my birth city


Author Interview: Cindy Pon

The moment I heard about it, I put Want on my to-read list because, um hello, sci-fi thriller set in Taipei? Yes, please. I’m over the moon this book is out in the world now, and we at Rich in Color will be talking more about Want in August! More on that next week. Today, we welcome Cindy Pon (@cindypon) to Rich in Color to talk about Want, writing, and representation. Check it out!

First off, I have to say that I was beyond excited for Want, a YA set in Taipei, Taiwan! I’ve been there! Ahhh! Ahem, anyway… How did it feel, writing a book set somewhere that’s clearly personal for you? Not to mention in an all-too-plausible near future setting that feels very relevant to current events right now?

All my novels are special to me, but WANT especially because it was an ode to my birth city. I really wanted to bring the city alive for readers, I wanted Taipei to be a character in itself. From some reader reactions, I feel like I achieved that for them, and it makes me so happy! As for relevancy, WANT is the novel that took longest from fruition in 2011 to actual publication. Six years is a LONG time, and I began to worry my near-future thriller would be retro-thriller soon enough. ha! Often the reader reactions were that the world felt very believable and real, and that is because I pulled a lot directly from headlines.

One thing I found fascinating was the seamless switching between languages in Want. Different books usually handle this in different ways to varying degrees of success. How did you decide you were going to handle the issue of portraying different languages?

Hmm. It had to make sense but also feel organic and not confusing? I had great beta readers and critique partners, and I relied on them to make comments on points of confusion. I admit I’m a very intuitive writer, so it’s just a matter of does this fit, does it flow, does it make sense? Especially as I’m revising.

I definitely ship Zhou and Daiyu. But another relationship that felt incredibly central to Want was family – the found family of Lingyi, Iris, Victor, Arun, and Zhou. What made you choose this particular cast of characters?

Originally, WANT began as a short story in Diverse Energies (Tu Books) and only featured Zhou and Daiyu. I found both of them utterly fascinating, and it was their dynamic and my curiosity over what their stories were that convinced me to flesh the short story into novel length. As for the squad, I wish I could tell you I did tons of brainstorming and character notecards and trawled through countless images online for inspiration, but as with so much of my writing, they just happened. I did know that I needed distinct characters with distinct traits and abilities to offer to the group. That was the first and easiest thing to decide. Then, they basically told me who they were with each revision.

You referenced the movie Lucy in a Diversity in YA post. For me, Want felt like the anti-Lucy, and that’s something we need way more of. What do you hope to see in the future in terms of Asian representation in media?

I want movies and shows and media in the west to feature Asians front and center as protagonists and heroes, in all genres, from comedy to drama to speculative fiction. We’ve been shunted aside for far too long as far as representation, and so often, the bits we are given are offensive or stereotypical or completely dispensible. All the whitewashing is becoming tired and ridiculous. Our erasure still in media is very real.

The moment I finished reading Want, I wanted (haha) more. I hear there’s a sequel happening. Can you tell us anything about it?

Yes! My fantastic editor offered on RUSE, the WANT sequel, while I was actually in Shanghai for a research trip. So I am hoping to set RUSE in Shanghai. My second books are always dealing with the consequences of what happened in the first novel, and that is what I want to focus on in this one, too. Won’t say much more than that. ha!

Want is definitely going on the top of my list of fave Asian YA reads. What are some of yours?

Aww, that is such a compliment coming from you. Thank you so much, Jessica! I really love Malinda Lo’s Huntress and her forthcoming thriller A Line in the Dark. I also loved The Reader by Traci Chee, Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh, ENTER TITLE HERE by Rahul Kanakia, and Julie Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns! So much more to choose from since my Silver Phoenix debut back in 2009!

I imagine people have asked you what your favorite Taiwanese food is. But what I want to know is… What’s your favorite pearl milk tea flavor?

hahaha! Coconut milk tea OR barley tea (no milk)!

