Rani Manicka

Rani Manicka was born and educated in Malaysia. She divides her time between Malaysia and the UK. Her first novel, “The Rice Mother,” won the South East Asia and South Pacific Region 2003 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, has been translated into 17 languages and gained international acclaim.
An economics graduate, Rani used to be a management trainee and after that had her stint in the restaurant trade; ‘a rather awful place where absolutely everyone will try to rip you off’ in her opinion before she began writing books. She reads Mario Puzo, Margaret Atwood, Anita Brookner, Anne Tyler, Martin Amis, and very recently Sarah Hall.
Rani is inspired by her grandmother. She believes that if she lived in our time, she would probably be running a Fortune 500 company. Rain’s mother is the core inspiration for whom she says that 'My library was in my mother's head.' The dinnertime stories of her mother are the backbones of the stories of her novels. Her religious belief reflects her inner simplicity as well as the complexities of the characters that she portrays so deftly in her novels. She says that she is a hindu because her father is a hindu but she could very well be a muslim or a christian or bahai for that matter because she believes that there's just one God.
About the characters in her novels she says that ‘All my characters are flawed often terribly so but I forgive them.’ Rani is a very modest person who doesn’t claim to be any better than everyone else. She is the kind of author who warns us of the darkness within her stories before reading them. And yes we find darkness but it also has the hidden shine that uplifts the humanity. Her novels are:

·               The Rice Mother (2002)

·               Touching Earth (2004)

·               The Japanese Lover (2010) coming soon

There is very little material available on the web about her, so if you know more please write to us. Many Thanks.


Hong Ying

Hong Ying grew up in the slums of Chongquing on the Yangtze River in China. A bestselling author and poetess, she is best known in the English-speaking world for her novel, Summer of Betrayal, and an autobiography, Daughter of the River. Her collection of short stories, A Lipstick Called Red Pepper, has been translated into ten Western languages and Japanese.
Hong Ying was born in Chongquing in 1962 into a boat sailor's family. She was the sixth child in a family of eight, and she endured great poverty and hunger as a child. She spent her childhood in the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution, which claimed the lives of tens of millions, including several of her relatives. Her mother had to work as a brick laborer to feed the family, while her father was too ill to work. She later discovered that she was in fact the illegitimate daughter of a lover her mother took, while her father was in prison. Growing up in a slum on the bank of the Yangtze River, in a neighborhood veiled in fog and superstition, she was constantly aware of the sacrifices her family made so that she would survive. And as she neared her eighteenth birthday, she became determined to unravel some of the enigmas that had troubled her all her life: a stalker who had shadowed her since childhood, an anomalous record in her father's government file, and an unshakable feeling that she was an outsider in her own family. 

At the same time, she began a relationship with a history teacher at her school, who awakened her to the possibility of dissent and to her own emerging womanhood. But, as she learned, the truth cuts both ways. While the professor taught her how to think outside of the borders the government had set, he himself was under political pressure that would prove unbearable. Hong Ying's search for truth led to the discovery of family secret's that changed her life--and her perceptions of her parents, her sister, and herself--tragically and irrevocably. But these same events also set her free to leave home for good and become a writer. She started her freelance writer's career in early 1980s. One of the very few free-lancers at the time, she wrote both fiction and poetry. In late 1980s she studied in Lu Xun Creative Writing Academy and Fudan University. In 1991 she came to England and settled down in London, where she married Henry Zhao.
Hong Ying is known for her writings that demonstrate raw intensity and fearless honesty. She is a controversial Chinese author focusing on the sexuality of women in China, both the positive and negative aspects. A few of her books are:

  • Children Of The Flowers (2009)

  • Daughter Of The River: An Autobiography (1999)

  • Death In Shanghai (2005)

  • K: The Art Of Love (2002)

  • Peacock Cries (2005)

  • The Concubine Of Shanghai (2008)
On August 22nd Adam Williams and Hong Ying were married by the Mayor of Force, Dr Augusto Curti, at a civil ceremony in the town hall of the hill-top Italian village in Le Marche where the couple have a second home. To read more and see some pics click here. Her thoughts on London could be read here.



