Praise for My Books


"Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a gifted writer of great promise. I have a gut feeling we have a new star rising in Punjab's literary horizon. She has an excellent command of English and a sly sense of humour."
- Khushwant Singh on The Long Walk Home

"An enjoyable tale of a sassy girl's headlong race up the corporate ladder."
- India Today on Earning the Laundry Stripes


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Peshawar Attack

I woke up today to the hashtag #PeshawarAttack. Yesterday was#SydneySiege. Another day, another terrorist, several innocent hostages and victims. And thus the world rolls.

5-6 men scaled the walls of a school compound, armed with guns, and headed for classrooms where they shot indiscriminately at those inside - students and teachers. It is an Army school for children aged 10-18 years. It is reported that 80+ children have been slaughtered, shot in the head and chest and wherever else the bullets found them. According to an NBC News report, citing an unidentified military official, the terrorists burned a teacher alive and made the students watch. Apparently, some of the bodies brought to hospital have been headless. The scale of monstrosity is such that it must have silenced all the storytellers in Peshawar's legendary Qissa Khawani bazaar.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Taliban have claimed the attack is a response to army operations in the NWFP.

So, who are the Taliban, remind me again? They are ‘students’ who hate other students. They wage war by planting IEDs in schools and massacring the children inside. They want to establish their diktat over as large a geographical swathe as possible. And they plan on an afterlife in Heaven.

So, are they schizophrenic? No, they are perfectly lucid. It is us who are the schizos here. Let me tell you why. The slippery slope of self-delusion and false beliefs starts much earlier. When it becomes alright to replace Khuda Hafiz with Allah Hafiz. When it is deemed normal to ban short skirts on women. When it is okay for a school to ban Darwin from class. (And no, Darwin ain’t a truant, just a fellow with a hoary beard who tells us we descended from the apes.) 

Were there signs that we were stepping on a slippery slope? Hell, yes. When calling god by his Urdu name wasn’t good enough, and we needed to invoke the Quranic Allah because how else do we proclaim we are good Muslims. When the behavior of our women - going to pub, sending Valentine’s Day card, wearing jeans - is against our ancient Indian culture, and has to be banned. When we pit religious belief against science and preach Creationism in a nation that sent people to the moon.

And what did/do we do? Blame the neighbor, blame the immigrants, blame the minorities.

When religious fundamentalists claim x/y/z is against our culture, beware. Be very aware. They think this divisive rhetoric is a tap they can turn on-off at will. Alas. The attack in Peshawar did not come out of nowhere. The slippery slope is an escalating spiral, it feeds on amplifying shock. The trickle that Zia and the House of Saud unleashed is a tsunami now. See it for what it is, people. Deal with it. Call a spade a spade. Call terror terror. Power grab is its only agenda. 

Terror does not have a religious denomination. And if you think it is anything to do with religion, the murder of a 100 school children in the cold light of day should be a wake-up call. Otherwise, admit to yourself that you are schizophrenic and go see a shrink.



#Zia #Saud #PeshawarAttack #Taliban

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Odd Couple

Each day that I jog/walk in Central Park, there is at least one moment when I catch my breath in wonder, pause to take another look, or smile and carry on, the image jogging along with me. A tree of twigs, bare and brown, dotted with wondrously red cherries. A squirrel, its mouth stuffed with a large acorn, scooting up a tree trunk. A swirling eddy of dry pin-oak leaves, like a curtain of confetti I must part to go through. 

And then I chanced upon this couple. Two trees standing side by side. Same height, similar build, yet different. One is a steadfast green, the other has been changing colours since I started eyeing it. Through winter, the vivid green of one will be a welcome contrast to the bleakness. The other, meanwhile, will shed all pretense and bare itself. And they will still stand, side by side.


Same soil, same air, and yet each tree is responding to the surround in its instinctive way. Constancy or Change, nature shows there is no one way to be. Between imminent and permanent, there’s immanent - the quality we are born with.