Hap Hap Happy New Year!

Come again, this moment
and again,
stretched to infinity,
you live thousands of years
in serenity,
that's the wish
Happy new year to you,
Happy new year!



Between truth and lie
the difference is minimal
Between black and white
the color is dismal
yes and no
come and go
in and out
Easy yet so difficult
the distance so short but hard to reach
paradox, mirror images.


Coffee Break

The clouds moved about really fast. Wind giving them speed. I looked out of the large window through the glass. Cars, buses, people zoomed past. I cleared the already clear glass to see a bit better. Just a habit. The stench reached my nostrils, raising tiny hairs on ends. I tried hard not to put my hands on the nose, not to vomit the pasta bake out, its red splashing the cream carpet. What would people say? Everyone loved it, wanted it every morning, every ten minutes.  


Mumbai - futility of life

Three days of terror in Mumbai has made me think of the futility of life, not for those who lost their loved ones, not even for those who lost themselves but for those who sit on the golden chair and call themselves people's leader. For life has lost its value in this day and age because of the attitudes of these leaders. 

Killing people for no reason has become a fashion. Especially in India people are killed not only by the natural calamities like Tsunami but also by these terror attacks most of the time. On top of that the leaders leave no stone unturned to make extremists kill people for stupid reasons like regional or religious differences. Where is the stop to this? Why don't people get united and once for all put an end to these leaders who have been playing politics for such a long time that they have forgotten they are human as well and even they come with an expiry date. 

In other countries one life lost is a huge loss but in India hundred lives lost is a way of life because for us life goes on?! The city revives, bounces back, off course it does, who wouldn't but other countries make small issues so big so as to avoid it ever happening again. India makes big issues look so small and result, it happens again and again and again and no one is bothered. The pain has reached a stage where it itself has become the medicine.

My heart goes out to all the people in Mumbai and I hope this time they are not known for their resilience but for their anger and courage to dethrone the anarchists of the country and put their faith on someone who comes true to their expectations.

My salute to the city and its people.


The White Tiger

This year again the Man Booker prize went to the Asian writer Arvind Adiga for his debut novel White Tiger. The novel is a rags to riches story of a man told in a letter written over the span of seven days.

Please click on the link to read his interview:


We at Vaani are reading the book and we will post our discussions on the blog as soon as possible.



She sat there, her knees knocking each other, her elbows resting yet not resting on them, her palms joint and her dimpled chin resting on top. Dark wisps of hairs swoop around her round face, going into her huge sea eyes, her pert nose, her wonky lips with a cut the size of a nut. Hurried people went past, so did the swishing trains, the beggars who sang, the tracks that rang; irrespective of her sitting there, moving. As the people hurrying, the trains swishing, the beggar's singing, the tracks ringing increased, the knees knocking decreased, gradually coming to an end. The train to her destination had arrived ready to depart.

Smita Singh


The Asian Women writers whom we know or don't know

Please find below the names of a few Asian women writers, some of whom are well known and some not so much as others but undoubtedly all of them are best in their own rights.

Anita Desai wrote In Custody, Journey to Ithaca and my favourite Cry the Peacock among others.

Tahmima Anam's The Golden Age

Talat Abbasi's Bitter Gourd and other stories

Sorayya Khan wrote Noor

Shani Mootoo's He drown she in the sea

I'll keep on updating the list as and when, meanwhile Tara from all of us here.


Asian Writers Representation in UK

It seems a bleak picture if you are an Asian and you live in Britain and on top of that you aspire to be a writer. Although every year there are those Asian writers who appear in the booker prize short lists, there's still lack of representation of Asian writers in Britain. When you look through the lists of Authors on literary Agents web-site, you might think of putting off the idea of writing for good. It doesn't paint a very hopeful picture.


Writing AIDs Story

India's writers tell Aids stories

Some of India's best-known writers have come together in a unique anthology of writing which tells the human stories behind HIV/Aids in the country.

This is an interesting combination, please find below the link for the rest of the story on the bbc.




