully it should be out by 2014.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?


My book falls under the category of historical fiction. While there are hundreds of books on the British Raj, most have a western viewpoint and none have showcased the span and depth of its culture especially from the viewpoint of its impact on women. More particularly, my books speaks about tradition and culture of the Tamil brahmin community.

What has been much more difficult to do as a writer is to speak out against social injustice in a voice of compassion that does not offend the sensibilities of thousands of brahmin women, whose life is defined by this very tradition. To use the pen to create awareness, conversation and perhaps change. The difficulty was in finding the right balance where I didn’t convert the book into a handbook of Indian culture, yet was able to talk about common practices that define the Brahmin community and change that needs to occur.

Most importantly I exist in every page of the book. Hailing from the culture gave me deep insight into the mindset and attitudes of Tamil brahmin women and I present the social milieu in a non-judgmental, participative manner that resonates with women from all walks of life, every culture and every society. Nothing has really changed. Social relationships, male patriarchy, abuse and subjugation; all these issues plague women even today.

3)     Why do I write what I do?


I write in two genres; spiritual non-fiction and historical fiction. I discovered writing after I learned a special breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya. The breathing practices combined with meditation quieted the mind sufficiently for the latent talent to emerge. My second book was written in gratitude to share the happiness and peace I had miraculously discovered. I had finally chanced on writing and through the written word was able to express my innermost feelings and emotions. My earlier anger with the world, the resultant frustration and stress had just dissipated. The book is called “The Present: a Gift from the Divine: and it has been endorsed by my Master H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as well as H.H. the Dalai Lama. I have heard that nonfiction is more popular but I prefer the comfort of fiction!

My head is filled with untold stories. I see stories in everything from mundane tasks like drinking milk or going swimming to the more dramatic like child molestation.  A small and unimportant task like spreading cow manure on the floor could be converted in a scene of shame and control, to portray the very insecurity and fear that troubled Rajam all her life. It became stimulating to write because I could let my imagination and intuition take over and then watch the drama play out. The journey was much more exhilarating, and I was present right through at every important juncture in the lives of my characters  through my writing. I am not in the career of writing for money; I write because that’s what I love to do. Money and fame are a product of destiny. Self-publishing my book brought closure for a project dear to my heart. I am very happy with the end product, and having a small publisher in India has worked well for me to distribute and sell in the land of my birth. The only promise I strictly honor is to be true to myself and maintain my authenticity by writing on subjects  I am passionate about, and using the pen to affect change and create awareness. I guess I write because I have no choice. It is natural, gratifying and exhilarating.


4)     How does your writing process work?

There is very little planning involved when I write. My writing style is anecdotal and each chapter could stand on its own merit as a short story. I pick a character, take a deep breath and begin typing:  the story simple reveals itself without any special effort on my part. This is when I write fiction. For my nonfiction book I interviewed over a hundred people from five continents, after which I transcribed each interview. Following this, I created a spreadsheet using different headings like anger, lust, delusion, karma and so on. I would read the interview and enter the name under each category. Two years later I had 500 pages transcribed and no idea what to do. Then one day I just sat and began writing. I picked a topic pulled the interviews related to it and put it all together. I wrote for 12-14 hours a day for 2 months. I don’t know if this works for others. Research and information just acts a s a guide when I write. My writing is completely natural and intuitive. It’s as they say; there’s someone sitting on my shoulder telling me what to write next.


Meet my author friends

Keith .B. Darrell

Keith .B. Darrell is a prolific American writer of short stories, novels, nonfiction books, and newspaper and magazine articles. If not for his support and keen critical evaluation of my writing I would not have published my book. Thanks Keith!

Keith B. Darrell was abducted as an infant by evil Fae creatures, who replaced the author in his crib with a changeling doppelganger. By age 24,the changeling known as Keith B. Darrell had earned his A.A. from Broward Community College, his B.S. in Journalism from the University of Florida, his M.B.A.from Emory University, and his J.D. from the Emory University School of Law. He went on to become a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Florida Bar.