Finally, what new YA books are on your to-read list this year?

I’m super excited to read The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee, Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana, Warcross by Marie Lu, Uncanny by David Mcinnis Gill, The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano, and The Speaker by Traci Chee!

Thanks for stopping by! For those of you reading along, be sure to grab Want for your must-read shelf!

Dear person who I’m going to fall in love with one day,

I haven’t written to you in a while. How are you? I am thinking of you often, especially right now.

I have moved, my love. I have moved to the city of my birth, to our largest city. I wonder if you walk along these volcanic paths? Do you see the crowds like I do?

I have moved from a city of 40,000 people to one of 1.3 million - so forgive me if I seem a little overwhelmed. Yes, this is the city named on my birth certificate but I have not lived here since I was eight years old - and now I’m 22.

Will you laugh at this small-city girl? Put your arm around me and tell me I’m safe when my anxiety rears its ugly head?

Oh, my love, will you hold my hand as we walk down the street and tell me of your tales? Will you laugh as you tell me your stories, your secrets, all the things that make you who I’ll fall in love with?

Then will you come with me? Will you let me lead you down a trip down memory lane? Let me pull out some photos, some journals, curl up on a couch with you and let’s talk. 

I’ll tell you that although I love looking at the sea, I yearn for ranges and rivers. I’ll tell you that although I am slowly learning to love our city, I ache thinking of a simple town. I’ll tell you that although I love the fact that summer lasts all through April here, I wish for cold nights like home.

What will you tell me that night? Will you tell me of what you wish for? 

I am curious. Over half of the population of this city is foreign-born - do you have an accent? Do you come from a different culture? Will you tell me of the history, of the traditions of your family?

I lie in my bed alone at night and I think of you.

I know I’m not ready to be what you need yet. And you may not be ready for me. But when I am, I’ll be yours completely. 

I’ll love you with all I have, and I’ll be the best person I can for you.

I’ve lost count of these letters now, and yet, I am still asking the same question - will you love me?

The girl who will be yours one day.


favorite comic character meme ≻ [1 of 4] artists - phil noto. 
         ➥ [I don’t have a home. A home is a distraction. In my work one cannot have distractions. I wouldn’t necessarily know a home if I had one, though. What there is of my heart is in my work, not on a doormat. I have met operatives who have families and lives beyond the field. (These operatives do not live long.) What you carry with you, it weighs you down, down, down. You might think I’m cold-hearted. I am. I can’t afford distractions. I’ve got work to do… Unfortunately, I admit, I do have a home. I have always had a home. Even if it is not apparent to me or anyone else. Home is where the hurt is. That might be the jungle. It might be back on the streets of my birth city. It might be here. And every home has dangerous predators of its own. Home, perhaps. But if it is… only until the pain subsides.] // BLACK WIDOW (2014) #3

“I couldn’t afford health insurance... Planned Parenthood was there for me.”

To celebrate Planned Parenthood’s 100th birthday, we’re posting 1 story every day from patients and supporters until we reach 100.

Story #20: Ashley Purdum, Planned Parenthood of New York City patient

Ashley Purdum is grateful for an IUD covered under Obamacare and for the family she is choosing to have: her husband and her dog Cliff

When I was in my early 20s and couldn’t afford health insurance, Planned Parenthood of New York City was there for me. In fact, it was the only provider I visited for several years, visiting both the Boro Hall and Margaret Sanger locations for my yearly check-ups depending on which was closer to whatever (crappy) apartment I was sharing (with too many roommates) at the time. 

