Saturday, November 1, 2008

Silver Birch for The Third Eye!!!

The Third Eye has been nominated for the Silver Birch Award 2009!

One of the happiest moments of my life was when I received an e-mail from a member of the Silver Birch Committee on Oct 21st asking me to call. Just the mysterious nature of the e-mail had my heart racing. I called shortly after and Gail told me my book had been nominated. This writer was at a complete loss for words except for "Wow" and "Thank you!"

After almost a year of being in publication, I had thought there would be no more exciting moments for my very first baby. She had been born and now existed in a word crowded with lots of other babies more talented and more brilliant than she. This nomination changed it all. It is an honour just to be on that list.

OLA, a heartfelt thank you!

Here is the link:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu...Unforgettable!

The Pedernal and the library at Ghost Ranch.
The first took my breath away and the second provided me with just the right amount of coziness, serenity and an endless supply of mandarin-orange herbal tea so I could write.
An unforgettable experience...

Friday, August 22, 2008

How many Horses?

From the time my sister graduated from school, she knew she was going to be an artist. She followed a steady career path that took her through the Fine Arts and did extremely well.

To my knowledge there was only one occasion when she failed on an assignment; the one I did for her! When she handed back the assignment, her teacher was impelled to remark that it was the worst he had ever seen from her and had given her a mark of 2/10. She was too mortified to let him know that due to lack of time she had allowed me to complete it for her.

And so here we are years later. She still paints pictures; gorgeous ones. I have just discovered the art of doing the same. With words.

So when she recently sent me this picture, it came with a challenge; how many horses?

I'm still counting...

To see some more paintings that she has done without my help, visit;

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Updated Timings for the MMM Desilit Stage

For those who might like to attend, here is an updated schedule for Saturday, July 26th, 2007

Saturday, July 26th

12:00-2:45: Live participatory all-ages writing activity
3:00-3:45: That Brown Bastard, Nila Gupta, Laila Haidarali
4:00-4:45: Ahmad Saidullah, Arti Mehta, Mary Anne Mohanraj
5:00-5:45: Janice Goveas, Sheniz Janmohamed, Mahtab Narsimhan
6:00:6:30 Children’s story reading
6:45-715: Wasela Hiyate, Moez Surani

Sunday, July 6, 2008

An upcoming event at the MMMWriters Stage

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! DesiLit Writers’ Stage

When:Saturday, July 26, 2008 - 1:00pm

Where: Exhibition PlaceBetter Living Centre (near vendors' market)Toronto, ON

Details: The Masala! Mehndi! Masti! DesiLit Writers’ Stage focuses on the work of writers (fiction, poetry, non-fiction), storytellers and spoken word artists.

The stage will be open on July 26th and July 27th and will have programming for adults and children, including interactive writing activities for all ages, stellar performances and lots of contest giveaways. Check out the Toronto Women's Bookstore and our Writers' and Reader's tables.

Saturday, July 26th

1:00-2:15: Live participatory writing activity
2:30-3:15: That Brown Bastard, Nila Gupta, Laila Haidarali
3:30-4:15: Ahmad Saidullah, Arti Mehta, Mary Anne Mohanraj
4:45-5:30: Janice Goveas, Sheniz Janmohamed, Mahtab Narsimhan
5:45-6:15: Children’s story reading6:30-7:00: Wasela Hiyate, Moez Surani

Sunday, July 27th

12:00-1:00: Dipak Mazumdar, Meena Chopra, Cheryl Antao-Xavier, Rashmee Karnad-Jani, Zohra Zoberi, Priti Dhamane
1:15-1:45: Sarena Parmar, Nitin Deckha
1:50-2:40: Live participatory writing activity
2:45-3:15: Taima Silk –the amazing children’s storyteller
4:15-5:00: Sahar Rizvi, Pratap Reddy, Sharanpal Ruprai

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A monsoon from many moons ago...

The rains always remind me of the monsoon season back home in Bombay. After months of sticky, relentless heat, the rains bring blessed relief to all.

One particular monsoon afternoon stands out vividly in my memory. It was when my father, sister and I took a walk along Marine Drive. Dark rain clouds hung low in the sky, their swollen bellies almost touching the grey waters of the Arabian Sea.

Just as we had bought a couple of corn-on-the-cobs and the street vendor started to roast them for us, the skies opened up and pelted us with needle-sharp rain. We hurried to a nearby pile of concrete frames left over from some long forgotten construction project and crouched near them while the sea hissed and foamed behind us, filling the air, covering our faces and coating our lips with salty spray.

My father, completely drenched by now, brought us the steaming corn when they were ready. We gobbled them up, the corn warm against our lips, our soaked clothes cold against our skin. It was the best corn I ever had.