Darrell is a cross-genre writer of speculative fiction, flash fiction, fusion fiction, fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fiction, sword & sorcery, science fiction, dystopian fiction, apocalyptic fiction, horror, slice of life, political and sociological fiction, humor, drama, gothic mystery, children’s fiction, young adult fiction and nonfiction. His short stories have appeared in three collections, Shards, Randoms,and Careywood, as well as in Kindle short story format e-books available from the Amazon.com Kindle store.

Website www.keithbdarrell.com .  Twitter @Keith_B_Darrell



Michael Cantwell

Michael Cantwell, CCIM is an author and commercial real estate agent in Florida as well as a published photographer. He was born in Ft. Campbell KY, raised in Trenton, NJ, graduated college at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA. He now resides in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Website:www.ksmmike.com                              Blog:http://ksmmike.blogspot.com/

Twitter @ksmmike


Dr. Shirley Press

In 2001, Dr. Shirley Presswon big in the Florida Lottery. In her book, Dr. Press takes
readers on a tour of her life from a poor girl in Camden, NJ of Holocaust survivor
parents to becoming a doctor and a lottery winner and the lessons learned from her journey.
Written by Shirley Press, MD. Published by Re-Spin Publishing Paperback, 274 pages. Paperback and kindle versions are available at Amazon. ePub versions are available at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. For more information, visit http://www.shirleypress.com.

Twitter@ ShirleyPress

website blog  http://shirleypress.com/blog/ –



Spotlight on Nigeria

Spotlight on Nigeria

This week in the news, the spotlight is on Nigeria where a local Islamic Fundamentalist group, Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 200 young girls . The Twitter hashtag “#BringBackOurGirls” has been trending at various points since the girls were taken, with many users from around the world demanding a swift rescue of the girls. The horror of their plight is worsened in the knowledge that the group plan to use and sell these women as sex slaves.

What is Boko Haram?

Loosely translated from the local Hausa language, this means “Western education is forbidden”. Boko originally meant fake but came to signify Western education, while Haram means forbidden. The group is fundamentally opposed to the education of women whom they believe are born to serve men, to cook their food, bear their children and provide free sex.

Schools were the hunting grounds for new “Jihadis” but as the group escalated into horrific violence, now commonplace in so many parts of Africa, they popularly came to be known as the Nigerian Taliban, despite no official connection with the mother organization. The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau gloated “I abducted your girls. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell.

Islam and women

Neither the Koran nor Allah ever expounded any theory of deliberate suppression of women. In fact men only took more than one wife only if they could treat them all equally. Islam is one of the few religions that allows the woman to divorce her husband-Talaq. In fact, the husband has to return the “Mehr,” the bride price paid at the time of marriage. Mr. Abubakar is delusional and is venting his own psychological emasculation by enslaving innocent girls. It is unfortunate that men, Islamic or otherwise contort religion to give rationale for their own inadequacies. Education of women is seen as a threat, as men don’t wish to lose their control, which is a natural corollary when educated women  join the work force and gain financial freedom. Here in the US, women still earn 30% less than men and it makes me wonder, if Hillary Clinton becomes President, will they pay her 30% less? It is regrettable that one needs an incident as horrific as this one to make the world rise from their slumber and examine more fundamental issues. Issues that govern how men view women but more importantly how women view themselves.

World view of women

Women’s issues have preoccupied me and it comes out in my writing. When the Lotus Blooms, my first published book highlights several issues pertaining to women and though set in the 1930s are valid even today.This world view of women as basically inferior is at the core of all violence against women and this disease is rampant, touching every society in every country. Why do we raise our daughters to cook while our sons can play outside? How many women, after a 40 hour work week, cook Sunday dinner while their husbands watch the game with a six-pack of beer handy. Our children learn from our habits and imbibe hidden messages through our body language and the legacy persists. A 30 year old unmarried daughter is a liability who could potentially become an “old maid” while her male counterpart is a bachelor “enjoying life.” Hindu marriages concretize the belief that women are “property” in a ritual called Kanyadaanwhere the father gives his daughter as a gift or offering to her husband. Today, we continue this ritual in our marriages without examining its hidden meaning and what this means for the emancipation of women.