Experts want sex education from age four to cut teen pregnancies-5th July 2008 Guardian

Experts want sex education from age four to cut teen pregnancies-5th July 2008 Guardian


I was amazed reading this news article on Guardian. There are many question that arise in the mind while reading it.

Shall we start educating sex to toddlers so that they can have safe sex even when they should not be having any?

Is earlier sex education the real answer to the problems of early teenage pregnancies?

Are we really worried about this issue or we are just trying to pull the wool over the issue?

The Brook chief executive, Simon Blake,told the BBC: “Many young people are having sex because they want to find out what it is, because they were drunk or because their mates were.” He added: “All the evidence shows that if you start sex and relationships education early - before children start puberty, before they feel sexual attraction - they start having sex later. They are much more likely to use contraception and practise safe sex.”

This statement only raise one question in my mind,

If young children want to find out what it is and they need to be drunk to do that then isn’t it better to stop providing them with alcohal at such a young age instead of giving them contraceptives?

To answer my own questions when I delved deep into myself I was faced with more questions.

Aren’t we supposed to get love and relationship education from our families, our parents, at least the amount of knowledge that a toddler would need? If yes then it means that the family or the parents are not capable of putting strong enough role model for kids to follow.

It seems to me that as a society we have become so selfish that all other rich emotions have lost on us. We have left everything on government not only our financial and social wellbeing but our personal wellbeing. We have forgotten that a society is made up by people like us not by the policies of government. The policies are made to help organise ourselves better not visa versa.

As a society we have forgotten that we should be providing role models to our children. The smallest unit being the family. In our society family is the most threatened unit. There’s no respect for each other in our society and no sanctity. I don’t think a government policy can be strong enough to teach these qualities to children. Parents need to take more initiative, instead of being busy with their own life and problems, give priority to children.

If you have a look at the society, the moment you walk out of the house you see couples entangled in various stages of sexual positions. You cannot stop children from seeing these displays of sex. Being curious is natural for them. Instead of providing contraceptives to them so that they can copy the adults safely why not ban adults from displaying sex in the public? Isn’t that a better option?

Why can’t adults learn somethings and change their ways so that kids copy something good from them instead of forcing kids to know something that they aren’t ready for yet?

Please let me know your thoughts.


Jamaican T-shirt

I am in Europe for the past six years and have visited many countries during this time, but nothing like the global village that London has become!
Here one can meet people from almost all the cultures of the world. It is indeed an enriching experience.
I possess a T-shirt from Jamaica, which has been a part of my baggage for the last many years. A friend, who had visited Jamaica, had brought it for me as a gift. It is a pure cotton one and white in colour.
The T-shirt has perfect length to my taste, which is a bit longer than the normal T-shirts easily available in the stores. It fits me well; a proof that I have not gained weight in the past years. It touches my thighs and makes me comfortable while jogging. So it's been part of my jogging routine in Asia and now in Europe.
Interestingly, my humble T- shirt with just one word printed on the front, went unnoticed until I came to London. In this metropolis, its seven letter word in blue-"Jamaica," lost its anonymity.
After settling down in this new city, the first thing I wanted to find was a park, where I can breath in fresh air and breath out all my longing for home, family and my country. The search began and luckily I discovered a nice park just in the vicinity.
Early next morning, I put on my T-shirt heralding "Jamaica" on top and went out. I started jogging in the green lanes and suddenly I noticed that all the men from Caribbean and African background were looking at me. It made me conscious as this attention was totally uncalled for. Yet I continued my jogging and running.
Suddenly I saw a young man coming towards me. I turned my eyes away and carried on with my routine. He came close and stood in front of me. I stopped. He asked- "Tell me buddy, are you from the Caribbean?" I said, "No." The black guy's next question was, "Then from Africa?" Again, I said, no. He stood there for a few seconds looking at my T- shirt and then walked away slowly.
The attention that the T- shirt evokes among all the black people in the park is astonishing and I believe, it is unique to the UK.
I have started thinking of retiring my T-shirt now, to avoid the gazes. But find it hard to part with my longest jogging companion.
However, I am trying to get used to greetings from people of the Caribbean origin.
Just the other day, when I went to the park along with my Jamaican label, an African guy, who was totally drunk and carried a bottle in his hand, walked towards me with faltering steps.
He tried to stop his shaking demeanor, looked at my T-shirt, raised his other hand and said- "Good morning, buddy."
I am still procrastinating, should I bid good bye to my old T-shirt now.
One thing is clear, any symbol, however small, which is reminiscent of our native culture, fascinates us. It is a joy to see something, carrying even a fragrant whiff of the land we have left behind.
I am sure, all of us in London have found one's own "Jamaican T-shirt," sometime, somewhere, which made us stop and stare, reminding us of our roots...