Keep reading


as some of you might know, i was born on 148th street in manhattan and i spent most of my life living in new york city.  a few years ago i upped sticks(i assume that’s a camping figure of speech.  i don’t know.)  and moved to los angeles.

now when i come back to my neighborhood(east village, lower east side) i stay in a hotel and walk around, marveling at the fact that the neighborhood i lived in and drank in and bottomed out in for 30 some-odd years is so different from what i’d known.

still the same, but different.  more different than the same, to be honest.  it’s still a fascinating place, and i’m still really happy to come back to nyc.  but it creates all sorts of cognitive, and vaguely existential, dissonance, being a tourist in the neighborhood i’d been living in and hanging out in since 1979…
today i walked around for about 5 minutes and took pictures of some of the buildings that didn’t exist a few years ago when i moved to l.a. and then i took a picture from my hotel window, realizing that about 75% of the buildings in the picture didn’t exist when i first moved to this neighborhood, full time, in 1989.

i guess one of my only architectural criticisms would be that most of these buildings could exist anywhere.  they’re nice glass and steel boxes, but they’re still glass and steel boxes.  new york, architecturally, always felt unique to me.

now, i say with some wistfulness, it’s uniqueness has waned a bit.  i still love new york, the city of my birth and the city where i lived for most of my life.  but as time passes and it becomes wealthier and more gentrified it starts to look a little bit more like any number of cities primarily populated by tall glass and steel boxes.

it’s still unique and remarkable.  but i do miss the days when everything about new york felt utterly unique, and when it was a dysfunctional world unto itself.  i guess as the dysfunction wanes it’s inevitably replaced with a quotidian functionality that’s a bit more conventional.


harryshumjr: We are inside you Buenos Aires!!! Explorando la cuidad con@albertorosende @emeraudetoubia #argentina

“I remember that dreadful day. It was on a Friday, around 5 pm and the year was 1993. I was six years old. I went out to play with my friends and we went to a place that was close to my house. Given that we didn’t have much to play with, we scanned the place for objects that we could play with. There were several metal objects laying around. I found this particular medal object that was beautifully shaped and presented to my friends as a nice object to play with. But it kept getting hot so I chucked it away by throwing it in the air and giving it a nice kick. The minute I kicked it, it blew up. I became unconscious. I opened my eyes at the hospital. I tried to get up but was told that I lost both of my legs. I lost hopes and saw my ambitions dwindling away. I gave up on life. You will never walk again, I told myself. I put in my mind that all my plans went out of the window. After several months in the hospital, the UN visited me and were intrigued by my case so they offered me artificial limbs in order for me to walk again. I became hopeful and was suddenly overwhelmed with a new sense of hope. I was the first Somali to have artificial legs fitted. In 1996, I attended an international conference on mine elimination in Switzerland. They kept asking me, what can we do for you, do you want to stay in Switzerland or any other country? I told them to build me a school in my birth city, and they did. It was aptly named after me. I attended my own school and finished high school there. I now have a bachelor degree and campaign for a local organisation that raises awareness for disabled Somali people. You might be physically disabled but that doesn’t mean you’re mentally disabled. If you have an ambition, there are many ways to achieve it.”


