Athwani - 1

Athwani - 1 is the first instalment of Manaswini's short stories written in 'laghukatha' style. Each story is a lucid narration as if she is talking to us readers, telling us stories from her grandma's times, her mom's and the present as if she has lived through it all. Some are real stories and others based on her life experiences. An entertaining light read, quite addictive! More

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About Manaswini

Who is Manaswini?

Manaswini is a middle-class woman who has had a 'not-too-easy' life but pursed her ideals ceaselessly. Naturally, she is faced with many challenges – some imposed due to her high ambitions, some due to her own limitations and others imposed by external factors such as social pressures, cultural baggage, lack of opportunities etc. Manaswini values education above anything else and made her living being a teacher most life, although she had worked in banks, small offices, social institutions before. She is a keen observer, who started as a rebel questioning how and why of things that bothered her, but soon learnt 'acceptance' and became a sensitive person, less critical of denials and injustice dished out on her plate of life. Many of those rebel questions got answered as she plodded along life, some have remained questions to date as she continues to look at the world through changing times. She is still in the making, learning new things from life everyday but has already framed answers / solutions with whatever little she knows / learned in response to that insolent mind of hers. But each and every time she takes a fresh look at herself and the people around her and the society as a whole – there is a certain freshness about her spirit which simply 'seeks'. She thinks about situations and tries to relate those 'critical' observations gaining some unique overviews - which are well-presented in her poems.

She is a quiet person in everyday life but aggressively at work, she believes is important! She has painstakingly compiled her first book of poems. One lovely character of Manaswini is her amazing adaptability, without which she wouldn't have survived through the 'thick and thin' of her challenging life. She cannot help appreciating the changes and has developed an understanding of how things were, how they should have been, what they are now and where are they heading. Her writing captures the changing times, changing moralities and changing attitudes. She cannot help warning us the dangers of 'changing guns' and 'jumping fences' in pursuit of short-term needs, greed; which she observes in people around, all the time!

Manaswini is open-minded and tries to mop-in new influences and technology. Human as she is, with a natural nostalgia, she pushes herself in the new world bravely. She is aware of environment and environmental issues surrounding modernity / development and some of her poems reflect this concern. She is quite positive about it and marries those concerns with adaptability providing us readers with a hope for better future, provided we practise self-restraint as a policy while exploiting nature / technology.

How does Manaswini look?

Let's be honest, Manaswini is not a beauty queen, but she is not bad looking either! She dresses smart to compliment her 'next-door' looks and her witty brains are her powerful fashion accessories. Manaswini mesmerises people around her by radiating her inner beauty through her eyes, words and deeds. Manaswini dresses modestly and has only a couple of designer dresses, which she wears on festive ocassions - but you will never guess, her everyday wear is mostly from the stalls outside that big shopping mall! Manaswini has a slender built, quite athletic, pleasing personality and is slightly taller than the average girls. She wears a conservative plait that twines her curly dark hair and her hair clip matches her dress on most days.
When Manaswini is seen by people, they see not only the person but her personality, her heart and her questioning mind. There were times she wished she was more beautiful when someone else got a random break just for the looks but this insecurity does not really bother her underlying confidence – she is quite content the way she is and knows very well that external beauty is transient and fades with time but being a beautiful soul is for ever.

How does Manaswini talk / sound like?

You will like her the moment she says 'hello' as it's not just her lips but also her eyes saying hello as well. She speaks clearly but softly and her words are fortified with her wisdom and experiences of the world she lives in. Her accent is urban and her grammar is chaste, but her Marathi is corrupted with lots of English, Hindi and Gujarati words, thanks to the cosmopolitan city she dwells. She gets straight to the point and dislikes the general formalities that many people follow knowingly/ unknowingly. Being independent and busy with her own life, she does not have volumes of general gossip but what she knows is of substance and she is absolutely sure about it.

How old is Manaswini?

It's wrong to ask a lady her age, but she is about the same age as you. She has gone through life and her poems talk about the changing world and her adaptability. Her thoughts and thought processes evolve with times, so she is evergreen and young! Should we say - she has gone past her teenage, brought up children and faced middle-class, mid-life crises and come out of it, become mature as a wise old grandma and in a position to guide and advise. Age is only a number, so keep guessing!

Where is Manaswini from?

Manaswini is from India, Indian at heart and will remain Indian. But she is that global Indian who has travelled and spent quite some time abroad, lived and interacted with western cultures and related it to Indian culture time and again. She is firm in her roots, but she seems to have accepted westernisation as an ongoing, inevitable phenomenon during the process of globalisation. Her poems neither show an excessive admiration nor rejection of westernisation.

Will Manaswini tell me what she really thinks?

In general she is not too talkative when it comes to sharing her 'inner' thoughts, she will only talk to her friends or someone she thinks is worth sharing with. It's not coincidental, but almost every time she joins in a conversation, it is at a point when moralities or right / wrong is being discussed or someone has asked her advice on a 'moral issue'. She is fierce and defensive about what she believes is right / wrong and quickly dismisses other arguments that sound immoral or she thinks are based on a certain falsehood. Manaswini sounds quite different when she gets in that mode, her tone of voice changes rapidly but her volume of speech not that much. Words flow out passionately but never will she swear or utter any words that fall out of etiquette. People struggle to keep pace with her chain of thoughts – she skips through the train of thought waves as most of those emotions originate in her heart. Her arguments in defence become far-fetched for some, who then misjudge her and she gets misunderstood in certain circles, simply because she did not clarify the 'obvious' as she went along. But Manaswini does not care, as her experience shows she always gets more supporters than opponents at the end of it and she knows she is on the side of truth and 'truth always wins' somehow! People get converted to her way of thinking after they hear her – she is quite an orator in these extraordinary situations.

So watch out readers – after reading Manaswini's works, you might get converted! Manaswini builds up a lot of emotional baggage but is fair in her evaluations; she goes through a dialogue with the self and the result is fine, classy writings. Read and enjoy!

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