Indra Sinha wins Commonwealth Writers Prize

Indian-origin writer Indra Sinha's book 'Animal's People', based on the Bhopal gas tragedy, has been adjudged this year's best book in Europe and South Asia by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Writers' Prize, an increasingly valued and sought after award for fiction, is presented annually by the Commonwealth Foundation.

The Prize aims to reward the best Commonwealth fiction written in English, by both established and new writers, and to take their works to a global audience, thereby increasing appreciation of and building understanding between cultures.

‘Animal’s People’ is about the people who became victim of the interests of the rich and powerful and suffered for no faults of their own. It is a portrayal of their inhuman life equivalent to animals they are leading after Bhopal gas tragedy took place and the negligence of the damages done by ‘Amrikan Kampany’ to Animal’s people.

Novel is a first person narrative. Animal narrates the story. He has been given this particular name because he is destined to crawl on his fours due to the bending of his spine thanks to the chemical catastrophe which took place at the time of his birth. The gas leak not only swallowed his parents but turned his life from human to animal. He says in the very opening of the novel, “I used to be human once”. Animal, a victim of the tragedy also has become a kind of celebrity of the town being approached by the journalists for their stories and pictures.

His life has been full of pain without parents and physically helpless.

There are other interesting characters, French nun Ma Franci, American doctor Elli, political activist Zafar and Nisha, the lady animal likes, journalist on the website, Indira Sinha.

A positive note runs parallel the string of pain and suffering in the life of people as they have learned to survive on their own with no redressal of the damages by the Kampany. They have fallen into the state of deterioration. Sinha has beautifully portrayed a journey of life of animal through which the aspirations, expectations, fears and superstitions of the people have been portrayed. There is growing hatred among the people for the things foreign.


Is the concept of freedom overrated?

As Kant says 'All preparations of reason, therefore..., are in reality directed to these three problems only God, the soul and freedom.' 'The ultimate intention of nature, in her wise provision was really, in the constitution of our reason directed to the moral interest only.' Well everyone has got their own ideas of freedom. Many believe that they are by far freer than any other. Freedom could only be measured in percentage. But the ultimate freedom is the freedom from the reason that tells you that you are free. Freedom from thought. Impossible. If you reason about freedom than you are no longer free.
Western world has the notion that being individualistic is a step towards ultimate freedom. But it’s only a notion! People suffer isolation, heartache and neurosis due to this notion. Is that what is real freedom?
Look at the eastern concept of freedom via spirituality. Following their path is not only a hardship but attaining it is rarity. Only a few attain a certain degree of freedom, which is comparatively higher than the normal. Even those who do this are on one level may be free from the worldly attachment but still be in pursuit of the intangible enlightenment, hence not free.
When thinking starts, no sooner does the reason follow. Whether it is to choose the path towards freedom or the reason to attain it. And when the planning starts the head is no longer free. Its just a migration from one state to another. How can one state of mid could be more free than the the other? It could be better but free? As every state of mind has its own restrictions, constraint and parameters.
And as long as there are restraints, constraints and parameters, there would be reason. When the mind is in the tentacles of reason its never free. As long as the life goes on the mind alters between one state to the other thinking it would be better than the last one. The reason prevails even in the best of these free states to defend its freedom.
In conclusion only death could be the ultimate freedom.

