Cricket

Travels around India don’t have to include the Taj Mahal, the Gateway of India, or a dip in the Ganges to be special. Our four-day journey to Karnataka state included stops at Chamundi Hills, the ancestral village for which my father-in-law takes his name—Kuppahalli, and half a click from where we stayed, the Mysore Palace. … Continue reading Cricket

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Peace Corps, the Musical

Five years ago, I flirted with writing a musical based on ‘the generic Peace Corps experience.’ I tabled the idea quickly. The unique nature of volunteer service set abundant hurdles. Peace Corps Africa and Peace Corps Latin America are different beasts. The organization’s six decades presented another problem. We’d moved from the era of ‘Drop … Continue reading Peace Corps, the Musical

Mumbai Standstill

Who owns this day? This town? Nobody. The rains come across the bay, halt awhile, move along. They leave behind a soaked humanity, anonymous. The brightest among us are alien. Forbidding.         ##  

Writing for Children

HarperCollins India, Avid Learning, and Mumbai children's book promoter Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala put together an informative workshop on writing children's literature this weekend. As I begin the search for a home to publish my own middle grade novels, I thought I'd confirm my take on the genre with people who actually know what they're talking about. A … Continue reading Writing for Children

The Elephants’ Thunder

Every night I hear the drums. Out there, on the fairgrounds in the dark, the big drums throb and the high snares crackle. Two weeks from now Ganesh will march the streets, Gunpatti’s thunderous procession to the sea shaking the city’s windows and doors. Hordes will carry idols of the elephant deity in waves across … Continue reading The Elephants’ Thunder

What We Talk About When We Talk About Writing

Writers write. This simple premise covers everything I need to know about our craft. The axiom provides all the cover I need to shut out the world and pretend I fulfill my purpose merely by sitting down with a few trusty instruments. A Parker Jotter. A Moleskine Cahier. A keyboard, perhaps. But the platitude, it … Continue reading What We Talk About When We Talk About Writing

Always

Puzzled that I’d spend my time doing this, people will ask, ‘How long have you been writing?’ Part accusation, part sincere inquiry, it deserves consideration. The truest answer I have—and it’s not a wise guy answer—is always. I say ‘truest’ because of the stages leading up to my present output: two published novels; two mid-grade … Continue reading Always

Posting from a New Home

After five years posting from DC, BenEastBooks moves on to Mumbai. Expect the same focus on craft and reviewing serious books by independent authors. Expect new writing invigorated by travel and adventure. Expect postings flavored with the exotic, the ancient, the extraordinary, and the very new. I welcome contributions, requests for reviews, and sensible observations. When … Continue reading Posting from a New Home

Reader Wanted

Today I finished my fifth novel. Tomorrow, it will be a gift for my son on his eighth birthday. I await the sense of release, the great pocket of freedom that opens up when a large file is deleted. Last December a man walked into the SweetLife Cafe wearing nothing at all but his socks. … Continue reading Reader Wanted

Rhymes with Fake Gnus

1.       Fake shoes. Also called flip-flops. 2.       Fake brews. Non-alcoholic beer. Avoid at all cost. 3.       Fake dues. No payment required. 4.       Fake flues. Actually, you feel quite good but call in sick. 5.       Fake ruse. This is the same thing as telling the truth. 6.       Fake rues. Actually, you don’t care. 7.       Fake poos. Better smelling than the real thing. 8.       Fake … Continue reading Rhymes with Fake Gnus