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The jitters have started. Finally began packing last night. In another four days, I board a train to Dilli (which used to be the Other City of this blog, except that it’s my other city no longer); in a couple of days from there, I take two flights to Seattle for the Clarion West Writing Workshop. I fly in the direction opposite to the earth’s motion and across the international date line, so a very long flight schedule will still find me in Seattle on the same day. All these things are new.

I have to write six new stories in six weeks. I have been given a very prestigious and very humbling scholarship. I will meet a lot of interesting people, a number of smart and seriously talented people, some of them likely to be so famous that even people back home (where the awareness of contemporary international SFF is surprisingly low) would have heard of them. For a month, I haven’t come up with a single plot that holds beyond a few pages.

Raiding my old steel almirah to start packing has made me realise that I own more clothes than I know what to do with, more clothes than I even know.  I am not really a wardrobe girl, which is sometimes worse. I don’t look through my clothes often enough. So I pick up a nice bit of clothing somewhere and proceed to stuff it into my almirah, and soon I forget all about it. I wear the same five or six staples over and over again, and the nice new thing lies in there, untouched for years.

My long holiday at home is coming to an end. I don’t know if I appreciated it well enough — I recall long periods of being bored out of my mind and feeling stifled for the lack of company in the Home City, abandoned nest of all its children. I wrote more than I had done in years, and read a great deal too. I travelled and went to watch films with Ma, made so many trips into the city with her. I had a car and a driver at my disposal most of the time. I visited Bangalore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Benaras, Bombay, Ajanta-Ellorah-Aurangabad and London. I chilled around in air-conditioned bliss while the rest of the country blistered and sweated its way through what was one of the worst summers in years. Back now again to a life of living out of suitcases, bad cooking (my own), always keeping a budget, and so, so much of the world to see.

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