“Waxa ay ahayd maalin Jimce ah ilaa shantii galabnimo 1993-kii, waxa aan raacay dhallin da’dayda ahayd si aannu ugu ciyaar tagno meel aan xaafadda sidaasi uga sii fogayn. Waxa aannu ku ciyaaraynay wax kasta oo aannu bidaynay inaannu ka helayno farxad, sida biro ka mid ah birihii meesha yaalay oo aanan garanayn waxa ay ahaayeen. Waxa aannu iska wadanay ciyaartayadii si aannu ugu ciyaarno birihii. Waxaan soo qaaday birtii aan is idhi birihii aad ku ciyaaraysay ayey ugu qurux badnayd, kadib waxa aan u keenay dhallintii ila ciyaaraysay si aan u tuso in birtani tahay birihii aannu ku ciyaaraynay mid ka qurux badan, birtaasi may ahayn mid aan garanayey inay waxyeelo ii gaysan karto, manay ahayn mid aan garanayey inay dhib ii horseedi karto. Waxa ay samaysay sidaan ugu ciyaarayey kulayl intii ka badan oo ah inaan xamili waayo gacan ku hayntii, sidaa darteed waxaan damcay inaan iska tuuro birtii, waxaanan birtii isku raaciyey tuurmo iyo laad aan lugtayda ku sii laagayo, isla markii aan birtii tuurmada iyo laaggii isku raaciyey waxa ay samaysay qarrax, kaasoo ahaa qarax aad u weyn oo gilgilay halkii aan taagnaa oo dhan oo  ahaa mid la dareemayey. Waxaan indhaha kala qaaday anigoo ku jira xaalad ka duwan tii hore waxaanna ku sugnaa isbitaalka guud ee magaalada Hargaysa. Inyar ka dibna waxaa la ii sheegay in labadaydii  lugood ay go’ayn markii aan isku dayay inaan kaco. Waxa aan u arkaayey qof galay nolol madaw, waxaan u arkaayey inaan noqday qof nolol kasta oo uu hiigsanayey ka galay baal madow oo wax kasta oo uu hore u soo samayn jiray aan dib u samaynaynin, waxaan markiiba garawsaday inaanan dib u istaagi doonin, waxaana I galay wax ah nolol ka quusasho oo ah inaanan dib una istaagaynin una soconaynin. Mudo dhawr bilood ah markii aan ku jiray isbitaalka ayaa waxaa isoo maray wafdi ka socday Qaramada Midoobay, waxay indhahooda soo jiitay anigoo ahaa qofkii ugu da’da yaraa ee yiilay isbitaalka ee ay miinadu wax yeelaysay. Waxaan noqday qofki ugu horeyay ee loogu sameyo lugaha macmalka ah kuwaas  oo ii galay kalinti cagahaygii. Sanadkii 1995 waxaa la iga casuumay shir caalami ah oo  lagag hadlayey sameynta ay miinadu ku leedahay adduunka dalka Switzerland. Tusaalena aan uu ah dadki ay miinadu wax yeelaysay iyadoo oo la tusayey dhibtaadda ay uu geysatay caruurta yar yar oo soo kacayey oo lahaa mustaaqbal soo ifaya. Shirka dhamaadkiisa waxaa la ii weydiyey, maxaa laqu qabtaa?  Ma in aad waddankan iska joogto ayaad rabtaa mise codsi kale ayaad wadataa? Codsigaygi wuxuu noqday in la dhiso iskuul aan dhigto, waayo iskuul ima dhaweyn waan ku guuleystay waana la dhisay iskuulki oo loogu magac daray magacayga. Waayo waxaan ahaa naafo ku cusub saxaada naafonimo oo aan meel fog gaadheyn. Iskuulki ayaan ka bilaabay waxbarashadaydii isaga ayaan ku dhameystay dugsigaygii hoose dhexe. Haddana Jaamiciyad baan ahay oo waxaan u dooda una raadiya xuquuda Soomaalida naafadda ah. Haddu qofka naafo yahay, micnaha ma ahaa inuu maskaxda naafo ka yahay. Fikirkayga waa intaad dadaasho ayaad guulaysan kartaa.”


DAY 3187

Jalsa, Mumbai               Dec 19,  2016               Mon  11:54 pm

Birthday - Ef Shefali Jain

Monday, December 19, 2016 .. belated greetings Shefali .. our love and wishes 

Birthday - EF Binita Sarkar

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

the Ef birthday again and the joys of celebration here among the extendium famalium .. love and wishes from us all .. Binita

“A Summit a Summit a Summit it be ..

Among eminent thinkers of the nation, you see 

Its rushed, its chaos, its filled to the T

Questions asked are varied and free …. “

Haaha he .. I find myself in poetry and poetry in me from these past days .. they come the moment I press on the very first words of the writing I do .. I boast in the utterings of my mind by confirming that I am a ‘kavi putra’ .. but that is no confirmation of the unfettered rhythmic shatters of words, that drop by on the issue at stake ..

So do accept them with some compassion and care and give me the liberty as you have for so many years, to continue with this latent talent of lamentable degree and taste .. 