by Smita Singh


Quagmire of English Accents

One of the problems that I have encountered living in Britain is to comprehend the English accent. After settling down, the first problem was to deal with the phone calls in this accent. To my horror, I realised there is not one uniform accent but various accents- of Midland, of Yorkshire, of Scotland, of Wales, etc, etc… I was grappling with all of these, that I confronted a unique one- British Asian accent. It was very difficult initially to train my ears to understand it properly.
Then started the Big Brother with Shilpa Shetty and I identified absolutely the new one -Liverpoolian accent. To me, it rhymes and it is lyrical. Without understanding the sentences in the beginning, I enjoyed its swirls and tunes.
Whatever criticism Celebrity Big Brother might have invited, for me it was a programme to identify and pick up various accents-even the loudest Essex accent. I was happy to finally comprehend the puzzle of accents..
But my happiness only lasted until a friend's family with their five year old daughter visited me. She spoke only English and I was not able to understand her deep accented voice. I would take minutes before replying to her little queries. Suddenly I heard her saying to me- "I wan some wo..er". I looked at her blankly. To my embarrassment, she repeated- "I wan some wo..er." I was perplexed. Her mother intervened to explain that she wants some water.
The other day, when she visited, I was asking her parents what would they like to have- Tea, coffee or any cold drink? The little girl told me- "My pa wants no more tea". I looked at her parents with wonder in my eyes, and
turned to her father to confirm. He laughed and told me that his daughter is saying- "My pa wants normal tea."
It's a big hassle to deal with the little kid and the quagmire of her accent.
But living in Britain, has made me realise that it is difficult now a days to find people who speak Oxford English. One has to deal with hundreds of accents- all nationalities living here speak with their own accent, which is a mixture of their mother tongue and English- the sound, vowels, letters, words, all are mixed up.
Multiculturalism has wrapped up the language in its fold. I wonder which one I should pick up…

by Nandini


Nothing to hide

Nothing to hide, I’m an open book. As open as a book can be. Got to read between the lines. The lines only tell half the truth. Rest is in between. Just like my wife. I love her to death. She doesn’t understand. I understand its her attention seeking tendencies, but there’s limit to a man’s patience. Crib, nag, crib, nag is her game. So I shut her up, its not my fault. She made me do it.

Flash Fiction by Smita Singh

Tears in Chapatti

Come back home, Oh Darling!
Come back home...

It is the timewhen translucent dropsplays on the petals,
filling our garden,with fragrance of
rain sodden sand.

The wet dusks are the
reminder;return home...

Often your mother,
fills her chapatti
with her tears;
waiting for you to
join her for dinner.

Her eyes stuck on the darkness,
outside the door;
falling hail sometimes
creates a shadow.
Her misty eyes,
sees your reflection
in every tall silhouette,
crossing the road.
She raises her head to
catch your glimpse
but in vain.

Her chapatti by then
turns wet and cold.
She leaves the table
each night,
muttering to herself
"I have no appetite."

By then, the moon shows up
in our bedroom window,
some times bright, sometimes cloudy,
like your remembrance in our hearts.
The crickets begin nightly chirping,
their calling songs
Come back home darling...

Each night
your mother sees the same dream;
a reverie of welcome,
with melodies of rejoining.
You are standing at the doorstep,
ringing the bell repeatedly;
she wakes up each morning,
rushing to answer the bell,
muttering to herself,
"Oh, how could I not hear the bells?"

She opens the door,
her eyes twinkling brightly
to embrace you
but alas…

It's raining again,
the downpour washes the wishes,
your mother turns back,
leaving the door open.
Come back home
Oh darling…

by Nandini
Thanks for image taken from bp0.blogger.com


An angry BMW zoomed past spitting rainwater at the people standing at the bus stop. He was waiting, it seemed like ages for the bus to come, though in reality it had only been few minutes. The sky looked troubled with dark gloomy clouds thundering, roaring ready to plaster anyone to ground. There were many people at the bus stop but he was unaware of everyone around him. He could only see the clouds that looked ready to devour the whole world. A red and yellow serpent like number sixteen bus passed by. He felt as if he was standing in the middle of mayhem. He felt like putting his hands on his ears. His eyes were misty, so he blinked hard to clear his vision. Swirling clouds ready to engulf it in its embrace surrounded the town hall tower clock on the other side of the road. The thunder and lightening cracking down the tower, vengeful.