Hello everyone

We hope that you are snuggled up all cosy in a duvet along with your laptop writing away the fantasies that you can conjure up in this dark cold weather.

Meanwhile, we are planning to bring in lot more fun stuff to our blog. Things like interviews of Asian women writers, regular features (all suggestions welcome) and writing and publishing tips etc.

We are hoping to get a brand new website for us as well in the near future. Part of the job is done as we have bought the domain name and the web designing is under way.

Any advice, suggestions or ideas to promote our VAANI are most welcome from members and none members alike. So please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Until next time
Be good, keep writing!


Meera Syal -Series of Asian women writers.

Meera Syal was born in the Midlands and was brought up in a mining village in the early sixties. Her parents had recently arrived in England from India.
Meera Syal's father was Hindu and her mother was Sikh.
Her fringe show One of Us won an award at the Edinburgh Festival. Since then Meera Syal has been a success in both writing and acting. An early success was the sketch show, Goodness Gracious Me. Meera Syal also wrote and played the granny in the BBC comedy series The Kumars at No 42.
2009 saw Syal cast in Holby City and in the film Mad, Sad and Bad.
Meera Syal's book, Anita and Me, was short-listed for various awards and was made into a film for which she wrote the screenplay.
Her diverse skills were confirmed when she wrote the musical Bombay Dreams, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Meera was awarded an MBE in 1997 and won the Media Personality of the Year award at the Commission for Racial Equality's annual Race in the Media awards (2000), as well as the EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Media Personality of the Year in 2001.
Through her success as an actor and writer, Meera Syal has joined the list of Britain's richest Asians, with an estimated fortune of £4m. She feels her creative forces owe much to the dual identity she has embraced.
Meera Syal is the woman behind some of the UK's biggest hits, hits that have put Asian faces on our screens and stages.


A monologue by Gopali Ghosh

Perhaps the way to begin is not this but I must speak while
I still can. Let me bring an end to imaginary conversations where
I have spoken for both your voice and mine; where I have asked and you have
Smiled in assurance and I have been lulled into hoping.
Perhaps the time is now to end this sham and end this pretence of ours
Or rather mine, where I have thought I am the centre of your existence
And inspiration for each has been the other.
Geminus anima.
Now I know that this is mere delusion, a mirage in the barren lot of my life
That gave succour and sustenance; mana in the desert of the Israelites
I must speak whilst I still can……
Perhaps you can hear me still, perhaps you do not care
I have heard the nightingale sing when you speak
“Now more than ever seems it rich to die
To cease upon the midnight with no pain”
But come, I become maudlin with grief, I cannot weep now.
It is that first day of Ashadh and the rain weeps instead for me, coming far
From the cloud messenger; it knows my shade too well
I must speak while I can ……
Perhaps even pretend I am yours once more.


VAANI's is supported by various organisations.

Redbridge Council and Redbridge Libraries



UAsia Magazine.
Click here to visit them.



Summer Holidays Fun!

Hi Everyone
Hope all of you are having a great sunny spell! It's been late but I am back again with the photos of the Asian Women Education Fair. It was a fabulous experience to be had. So many women in one room! It was hard to imagine but true all the same. The Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Thomas Chan presided over the function. He presented the most notable Asian women Achiever award as well to Adiba Iqbal for her outstanding record of voluntary and community services over the past four decade.

We managed to introduce ourselves to various organisations like Redbridge Adult Education Institute, East London University etc. Over five hundred and fifty people from all over the borough took part in it.

It was an amazing experience. Please click here to read the Uel's blog in detail.

Some of the pics uploaded to share with you all.

Until next time
Take care and happy writing.
The Editor


When the sun set

When the sun set
By Manju chaudhuri

Making up my mind about my last summer holiday destination in India was a difficult one. When I was still undecided about it my thirteen year old daughter Keya said, ‘Mum, can we go to somewhere nice and cool in India? It’s too hot in Kolkata at this time of the year!’

‘Oh darling, you saved my life, what a relief!’ I grabbed her idea immediately.