On a plane then in the early hours of the morning of Sunday, for a 2 hr ride to Lucknow, the Capital of the largest state in the country UP - Uttar Pradesh, my birth state, from the city of Allahabad, situated on the banks of the rivers Ganga and Jamuma, sacred in its flow and sacred for its confluence at Sangam , divinity being supreme at this meeting of the two waters - the Ganga, pure divine more white, containing properties that have made its waters sacred .. apparently the water from the Ganga kept for years in storage still does not rot or contaminate or become undrinkable .. which is why its sacred presence in the belief of the philosophy called Hinduism .. and the Jamuna, more dark in color, but its source from glaciers at the high Himalayas, sacred and revered ..

Indeed are not all rivers sacred and revered .. if they were not why on earth did most of the enlightened civilisations decide to make home and city by their banks ..

 The city of Allahabad on the banks of the two rivers, and my birth place, is known for its religious sentiment, its first Universities, its center of political revolt and fight for freedom, the High Courts being among the first in the country and its elevated presence because of the arts and literature - poets writers and creative elements, abounding in every corner ..

The Sangam, or the meeting , where the two great rivers meet, is also known as Triveni .. TRI, three, veni almost similar to veins .. the meeting place of three water veins … three ? yes .. three ! It is believed that a silent unseen undercurrent stream known as the Saraswati, flows within these two rivers and therefore, TRIVENI ..

So Lucknow for a Summit meet event titled ‘THINK with ME’ initiated by a large corporate group Sahara, where different minds get together for a televised event to discuss everything under the sun, and of course THINK ..

Its crowded in the premise of the event, a Hotel in town .. the town looks more organised than when I last saw it .. neat clean roads, and goodness right in the middle of these vast and expansive highway like roads, an entire pathway for cyclists only .. good work and thinking by those that rule  !!

The event is chaotic with people wanting to , and there are millions of them, wanting to indulge in the latest pastime of the nation ….SELFIES ..

On stage the irrepressible Suhel Seth and Anil Kapoor and yours truly talk about films and family and matters and on .. a quick response and questions answered, some with a substantial amount of mirth and out .. out from the madding crowd, distantly waving departure to the wife, who has joined me from Delhi, and rush to the airport to waiting craft and take off for .. KOCHI .. previously named Cochin .. why KOCHI now because like most other city and location names the British who established these during their colonial rule, are being brought back to their perhaps original names .. the phonetics being too difficult for the British to pronounce, they reached a fairly close matching sound and confirmed the name .. Kochi is not too far away from Cochin, sound wise, and it is quite possible the colonisers, could only capture the tone of the name by putting it in their phonetic perspective .. many names all over the country have had similar fate ..

The time for flying is 2:45 hrs .. its literally from one end of North India to the South end of the country .. and so a quick change of clothing, into more comfort and relax, reading up on the papers, having a meagre ,meal, a shut eye, with the earphones of the iphone 7, and Kochi, to await for Abhishek’s plane to land coming in from Mumbai, so we could travel together to the venue - the Finals of the ISL, between Kerala and Kolkata - two cities crazy and passionately mad about football ..

The stadium is maddening .. and its entirely yellow, the color of the Kerala Blasters  ..its an exciting game and at 1-1 its extra time and a shoot out .. Kolkata wins, the passion for the fans from Kerala depleted, but not lost and so rush to the airport to fly back to Mumbai .. which as you now know was a late arrival from yesterday’s Blog ..

There is more to express, but on another day perhaps ..

Its back home after the Stardust awards where they give best actor, for PINK in the Viewers category .. take the award, collect the wife from the audience, a quick interact with the electronic and home to all of my Ef through this Blog, the connector of all ills and messengers of peace ..

It creeps on to 1 am and I have 6 am call for my rehab that has been initiated by me, to bring me results in the body and shape ..

Good night 

Love you all

Amitabh Bachchan