Writing in a City of Contrasts


Blasting horns. Bonnet-to-boot traffic. Cars weaving jaggedly along cramped highways like a stream of water rippling over pebbles. Haze in the sky so thick you can’t see the sea. Dust turning the streets a monochrome palette of sepia-grey. Dull. And yet, so rich.

Colour is found in discord.

The noise of horns is entertaining in its uselessness. There’s no aggression behind the wheel, just a benign desire to hurry up. Despite the apparent chaos, the traffic moves ahead and accidents are few. Driving skills are sharp and accurate.

The smog turns the rising and setting sun into a luminous orange ball. The dim backdrop of dirty pavement highlights the saris of bougainvillea pink and emerald green, peacock blue and marigold yellow. The range of fruit and vegetables for sale along the roads create a kaleidoscopic display: fat, red strawberries, pomegranates like cricket balls, maroon carrots and tens of different greens. The freshness beats anything I’ve seen. Flower garlands of burgundy, orange and white hang like curtains over matching sweets: offerings for the deities, an integral part of the culture.
The castes and religions knit together as one. People have their roles, traditions and beliefs and manage to get along. The language is soft, the head-wobble, endearing. The cows, dogs and crows mingle with traffic and people, and no harm is done.

I’ve come to India to do research for the writing of my novel. But of course, I’m getting so much more out of it than that. People are interested, generous and helpful. I’m learning from them and my life is enriched. They too wish to learn and enrich their own lives and being kind is good karma.

Mumbai is a city of contrasts: rich and poor, drab and bright, material and spiritual. And a great setting for a story.


A Change of Course


Auburn Clare Valley May18 (14)


For my first blog, I’d like to share with you why I’m doing it.

This serves two purposes: one to let you know what it’s about so you can decide if it interests you and two, so I can figure out why I’m doing it.

Since the question was put to me at a 50th birthday party, ‘What are you going to do now that your youngest child has finished school?’ I found myself wondering. My role had been professional-perfect-wife and worthy mother. My husband’s journey and the growth of our children had always come first. I supported them fully.

Suddenly, with this question, I was like a wriggling caterpillar in a cocoon, desperate to emerge a free butterfly.

It’s common in middle age to assess what the rest of your life will look like if you stay where you are. Some people are content, some complacent, some apathetic, some restless and some miserable.

I felt I was shackled, like the life force was being drained from me. I tried to gather together good enough reasons to stay but in truth it wasn’t working. I was terrified but bundled my fears into a box, gathered my strengths and dreams, and took a giant leap of faith.

As an emerging writer, I want to find my voice. Writing has become as necessary as breathing.

Being a social creature and a middle-aged woman, I’ve developed an interest in understanding people and relationships.  Age, introspection and self-help books have conspired to put me on the road to wisdom. The more wizened I become, the more I want to share.

The natural world – scenery, environment and creatures – is my passion. I need to be outdoors every day. Taking photos is a spinoff of the beauty I notice. The desire to travel and explore gives me extra impetus to blog.

So this blog is about life, relationships, women’s issues, creativity, nature, travelling and writing.

I hope you’ll join me.