We’ll go to Nainital, a north Indian hilly town on the Himalayas. It’s beautiful and the weather is always pleasant.’ I said.

‘Have you been there before?’ Keya asked.

‘No, but I heard from people who’d been.’

Keya was over excited. We started to get ready, two weeks later we flew off first to Kolkata. A week later we made our journey to Nainital by train. My newly married niece Bela and her husband Dilip also joined us.

After one and a half day’s journey I really felt exhausted. So next day when my niece and her husband went out with Keya to explore around I decided to stay in bed as long as I wished. I fell asleep and when I woke up it was nearly five o’ clock, it was foggy, cold and very dark outside. When I realised that they’re not back yet I felt a bit apprehensive. So I decided to go out and look for them.

I couldn't’t see them nearby the hotel, so I walked towards a narrow lane leading to the hill. As darkness and fog were covering the surrounding I hurried along as quick as I could in the dark. On both sides of that narrow road were dense woods, I suddenly found myself alone in the middle of the hill. There was nobody that I could ask about them. All bad things that might happen to them started to emerge in my mind. I became restless. It was not only dark and foggy but also extremely quiet. I could only hear some birds flying over my head. Occasionally I could hear some creaky noise nearby. I started to sweat, my throat became dry. I needed a drink that moment. But where could I get a drink? That silence around me and everywhere on the hill was as if suffocating me. I walked a little further to my left and discovered another road going to the right. I decided to go along that road but only to find myself lost on the hill in darkness. I felt crying that moment.

‘What can I do now? How can I go back to the hotel? A bad omen started to work on me.’ I thought. I was sure of that that very moment. I walked straight slowly until I came to a spot where I could see a bit of sky above from. Suddenly something much unexpected at that time and the place drew my attention. I was walking up the hill when I saw a figure standing at the edge of the cliff. I couldn't’t see him clearly from where I was, it was then dark as pitch black where the woods were thick. so I walked closer towards him. The spot where I was standing on that moment was an open place, and by then the stars gave a little light so I could see clearly. A young white man in his thirties wearing his casual clothes is standing there. I couldn't’t believe my eyes. What a scene am I witnessing!

‘What is he doing here? He doesn’t look like an explorer to me, especially at this time of night and at that deadly point of the cliff?’ I murmured to myself.

A strange feeling engulfed my whole existence. ‘Is he thinking of committing suicide?’ As soon as I thought about it I felt numb.

No, no, it can’t be. I tried to reassure myself, but in vain.

An unbroken stillness lay over the surrounding, a silence so intense that I could hear my heart pounding, my palms began to sweat even it was cold; I felt my scalp prickled, and I could see my hair on my both arms stood straight up. I wanted to rush to him, but my feet were as if glued onto the ground. I couldn't’t move. I stopped where I stood and stood still, staring at him. He didn’t move. There he stood, just looking at me.

I understood it wouldn’t be wise to try to go around him. He’d probably do that terrible thing I dreaded earlier. So I decided to speak to him instead.

‘Excuse me, can you hear me?’ I said in a soft voice.

He just stared at me without a word. His eyes seemed to me just blank, without any expression. He was motionless.

‘Can he hear me, or is he pretending to be not hearing?’ I wondered.

I tried to move a bit closer to him. So I said, ‘Don’t be afraid of me, I’m only a friend, you see. I would only like to help you.’

I was by then more closer to him while speaking. Now I could see him very clearly. I looked at him; he was bleeding from his forehead. I noticed his shirt as soaked with blood.

‘How did it happen? Has anyone hurt you? I asked him eagerly.

His eyes were wide open with no expression, no emotion. A strange sound came out of his mouth which didn’t give me enough clues to figure out about the reason. He was still staring at me.

‘Does he want to say something but can’t? I felt so overwhelmed by the situation!

‘Hello, don’t go so near to the edge, it’s dangerous, come on here, please. I pleaded.
He looked at me; a little smile appeared at the corner of his lips for a moment and then disappeared quickly. Before I realised anything that unexpected event has already taken its course. I just heard a thumping sound and he was no longer there at the scene. I looked down; he lay at the bottom of the cliff motionless. I stood there still and speechless at the same time.


