When young Dipika Mukherjee came home with her hair chopped off, taking one look at her strict and conservative father, feeling that women should look a certain way, she was like, ‘Oh, my God. What have I done?” Her dad didn’t shout at her. Instead, he quoted Sanskrit playwright Kalidasa’s poem about Shakuntala and how her beauty lay in her wavy hair.
“He had every way of educating me with literature. When I went to study this subject at bachelor’s level, he spoke of the influence the Irish had on Tagore. The three brothers also I loved Rit so much I grew up thinking that everyone in my family did, and then I realized that some families didn’t read poetry.I had an unusual upbringing.Bengali, Hindi, English. There was always a lot of books about, and a love for letters.”
Dipika, who became a mother herself, understands how difficult it was for her father, a diplomat, to instill language and culture in his children. His family followed his post and moved from Geneva to Jakarta to Wellington, New Zealand. “We spoke Bengali at home and laid a lot of groundwork. He taught us how to stay forever.”
Kalidas Mukherjee, who passed away in 2021, appears in various poems of Dipika. dialect of distant harbor. one here, Bangkok, about what her parents had met and talked about since before she was born. Another photo shows how much he has traveled in his life, from rural Bangladesh to India, literally doing nothing after the split.
At the age of 14, he started working in a homeopathic clinic to raise research and other funding. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and a Master’s degree in Philosophy. In the diplomatic corps he met ministers and kings. “He gave us this tremendous height from which we could start our careers. One of the things he instilled in me from an early age was the importance of education. It was sex.
Standing on the shoulders of writers she devours and delights has taught her that truly great people hold your hand and make you feel like offering yourself to embrace the whole world. Like when she met Su Tong in China, holding up a red lantern When rice.
In 2009, Dipika’s debut novel, Thunder Demonreissued as an ode to the broken, was a finalist for the Man Asian Literary Prize. “That’s when I thought, ‘Okay, I can say I’ve written this.’ It was a great experience — agents started reaching out to you,” she recalls.
Su Tong ship to redemption, final winner. She met him at the Shanghai International Festival for an event. “He’s so big. I was reading rice In college, I fell in love with it because it was so dark and so beautiful. I was 20 and it was impressive.
“He came in and I said, ‘Hello, nice to meet you. Both of our books were considered for male Asians. After an interpreter translated it, he said a little He looked confused, then I said, “When I saw your name on the list, I knew you were going to win.
“After the interpreter’s interpretation, Su Tong turned to me and said, ‘Oh, no, no. That was a mistake. You should have won. gave me
“What a scalability of mind, and it is essential to our work, because literature is really about scalability of mind. I really hope to emulate these big guys.”
An Indian national who has been married to a Malaysian and has been a permanent resident of the country for over 20 years, Dipika is headed in the right direction. She has mentored writers in Southeast Asia and compiled an anthology of her five fictions from the region. the fruit of endings and beginnings, bitter root sweet fruit, champion blowjob, silverfish new book 6When Merlion and hibiscus.
She is also a writer and has three novels. shamballa junction (British Virginia Fiction Award winner), an ode to the brokenWhen rule of desire — and three books of poetry: third glass of wine, Exiled palimpsest When dialect of distant harborThe last was released by CavanKerry in 2022.
Penguin Random House (SEA) publishes a collection of essays on her travels. writer postcardsthis year.
Dipika writes world literature today, Asian Literary Criticism, Chicago Quarterly Review, Newsweek, los angeles book review, hemisphere, Orion, scroll, option, Peeing and other publications. she also jaggery He also teaches short fiction at StoryStudio Chicago and fiction writing at the University of Chicago’s Graham School.
Other institutions where she has taught include the University of Chicago, Shanghai Foreign Studies University, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Malaysia International Islamic University.
Poetry, she says, began her writing and never abandoned her. At the age of 11, she posted three of her poems on the children’s page of a New Zealand newspaper, two of which she published. “When people started saying they saw my poems, I thought this was great. People are reading your work.”
Who reads poetry? When asked if she thinks about it when she writes poetry, she said: Poetry is something that poets cannot write. It’s like I have to write. There is something that comes to you, but it can only be poetry. “
Many people are overwhelmed by poetry, she points out. “A teacher throws a poem at you and says, ‘Tell me what it means. ‘ That’s the part people resist. Poets use images that readers can’t connect. So it’s not that poetry is inaccessible. Our thinking is that it needs to be unwrapped and unwrapped the hard way. It doesn’t have to be.”
Dipika had sons at the ages of 26 and 28, and completed a PhD in English (Sociolinguistics) at Texas A&M University a year later. She remembers her ten years of her life as “a little blurry.” Her fiction came back to her when she was teaching at her NTU, her first academic position after completing her PhD.
Penguin approached her in 2002 about creating a collection of Southeast Asian fiction. She met with various scholars, two of her being her Kirpal Singh and Mohammad Abdul Qayyum. merlion and hibiscusshort stories by writers from Singapore and Malaysia.
“It was a great experience because I got to meet KS Maniam, Katherine Lim and Alfian Saat who are some of the luminaries of the literary world from this part of the world. As hard as it may sound, I kept thinking, “I can do that. I can write like them.” i should try. That’s what got me into writing again — I started writing little short stories. “
Chicago has been Dipika’s hometown since 2012 after Shanghai, but she visits Malaysia about three times a year to mentor artists, give lectures and workshops, and spend time with her extended family by her husband’s side. doing. In her Kuala Lumpur condo, her glass doors are open and there is no air conditioning. “I love it here — 25 degrees! Back to freezing weather.”
from her experience merlion and hibiscus In subsequent projects, Dipika found that Malaysians did not like to modify their work. They often do something and send it off for publication right after it’s done. “If you don’t edit your writing, it will reveal silly little typos and overused adjectives.”
The good news is that Sharon Bakar, a teacher trainer who teaches creative writing, does a good job of printing very cheap books and passing them on to young people.
There are many gatekeepers in the West: publishers, editors, proofreaders. Writers here don’t have that. At best, they have a friend to read their copy, but I’m a little shy to say it’s garbage. In the US, if a part is bad, you are instructed to remove it.
“I hope things change in Malaysia as there are still many untold stories from here. I want to be part of a group that helps voices be heard. We also talked about reviving the
In 2015, Dipika established the DK Dutt Award for Literary Excellence in Malaysia to honor the life of educator and avid sportsman Delip Kumar Dutt (1929-2015).Edited by her and Sharon champion blowjobis a sports-themed collection representing the best stories submitted for the first year’s awards. The winning entry was Hannah Arkaff and the runners-up were Marc de Faote, Sarath Manickam and Tina Isaacs.
This article first appeared on The Edge Malaysia on January 16, 2023.