Asha Tanna Journalist - Fierce Women's Collective
From here I began thinking about Asha and building her character around this strong picture. I knew I wanted her to stand out from the crowd, so I gave her striking green eyes.
She is also born around Divali in a thunderstorm which gives her a special sixth sense. He is the opposite of Asha. But he is a very good friend to Asha. He is kind and gentle and would do anything for her — even trek through the wild Himalayas! Asha and Jeevan are very different. What do you think they each bring to their relationship? There is a saying that opposites attract and Asha and Jeevan are very different. It is partly this difference which means they do so well together. When one of them falters or feels upset, the other one pushes forward and comes to their rescue.
They have a very equal friendship and support each other though thick and thin.
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I think I am definitely more like Asha! But I based Jeevan a little on both of my sons who are very kind and loyal. What struck me throughout the story is the sheer independence and courage displayed by the children — they never rely on the adults to save them! Their decisions propel the story forward and provide many of the twists and surprises.
Could you talk about this a bit more? I really wanted this story to be about the importance of family and friendship. It was crucial that Asha and Jeevan used their own resources when they were pushed into difficult situations created by adults. I think children have a very strong sense of justice and fairness and it is incredible what they can achieve when they put their mind to it.
How much of their relationship has been influenced by your own relationship with your grandmother? My relationship with my majee, my grandmother, was the central inspiration for Asha And The Spirit Bird.
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She was a very strong figure in my life and she gave me my love for stories as well as faith in reincarnation. I found it incredibly comforting to think that when she died she would never really leave me. While I was writing the story I felt that she stayed by me, encouraging me through the ups and downs of the writing journey, telling me not to give up when it got hard. Why not a falcon or eagle? I used diaries I kept when I visited India for the first time as an adult, as well as watching lots of BBC documentaries set in the Himalayas.
The lamagaia is a bird of prey which caught my imagination, with its huge wingspan of up to three metres. It is also a little less known than an eagle or falcon, so I felt children reading the book would also learn something, which they may not have known before. One scene that is very powerful is when Asha hacks off her plait. Why is this such an important moment in the story and so striking in the context of the setting and culture? What might Asha be thinking and feeling at this point? This moment is very poignant. Asha is afraid that someone will recognise her, so she makes a very bold decision to cut off her plait.
In traditional Indian culture, hair plays a very special role. She would have bonded with her ma through the special times of combing and plaiting it. Equally, to sacrifice your hair is an action of honour. Carrying her plait with her to release into the Ganges at its point of birth high in the Himalayas, is something that keeps her strong. Were these chapters difficult to write? Budapest 6. All my mistakes 6. White and gold 7. Wedding day 5. The letter 4. Carry me home 9. Song of peace 5. Katinka has made several films, including appearing with Brad Pitt in a zombie film, and recently with Kiera Knightly.
If I can get the funding I would dearly love to present a book of my lyrics in both English and Hungarian, because those are the places I commute between , that contains a CD of selected tracks, and also a CD of the spoken word in Hungarian, set to gentle background music. This would be a large hard-back book, and would also have photos, graphic art-work and biographical details. Volume one, at least!
So a lot has already been done, but I would need more funding to complete it! My various projects tend to be rivers that can change their course, but they all still lead to the sea! Maybe we can resurrect it a bit later, or maybe other Hungarian singers can contribute.
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We have five songs already recorded. Some of the songs are traditional Hungarian folk songs, and some are my own songs translated into Hungarian. These both are very exciting projects for me. There is now a page on my site with some poems I have written, several of which have been set to music and imagery on YouTube.
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And my musical friend and neighbour Yloush also translates some of my songs into Hungarian as I live there! This may be completed by , by which time I will be over ! I take my cue from the pianist Arthur Rubinstein who, reputedly, on being given a new year contract to record by Sony when he was 90, complained that it was not long enough.
Eventually, I would like to publish a book or books with my lyrics, and volumes of poetry Any contributions you may ever feel inspired to offer, help enormously to manifest the songs and films you see here. The big costs I have are for the studio time, and the pressing of the discs, and the smaller costs are for travel, accommodation, artwork, website updates and maintenance, and insurances. This is the way of the artist!
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