Asian women Education and Training Fair-Upcoming Event

Hi All

Good news! We are taking part in the Asian Women Education and Training Fair along with Redbridge Central Library. It is on 16 July 2009. It is an exciting time for all of us at Vaani. We are moving forward!

We hope to introduce ourselves to a wide community in this fair. Many well known institutions are taking part. Some of them are University of East London, Victim Support etc. It would be great opportunity to forge friendships.

Wish us luck and when we come back we will update you on all the happenings.

Until then,

Happy writing!


Thank You

Thank you for your custom. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@vaani.org if you've any queries. Best wishes VAANI.


Vaani 1st AGM

Hello everyone

I know I am late but I've come back to you with great news! We have now constituted Vaani. Vaani is now officially UK's one and only Asian women writers group! The first AGM was held on 07/07/09 at the Ilford central library and the new constitution was decided upon by the executive committee members after haughty debates and meaningful discussions.

Heartiest Congratulations to all the members of Vaani!

Go back

Asifa Hussain

Asifa Hussain is the secretary of the Group Vaani. She works at the Ilford Central library and is the one who brings sanity to the chaotic mess of ideas. Her interest lies in the world of poetry.


Hello everyone

I know I am late but I've come back to you with great news! We have now constituted Vaani. Vaani is now officially UK's one and only Asian women writers group! The first AGM was held on 07/07/09 at the Ilford central library and the new constitution was decided upon by the executive committee members after haughty debates and meaningful discussions.

Heartiest Congratulations to all the members of Vaani!


Working List of Asian Women Writers

  1. Alexander, Meena
  2. Bhattacharya, Bhabani
  3. Chand, Meira
  4. Das, Kamala
  5. De Shoba
  6. Desai, Anita
  7. Desai, Kirin
  8. Deshpande, Shashi
  9. Dissanayake, Daya
  10. Divakaruni, Chitra
  11. Gupta, Sunetra
  12. Gyaltsen, Indira Aiketh
  13. Hariharan, Gita
  14. Jhabwala, Ruth Pawar
  15. Kamani, Ginu
  16. Kapur, Manju
  17. Karmakar, Basanti
  18. Langley, Lee
  19. Mangala, Christine
  20. Markandaya, Kamala
  21. Mathai, Manorama
  22. Meer, Ameena
  23. Mehta, Gita
  24. Menen, Aubry
  25. Mukherjee, Bharati
  26. Nagarakar, Kirin
  27. Namjoshi, Suniti
  28. Narayan, Kirin
  29. Nayak, Meena Arora
  30. Ondaatje, Michael
  31. Padayachee, Deena
  32. Roy, Arundhati
  33. Sadiq, Zeeba
  34. Sahgal, Nayantra
  35. Selvon, Sam
  36. Seth, Pepita
  37. Sidhwa, Bapsi
  38. Siriwerdene, Regi
  39. Sivananda, A
  40. Singh, Shauna Baldwin
  41. Sreenivasan, Kasthuri
  42. Suleri, Sara
  43. Syal, Meera
  44. Varghese, Abraham
  45. Vassanji, M. G.
  46. Verma, Nirmal
  47. Virani, Pinki
  48. Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Playwright
  49. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Author and columnist
  50. Jyoti Guptara, Author
  51. Raman Mundair, Author
  52. Shobna Gulati, Author
  53. Moniza Alvi - poet and writer
  54. Venika Kingsland, Author
  55. Jamila Massey, Author
  56. Preethi Nair, Author
  57. Saira Shah, Author
  58. Monica Ali - Author
  59. Kia Abdullah - Author
  60. Tahmima Anam - Author
  61. Fareena Alam
  62. Xiaolu Guo - chinese british –author
  63. Jung Chang
  64. Marina Benjamin, author of The Last Days in Babylon[10]
  65. Betool Khedairi
  66. Leilah Nadir
  67. Rachel Shabi, author and contributing writer to The Guardian.
  68. Haifa Zangana
  69. Rani Manicka is a novelist, born and educated in Malaysia and living in England
  70. Violet Berlin is a Turkish born English television presenter, writer and producer best known for her coverage of video games.
  71. Zana Muhsen (born 1965) and her sister, Nadia (born 1966) were sisters of Yemeni origin who were born and brought up in Birmingham, England.
  72. Dr. Linda Papadopoulos (born February 3, 1968 in Canada[1]) is a Cypriot-Canadian popular psychologist based in England.
  73. Jeannette Thomson, née Vinta (born 15 May 1959, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Philippines) is a Filipino writer.