Emancipation of Women

Freedom doesn’t come solely with voting rights and equal opportunities. As long as we treat women differently from men, as long as we assign roles to women, as long as overtly or covertly subscribe to the superiority of men we can never stop the rabid abuse of women. The plight of these Nigerian women should make each one of us examine why world over this patriarchal belief system reigns supreme? Why do women need looking after? Why should  the destiny of women need to be controlled by men?  Are we unconsciously enabling the subjugation of women? Does the very fabric of society, the complex web of inter-gender relationships need to be re examined? And the last rhetorical question- Are we as women in some way responsible for these crimes being perpetuated against us?

Long Island Book Launch

On March 24th Dr. Kusum Viswanathan arranged a book reading at Herricks Middle School under the auspices of the Young Indian cultural Group of Long Island.

I sound a little naive saying this  but being the first time travelling alone and navigating the trains of New York and New Jersey was daunting. I worried more about getting places than talking at the readings


I reached Mineola, Long Island, without a hitch and was so happy to meet Kusum. What can I say about her? I have never met a more amiable, dynamic, erudite, multifaceted, talented, well spoken, friendly, cultured person in my life. Kusum takes my breath away, for I have never seen one one person with so many selfless qualities. She had spoken with Rathi Raja who very kindly agreed to host the event. I went there expecting nothing which turned out to be a great thing.

When we reached the school, no one had arrived and at 2pm only 3 of us were there. Kusum had arranged tea and snacks and we were busy setting up. As we turned around almost 30 people had come for the reading. This was unbelievable!

Other than a couple, no one had read the book and the reading took on a more informative tone.I introduced the characters and read out sections pertaining to each. It was also interesting to note that we had men in the room including an 87 year old who had read the book in its entirety. I also got a chance to talk about connected topics like self publishing, getting books into a library (almost impossible if you are self published) writing style and editing, areas of publishing that have taken up all of my time this past year.

I felt very satisfied as I boarded the train for New Jersey. I had sold all the books and perhaps generated enough interest for others to pick it up and spread the word.

Its is not enough to have good book. You have to tell others about it and though marketing is a bottomless pit, out of the blue a friend helps you out and when you speak to small groups like this it fills you with a feeling of accomplishment. For me this accompanied by waves of gratitude and awe as I looked back at Kanchana 4 years ago; miserable and lost and I wondered where and how  she had disappeared

My Debut Novel “When the Lotus Blooms”

Dear Friends.

There has been a lot happening preventing the book release on the scheduled date of October 1, 2011. I have since got a book deal from a publisher in India, and the manuscript now sits on the editor’s desk. I should have the updated manuscript by the end of the month and will inform you about the US book release which should take place by November.  I would also like to share with you the exciting news that Dr. Shashi Tharoor has written the Foreword to my book, a huge feather in my self publishing cap. You can read his entire review on my blog. By November 1,2011 my website should be up and functioning. You can access it at www.kanchibooks,com. Please do check out new updates on my blog and visit my Facebook author page at
Please support a first time author and like my fan page
Thanks for your support
Kanchana Krishnan

Say NO to Fifty Shades of Grey!

I love drinking my coffee and watching the morning shows, flipping between NBC and CBS depending on what interests me. Last week, no matter which channel I switched to, every show was talking about 50 shades of gray. It’s almost as if the whole country is in the grip of sex fever. No, I am not a prude. I am not against sex but to watch the media glamorize rape, subjugation and sexual slavery makes my blood boil. It’s a good thing that fads don’t last. If they did, can you imagine what a monstrous society we would be living in with all of us controlling, subjugating, demeaning, and raping each other. This is why I say NO to 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!