“Daddy, daddy”. He heard a little boy screaming in the middle of his reverie. His heartbeat started racing, he rubbed his eyes with his hands and wiped them on his trousers. The boy was standing right there in front of him in the middle of the busy traffic with a red ball in his hands, screaming daddy. He started running towards the boy blindly, ignoring the blaring horns and screeching brakes. He reached and scooped the boy up in his arms and ran towards the town hall. He embraced the boy hard and told him repeatedly,

“I’m hear, I’m here, everything is going to be alright.”

Suddenly a man tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘Thank you very much”. He looked up with uncomprehending eyes. The man said, “For rescuing my boy, Thanks once again”. The man tried to get the boy from him but he would not let go, not now, never. He was supposed to take care of his son not to let him go. The boy started crying, "I want daddy", flaying his arms and legs in all directions. The man gently extracted the boy from him and went away taking the boy with him saying, “It’s alright sweetheart”.

He stood there immovable with both his arms hanging on the sides as if they were of no use any more.

by Smita Singh

Wailings of Love

Where are you
the star of purple nights?
My heart cries
for the axis of its being.
Eyes pour oceans,in search of the pearl,
breaths come and go
yet fails the living air.
Body becomes a machine,
devoid of love's burning lamp.
Each sigh is a call
to the one far away;
the one hiding behind satin veils.
Bells chime only
to rhyme his name,
leaves ruffle,
whisper in pain.
Fire is burning bright,
flames rise to lighten his path.
Love comes calling
riding on remembrance,
memories down the lane,
streets, cities, countries
I cross alone, alone,
in search of my beloved soul.
Where are you?
Come before I vanish,
perish as the vapour on wax.
Let me behold you
one last time,
before my eyes fail,
come before the last wailing
of my dying self!

-by Nandini

Art Rendezvous

Inspite of my phobia of claustrophobic atmosphere, when I entered the packed space in the national gallery, I suddenly found myself surrounded, just by beautiful paintings. Some paintings were so inspiring they made me put the pen to the paper.

One of them was Camille Pissarro's 'The Boulevard Montmartre at night.' (see the painting)
My scribbling:
I could see the city lights ahead of me calling me to be the part of the bright and shining festivity. The beautiful streetlight cuts the road sword-like in half. The bright yellow of the roadside stores are hiding the ominous tall grey buildings behind. The sky is so dark, it’s ready to gobble up all the colours and make it all grey. I feel apprehension running down my spine. I don’t want to be in this bright city. I’d rather be in the dark.
by Smita Singh/Users/smitarajesh/Desktop/favicon.ico

about us

Our Vaani

The Sanskrit word for inner voice, touches the strings of heart, the deep senses and the vocal chords before flowing in the stream of words.
Vaani can recite poems or transform into prose. It can be heard, read or felt ; in every form it splashes the sensibilities, nourishes the spirit and transforms the emotions into pearls of words.
Vaani symbolises the name of the Hindu Goddess of knowledge and art. It is beauty, aesthetics and reasoning personified.
Vaani's shade is pure, pristine white, the colour which can sparkle any verse with its radiance.
Let our Vaani; the true voice of our soul, be our muse.

Vaani is an Asian women writers and their supporters group in the UK. We are very dedicated to our craft. The group consists of women writers from all walks of society. We will keep you posted with all our activities on this website.

Copyright (c) VAANI etc.

Copyright © VAANI. The written piece of work is the property of the individual writers who belong to the group called Vaani. Copying or abuse of any material here is strictly prohibited. Permission of the writer is required to use their work somewhere else. For such matters, Please contact us here .