Art rendezvous 
Concept of freedom


Monica Ali
Meera Syal
Hong Ying
Rani Manicka
Dr Jung Chang


Wailings of love - Nandini Jawli
Tears in chapatti - Nandini Jawli
I would like to be a dot - Moniza Alvi
What - Junior J
Hang on a minute! - Neema
Lava in my heart - Neema


When Sun Set - Manju Chaudhuri
A Monologue - Gopali Ghosh
Jamaican T shirt - Nandini Jawli
Quagmire - Nandini Jawli
Daddy  - Smita Singh
Nothing to Hide - Smita Singh
Expressions - Smita Singh
Coffee Break - Smita Singh
Chasm - Smita Singh
Shout - Smita Singh
In hell - Smita Singh
Futility of life - Smita Singh




Monica Ali

Monica Ali was born in Dhaka in 1967, and came with her parents to England when she was 3. Her mother is English and her father Bangladeshi. She grew up in Bolton but has spent most of her life in London. She attended Bolton Girls' School and Wadham College, Oxford. She is married to a management consultant. She worked in publishing and design Co. before having their two children. 

She started to write during the brief periods when her son and daughter were both asleep. She was named one of Granta's "Best Young British Novelists" in 2003. Her first novel, Brick Lane was published by Doubleday in the summer of 2003 which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2003.

The novel caused controversy within the Bangladeshi community in Britain because of what certain groups perceived as negative portrayal of people from the Sylhet region. Parts of the community were opposed to plans by Ruby Films to film parts of the novel in the Brick Lane area, and formed the "Campaign Against Monica Ali's Film Brick Lane". The film, starring well-known Indian actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, was successfully made and distributed both in the UK and internationally.

The campaign was allegedly supported by Germaine Greer, who wrote that: "As British people know little and care less about the Bangladeshi people in their midst, their first appearance as characters in an English novel had the force of a defining caricature ... Some of the Sylhetis of Brick Lane did not recognise themselves. Bengali Muslims smart under an Islamic prejudice that they are irreligious and disorderly, the impure among the pure, and here was a proto-Bengali writer with a Muslim name, portraying them as all of that and more." Greer's involvement has angered some within the British literary community. Salman Rushdie has called it "philistine, sanctimonious, and disgraceful, but ... not unexpected".
Activists told The Guardian they intended to burn copies of Ali's book during a rally to be held on July 30. But the demonstration was uneventful.

A review by Sukhdev Sandhu in the Guardian starts with an intriguing sentence, 'Bricklane used to be the home of the dead.' Full review is here.

Her new novel In the Garden is coming out soon. Our best wishes are with her.

By The Editor

New series of posts

Hi all

I hope all our readers including our members are busy writing and of course reading a lot too. We are planning to start a new series of posts about various known and unknown Asian women writers to inspire and motivate us all.

The posts would be published every month dedicated to one of the Asian women writers. All are welcome to suggest and contribute.

Take care
by Editor

Go back


Tammy Ho

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born poet and editor currently based in London, UK. Among other things, she edited Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology (School of English, The University of Hong Kong) in 2006 and co-edited Love & Lust (Chameleon Press) in 2008. 

She is also a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (est. 2007), the first Hong Kong-based online literary quarterly in English. Tammy's own creative works have been published in many places and her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

She is now pursuing a PhD degree in English Literature (focusing on Neo-Victorian fiction) at King's College London. More at www.sighming.com. 


Good news abounds!!