Fifty Shades of Grey

Women for years have carried the burden of subjugation, sexual and otherwise and we experience the pain from lifetimes of such assault as PMT: Pre Menstrual Tension. Yes ladies. That irritation, moodiness, desire to simply burst into tears, lower back and leg pain, the cramps, all of which you feel right before or at the onset of your period is a result of impressions from pain from all your past lives. You carry the burden of womanhood which is expressed through all these symptoms. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

For all of recorded history, as long as men have walked the earth, women have constituted their property. What originated as division of labor became a symbol of subjugation. For years, across societies and cultures women have raised their daughters to become “good wives.” Education was secondary, outdoor games and jobs were for boys. Girls could never work outside the home, where they remained chained for centuries relegated to raise children, provide free sex on demand for their husband and keep the home sparkling. That was fine as long as women never questioned this arrangement and never wanted to enter the workplace which so far was the arena for men.

This did not mean that women were always happy with their lot or that their men were kind and caring. For most women, questioning and wanting something different was met by violence and sexual subjugation, the pain of which then got embedded in their psyche as karmic impressions. For women in the modern world, the opportunity to be treated equally as men at least in the eyes of the law has taken back breaking effort, pain and disillusion. This constant power struggle with men has taken a tremendous toll on women’s psyche and movies like 50 Shades take us back to the middle ages in one mammoth sweep. They virtually wipe out all the effort over centuries made by women wanting to escape sexual subjugation, wanting to express their identity, wanting to be heard. This is why I say NO to 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!

The audience in the US consist largely of middle aged women from the Bible belt. Perhaps you have been repressed and unable to voice your individuality. But seriously, do you wish to “find yourself” through rape? And is rape justified if its perpetrated by a millionaire? To the rest of the audience comprising of “Curious Georges” you might believe that movies don’t affect you but the subliminal messages seep into your subconscious and then surface, hammering messages of inferiority that bomb your self-esteem. This is why I say NO to 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!

In most parts of the world women are still treated as property.

Say NO to Dowrydowry

One woman dies every hour due to dowry related reasons on an average in India, which has seen a steady rise in such cases between 2007 and 2011, according to official data.
In the US, there is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.

Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
In India, if one goes by the latest statistics of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every day 93 women are raped in the country.

According to NCRB data, there is a gradual increase in the number of rapes 50 shadesreported in India – from 24,923 in 2012 to 33,707 in 2013.
According to the UNICEF using data between 2005-2013 child marriage still exists: Afghanistan 40% Bangladesh 65% Central African Republic and Chad 68%

What are we talking about here? Virgins being raped every day. And not by millionaires.They are being subjected to sex even at the age of 8 or 10 years. There is no glamour here. This is why I say NO to 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!

Have you ever spoken to someone who has been raped? Have you ever seen the pain they go through ? The effect of violence on their physical and psychological bodies devastates them. They really suffer and can never trust men again. This is why I say NO to 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!

Is lust what we want for ourselves? Will it lead to strong enduring relationships? Is that what we want for our daughters? Are you raising them to believe it’s okay to be raped. And how about your sons? What would you have them do? Forge respectful relationships with women or just randomly rape them?

While promiscuity may give the illusion of freedom, it actually binds you and destroys you from within. One sexual act may feel exhilarating in the moment, but what follows makes the act regrettable. Emotions are dark and confused, and satisfaction is momentary, leaving you spent and listless until the feverishness begins afresh. This is why I say NO to 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!

The only way to handle lust is to understand its nature. See what you feel as lust arises in you and realize how it prevents you from feeling love. You have a choice.

You can live with lust and the tension and anxiety it brings, or you can relax in love.
You can drive yourself crazy manipulating and planning to satisfy your lust, or relax in the ease and restfulness of love.
You can obsess with possession and grasping even though there is nothing to own but a few minutes of pleasure, or you can surrender in timeless and ever expansive, divine love.
You can wrestle with violent thoughts and loveactions or sacrifice and surrender to a higher energy, freeing you from the bondage of base desire.
For heaven’s sake choose love. Teach your sons and daughter to seek relationships of mutual respect and never subscribe to ugly headline seeking fads like 50 Shades of Grey.