Abha Dawesar Blog

Family Values has been released! Babyji is now available in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, and Thai. The Hebrew and French translations of That Summer in Paris are also out. My site: www.abhadawesar.com
I also have a FRENCH BLOG.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Of course the irony is that when there is a lot to be blogged one is in too much of a frenzy to actually do it! Where to begin and what to cover? You can read about some of my upcoming events further down in Bratislava (Art), Bangalore & Hyderabad (new novel Family Values), and New York (the Sixth Annual SAWWC Literary Conference sponsored by the New School & the Asian American Writers Workshop).

Family Values launched!
My new novel was released on the 20th of January in Delhi by the French Ambassador Mr. Jérôme Bonnafont who absolutely stole everyone’s heart with his wit and presence.
Penguin’s Managing Editor Ranjana Sengupta introduced the event and the President of Alliance Française in India, Mr. Varadrajan also spoke.

H.E Jérôme Bonnafont, Ambassador of France to India, myself & Mr. Varadrajan.

I’m very grateful to everyone who put this rather touching event together for me behind the scenes both at Penguin (specially Smriti!) and at the Alliance (Marielle, Tato).

Smriti, Marielle & Ranjana

The day after the launch I headed to Jaipur to lounge in the main hall of the book festival and heard Nadeem Aslam in a very thoughtful conversation with Shoma Chaudhury, Nandan Nilekani on his new tome Imagining India (don‘t miss his NYPL event with Tom Friedman if you are in the big apple in March), Wendy Doniger talking about her book The Hindus: An Alternative History to her former student Arshia Sattar, and most peppy of all, a town hall style debate on Madhu Trehan’s book, six years (?) in the making, Tehelka as Metaphor, with Manoj Raghuvanshi. The tent outside by the pool too boasted some interesting debates Ashis Nandy & Christophe Jaffrelot (Nandy roundly sounded off Jaffrelot for believing that since Europe had discovered the Enlightenment India ought to get there as well, a fantastic subject on which next time Jaffrelot should be allowed to debate) and Tulsi Badrinath who read from her novel Meeting Lives and performed one of its stanzas in Bharata Natyam. On the way back from Jaipur, as if echoing Madhu Trehan’s book and the passionate town hall debate on systemic corruption, I had a group of smartly-dressed twelve year old boys in red-blazer uniforms demand thirty rupees when I asked them where to turn at a traffic island for the highway to Delhi. At this age? Already? We’re going to need a bone-marrow transplant.

Daniel Georges, one of the curators of the international traveling exhibit Your Documents Now, says that the show is moving now from Berlin to Bratislava. It opens in Bratislava on the 12th of February. I have a piece in this show.

Some upcoming events for Family Values include:

Valentine’s Day at 7pm. Crossword Bookstore, ACR Towers, 32 Residency Road, opposite Gateway Hotel. I will be in discussion with fellow novelist Shinie Antony and we are hoping to cover the span of my four books under the theme Love: Erotic, Neurotic & Sclerotic. Rsvp: Hasan (93422 77977)

21st February at 6pm. Book reading & discussion at Akshara Bookstore (most likely the West Marredpally location but subject to change). The Director of the Alliance Française Mr. Frédéric Dart will introduce me and Priti Aisola will give a vote of thanks. Please watch the events space for more details or call Akshara on 04027804626

28th February 5-7pm. Panel Discussion on Family Values with Ravi Singh, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Penguin Books India, Novy Kapadia Professor Delhi University & Mrinalini Patwardhan Mehra, Novelist. I’ll field questions from the panelists. This is a terrific line up and I’m looking forward to it. Venue: Alliance Française, 72 Lodi Estate.

The Sixth Annual SAWCC Literary Festival
New York

March 7th 4:15-5:30pm Passing Strange: Race, Gender and Sexuality. Panel Discussion moderated by Svati Shah with Farzana Doctor, Chandra Prasad & me. Venue: The New School, 6 East 18th Street, 9th Floor.

Also March 7th 7pm. Closing Night Reading for the conference. I’m reading from Family Values. The other writers and poets reading are Meena Alexander, Farzana Doctor, Minal Hajratwala, S. Mitra Kalita, Yesha Naik, Amy Paul, Zohra Saed, and Purvi Shah. This event is at Bar 13, 35 East 13th Street which is walking distance from the New School where the rest of the conference is being held. Kudos to SAWCC for remaining such a vibrant organization after all these years and renewing itself repeatedly! If you are a South Asian Woman in the arts looking to get involved then sign up.

I’m invited as a writer-in-residence at Passa Porta in Brussels in April. If you are passing through get in touch.

Finally, I had a massive computer crash (my computer would not reboot even after using a recovery CD for XP) and learned a lesson that cost me a lot of time. If you are running XP and have a password when you log in then your hard drive encrypts the data. Even if you remove your hard drive and run it in an external casing the data will not be visible. Many hours of web-surfing later I've found two good solutions: 1) The easier one is to link your hard drive via an external casing to a Windows Vista machine which will automatically ask you if you want to over-write your security settings and ownership; choose Yes. The data will be decrypted and you can save it. (2) Log into the computer on which you are running your old hard drive in safe mode. Acess the drive via explorer and choose the security settings with a right mouse click. You will find a tab called ownership, change that to administrator and make sure you have ownership at all levels, not just read only. You can now save this data. If you are not logged in in safe mode then even if you have administrative privileges the data remains opaque. To log in in safe mode press F8 several times on the keyboard as your computer boots up. If you have a quirky computer this won't work if you've used the restart option, you have to shut down, boot up and press F8. Well, if the publishing industry continues to nosedive along with the global economy I know where I can find a living. And dear monopolistic, Microsoft, if you are looking for guidance on how to write more meaningful error messages on your support site feel free to consult me, I have my prosthetic brain back now.



Blogger Ajay said...

the bit about the rescue act on the hard drive was enlightening,Abha..sorry I can't make it at Bangalore..will definitely request my friend(the gentleman who took on the daunting task on my behalf..if you recall) to stand in..
great to get back in touch after TAPS. Wish you all success.
Ajay Dogra

8:19 AM  

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