Redbridge Local Authority

Updating you on the post regarding the meetings with the local council, the good news is...well any guesses?! The Redbridge council will be supporting us via the Ilford Central library. Their support is definitely going to open new avenues for us. We hope to promote our group on a wider scale with their help.

A big thank you to them!

Three cheers for all of us, Hip Hip Hurray! Hip Hip Hurray!! Hip Hip Hurray!!!

Here is to new beginnings.
Take care and Happy writing.
by the Editor


The Great Way is not difficult

The Great Way is not difficult 
for those who have no preferences. 
When love and hate are both absent 
everything becomes clear and undisguised. 
Make the smallest distinction, however 
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. 
If you wish to see the truth 
then hold no opinions for or against anything. 
To set up what you like against what you dislike 
is the disease of the mind. 
When the deep meaning of things is not understood 
the minds essential peace is disturbed to no avail. 

The Way is perfect like vast space 
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess. 
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject 
that we do not see the true nature of things. 
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, 
nor in inner feelings of emptiness. 
Be serene in the oneness of things 
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves. 
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity 
your very effort fills you with activity. 
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other 
you will never know Oneness. 

- Sengstan 

translated from the Chinese


Excuse and explanation, two sides of the same coin!

First of all please accept our heartiest apology for being away for such a long time. We have been busy in trying to find a way to get any kind of help from our local authority to bring progress and more like minded members in our group. We are still in the process of talking to the art department of the central library and hoping that by next week there would be some news that could bring a brighter smile to our face than the sun this week:))

The Ilford central library is celebrating the Book and Media festival at the moment. We are waiting with baited breath to meet Monica Ali who is the author of the novel Bricklane. She is coming to discuss her next one called In the Garden on the 1st of May 2009 at the Wanstead Library.

We are proud to let you know that Hema Macherla is going to read from her debut novel The breeze from river Manzeera and answer questions along with her publisher Lynn Michell of Linnen Press who is giving a talk on the 30th of April 2009 at the Ilford central Library as part of the Redbridge Book and Media Festival.

Its said that a brilliant writer is found only when he/she comes out of his/her shell and meets and greets people who could help them to be known to the world. We at Vaani believe in it and hope to arrange for a proper venue soon so that it could be a meeting ground for all of us and to take us to places where only few reach, our space on the sky!

Well nothing works if we don't still find time to do what's our job and that's writing, so here's wishing everyone Happy writing.

By The Editor


Driving from St Andrew’s to Crail

Driving from St Andrew’s to Crail is a pleasant enough experience in summer. The road winds itself around agricultural land and farms wrapped in golden sunshine. Crail is an ancient village on the Firth of Forth and boasts a miniscule harbour (dry when we came). Apart from the scenic beauty of the Forth estuary, Crail harbour’s stone semicircular wall has a gastronomic secret that is Crail Lobster- claws firmly clamped in blue tape enjoying Death Row in a small cement bath outside a shed on the harbour, looking fairly happy as they swim about, being brought in, on the early dawn catch. The smiling proprietors will help you choose your victim(s) and then douse the poor fellows in a boiling bath. Sea gulls croon keening choruses mourning the demise of the denizens of the deep.

For starters there’s dressed Crail Crab, rosy pink as a flamingo, split open, stuffed with white and pink meat and neatly wrapped in cling film. They will even provide lemon juice, vinegar, mayonnaise and Tabasco sauce to add to your guzzling enjoyment.
Then comes the piece de resistance for the epicure gastronome; a blue tin tray, a bit dented but still bright with Blue Willow designs and reposing on it two glass dishes shaped like fish. On these are the are the two fellows you have taken to the gallows; split open right down the middle, shiny red outside on outside and pearly white on the inside, glistening in the late afternoon sun.
The added bonus is that all passersby on the harbour path look at you on the picnic bench; some frankly envious as they look at your picnic alfresco and others smile at your enjoyment. Others even stop to talk, enquire about the sweetness of the flesh and then go on to the little shack and cement bath to enquire about a takeaway lobster or a dressed crab depending on your recommendation for a late lunch.

Finally when all that is left are white and red shells and crumpled serviettes, you have come to the end of a journey. For approximately £25 you have dined as handsomely as Nigella, sloppy hands and all.
You sit on your bench, replete, and survey the stone built houses, like a child’s first drawing; a good fifty lobster pots are stacked neatly in front in preparation for the dawn catch tomorrow. A seagull perches on the chimney and the only sound is of the occasional helicopter’s lazy drone. The harbour is still dry, well muddy and slimy with four little white and green boats sitting squatly in random pools of water. From your picnic bench at the edge of the harbour car park (free) you can see three uneven terraced houses; two tall ones at each end and a short one in the middle. As you look closely, you notice that the middle house is almost picture perfect down to the cream and pink roses clambering over the blue painted door. Your gaze lifts upwards and in stunned shock you see the little dormer bay with its oval window framed with 4 pieces of glass. There, high up on the roof two large red lobsters and a white crab keep each other company as the wind blows by.

a travelogue by Gopali Ghosh


Beware the Ides of March!

The soothsayer's warning to Julius Caesar, "Beware the Ides of March," has forever imbued that date with a sense of foreboding. But in Roman times the expression "Ides of March" did not really evoke a dark mood—it was simply the standard way of saying "March 15." Surely such a fanciful expression must signify something more than merely another day of the year? Not so. In fact even in Shakespeare's time, sixteen centuries later, audiences attending his play Julius Caesar wouldn't have blinked twice upon hearing the date called the Ides.

But Julius Caesar's bloody assassination on March 15, 44 B.C., forever marked March 15, or the Ides of March, as a day of infamy. It has fascinated scholars and writers ever since. For ancient Romans living before that event, the ides simply marked the appearance of the full moon. But the Ides of March assumed a whole new identity after the events of 44 B.C. The phrase came to represent a specific day of abrupt change that set off a ripple of repercussions throughout Roman society and beyond.

This month keeping to the above idea, it would be great if the 'Vaanikars' the name suggested for the members of Vaani by Gopali Ghosh could get interested in the idea to write about an insignificant thing or a phrase that becomes significant when written in a context.

Any future writing exercise ideas are welcome.
Happy writing!

by The Editor


When you are in hell

I am sitting on my single bed alloted to me. My head looks gaunt and my neck is longer like never before. I look pretty like never before up to the fashion standards, size zero. Historically I've been overweight until recently. Until recently I had everything in extra. Until recently I didn't had the one thing that I never wanted. Since its onset I have kept on loosing one thing after another from hair to weight to breast to appetite to lovers to memories. 

Its said that both heaven and hell are here on this earth, we do not have to go too far or to wait too long to be there. Although people always mistake this as an after effect of death and are merrily whiling away their life with the idea that whose seen what's heaven or hell. I believe in it as I've been to both. I don't mind loosing at all, I know I'm doing my time in hell. 

But there is one thing that I think is really cruel and that's the denial of a cup of coffee. One day they say its good for cancer then next day its not. I say, does it really matter when you are in hell.

By Smita Singh on CRUEL


Valentine's day

A heartiest wish of infinite bundles of love to all the members and the visitors of Vaani. 


On killing a woman

There are many ways to kill;

The short sharp shock of the battlefield bullet
Intent on piercing its way through tissue and bone
Till it arrives at its final destination;
Spent of venom,
And gives kindly relief

Then there is the drum full of caged liquid fire
Lovingly licking all accessible tender skin, hair and eyes;
Barbequed flesh done to perfection.

Finally there are words and fists in equal measure
Each a little death in itself but not quite;
Only the laboured breaths know
Of the agony of waiting for the next
Until surrender to oblivion’s tender embrace.

By Gopali Ghosh on CRUEL


The cruel Moon by Robert Graves

The cruel Moon hangs out of reach
Up above the shadowy beech.
Her face is stupid, but her eye
Is small and sharp and very sly.
Nurse says the Moon can drive you mad?
No, that’s a silly story, lad!
Though she be angry, though she would
Destroy all England if she could,
Yet think, what damage can she do
Hanging there so far from you?
Don’t heed what frightened nurses say:
Moons hang much too far away.



Calling to all the Asian women writers to write on the word 'cruel' for the month of February 09. Haven't we all been subjected to one or the other form of cruelty be it so small like being denied the time for a beauty nap due to work pressure or something huge like being denied to voice your opinion in a home setting or work setting. We feel this emotions sometimes genuinely and sometimes its just a whiff of a feeling. Here is a chance for you all to put words to that unnamed, unacknowledged flighty feelings, so please let your imagination free and paint the upcoming posts with your work of art!

Smita Singh

Smita Singh is the Chairperson and Treasurer of Vaani. She initiated the movement called Vaani, a platform for Asian women writers to meet, to exchange, to share ideas.

She has a first class Masters degree in English Literature and a variety of experiences of working in the city at various levels. At the moment she teaches post graduate class in one of the colleges in London.

She writes short stories, novels and blogs like mad! You can find her on www.kaali.wordpress.com and off course here at Vaani.

She thinks that Asian women writers need to be encouraged to keep going, to never leave faith and to be given opportunities to come up and be heard. So who are we to say no:))

Nandini Jawli

Nandini Jawli is one of the Executive committee members of Vaani.

She is among the first ones to support the idea of the group.

She is a journalist by profession. She also writes fiction whereas her main interest lies in novel writing. She believes in hard work, commitment and dedication to the art of writing.

Hema Macherla

Hema Macherla was born in the rural village of Atmakur, Andhrapradesh, India. She came to the UK in 1977 speaking very little English. She lives with her husband in London and has two grown up children. She has published 25 short stories and a number of articles in Indian magazines. Breeze from The River Manjeera is her first novel.

Breeze from The River Manjeera
Breeze from the River Manjeera tells the story of the engaging Neela who arrives in England as a bride for the brutal Ajay. The life that awaits Neela is a far cry from her hopes and expectations. Treated worse than a servant by her in-laws, and unwanted by her husband, she finally escapes in search of independence and freedom. The novel explores in a personal, moving way the issues around the deep-rooted traditions of arranged marriages and the struggle for young women like Neela to find love and happiness.

If you would like to buy the book then please follow the link below



We came across this useful site that has more or less similar philosophy. Please feel free to browse it. It has some good example of fiction and poetry. Just to be aware of what's going on in the market. We all want to improve ourselves as a writer as well as a human being. Every article, every story teaches some valuable things to us. The link for reference is http://www.womenwriters.net/. Please let us know if you have any ideas for improving our blog.

Until next time...

Gopali Ghosh

Gopali Ghosh is a valuable member of Vaani. Here is her vaani...

The women who live in my stories have their genesis in the experiences I have had and the shared experiences of my fellow women.
They are women who have loved and struggled to come to terms with life in an alien land where the only strength they have had to rely on is their own. Some of these stories were inspired by people I saw at airports, at shopping malls and the recycling centre! The thematic connection between all these women is that they have a life beyond the one prescribed for them by society, which they have had to discover through pleasant or unpleasant means but they have all ended up as being the stronger for it. My agenda is not an overtly feminist one, but one where women discover the latent strength within themselves.
My name is Gopali Ghosh. I have lived in the UK for 16 years and have taught English Literature and Language for some time now in various schools.


Call for Monthly Submission

Hi Ladies
We are open to submission from Asian women writers who live in the UK. This months prompt is 'Imagine.' Please feel free to send in your bit on the subject.
Happy writing!



Imagine the world where there is no air
we would be shrunken stiff.
Imagine the life without a lie
there would not be a reason to live.
Imagine the morning without the tea
there'd hardly be any action in me.
Imagine if there was no imagination
the world would've tough time to be.



The eyes flicked about aimless
The fists tightened and relaxed spasmodic
The legs shook, sometimes vigorous, sometimes lazy
The back flexed, curved then straight like a rod then curved again,
A bow ready with an arrow to shoot
A nerve ready to break out of the skin playing its wild music at the small of a temple
A long shadow on the wretched body, cut it in half
half dead, half alive.

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 .