To this day, whenever I smell the delicious fragrance of a corn-on-the-cob roasting on an open flame and it happens to be raining, I can taste the spicy-tangy flavour of the chilli-lemon paste smeared on the sweet corn from that monsoon many moons ago.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Question...from "The Book of Questions" by Gregory Stock

What do you value most in a relationship?

I value the freedom to be me; to not have to pretend to be someone or something I am not.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

"What the Birds See" by Sonya Hartnett

I just finished reading this interesting and slightly challenging novel. This was my first foray into the Sonya's oeuvre and I had no idea what to expect. But the very first paragraph had me hooked. My favourite sentence in there is;

"That afternoon, so near to winter, the sky was very blue; the sun felt soft as a cat."

The protagonist Adrian is so very believable and all through the story I could feel the impending sense of doom that he's hurtling towards. Reading it in present tense was a bit unusual for me but the power of the narrative soon made me forget everything else.

I finished this book in one sitting and yet long after I put down the book, I could not stop thinking about him, his world, his feelings, what brought him to act the way he did. A perfect example of resonance.

A beautiful read and next on the list is "Thursday's Child."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Third Eye Facebook Event

Hi All,

Its been a long and interesting hiatus since my last post. But believe me , I have been busy. More about that in another post.

Here's some interesting news. An author event on Facebook from March 24th to March 28th. You can ask me anything you like (well, not anything...) and I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Here is the link:

Stay warm and hope to see all of you online!

And now I better get back to work.


Friday, January 11, 2008

A four star review from CM Magazine

CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 10 . . . . January 11, 2008

The Third Eye.
Mahtab Narsimhan.Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press, 2007.240 pp., pbk., $12.99.ISBN 978-1-55002-750-1.
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
Review by Ann Ketcheson.
**** /4

Oh no, not now. Not when we are so exposed, thought Tara in despair. She would have to get Suraj comfortable and bring his fever down. She headed for the nearest tree and sat Suraj down. She dug into her bundle and groped for matches. She knew the fire would attract animals, but she had to boil herbs for medicine to bring down Suraj's fever. Tara said a fervent prayer as she undid the bundle of dry twigs they had gathered earlier that morning and struck the match to give her some light. A distance away from the tree she put down a few twigs and threw the lit match on them. They caught fire immediately and within a few minutes she had a strong fire going.
"Suraj," she whispered. "Suraj, talk to me."He mumbled incoherently under his breath. Tara had him down on his warm bedding and covered him with a blanket. She propped his head up and poured some water into his mouth. He was unable to swallow and the water trickled out the side. With growing apprehension, Tara realized that he was very sick.
"Please Lord Ganesh, make him well again. I need him. I can't do this along. I just can't!"

Tara and her brother Suraj have led a terrible life since their mother and grandfather left their village a year ago. Their stepmother is cruel to them, their father ignores their plight, and the entire village seems upset and uneasy. The arrival of Zarku, a new healer, should alleviate Tara's worries and fears, but instead she senses only evil coming from him. In a final effort to save herself and Suraj, Tara decides they must escape the village and confront the terrors of the surrounding woods in order to find her mother and grandfather and thereby restore healing and happiness in both her family and in Morni, their village.
Narsimhan is a native of Mumbai and draws upon Indian mythology in this novel which combines elements of fairy tale, myth and action/adventure. The brave children, evil stepmother and monsters in the woods are elements of many well-known fairy tales. But Narsimhan's story takes place in India, and the Hindu gods come alive for Tara and play a major role in the story. Even the title is a reference to the Hindu god Shiva as well as being a description of Zarku, the embodiment of evil in the book. This is also a mythic tale in that the forces of good are pitted head to head against the forces of evil, and Tara, en route to her heroic goal of saving her family and her village, must complete a variety of difficult and dangerous tasks worthy of Hercules, himself.
On another level, this is a classic coming-of-age story. Tara is forced to care for her younger brother when her mother is no longer with them, and then she learns courage, wisdom, and many other life lessons as she fulfills her quest. As her mother remarks at the end of the novel, "Haven't you done enough, Tara? You have changed so much from the time I left you. I am very happy and extremely proud."
These main themes and mythological influences are beautifully woven into a story of action, adventure, and tension as readers follow Tara on her quest. Narsimhan's vivid descriptions place readers in India, complete with the sights, smells and sounds of that world. Readers feel Tara's anxiety and guilt throughout the novel and share her excitement and happiness as the story ends. Classroom teachers or teacher-librarians will find this novel could work well in a unit of study on mythology and heroes. As well, The Third Eye is an excellent introduction to elements of the Hindu religion and the culture of India and so would fit into work on world literature.
The Third Eye is certainly a 'page-turner' which will appeal to the young adult audience, but with a definite difference, and its publication seems to suggest a new direction for Canadian juvenile fiction. One can only hope Narsimhan's debut novel is the first of many to come!
Highly Recommended.
Ann Ketcheson, a retired teacher-librarian and teacher of high school English and French, now lives in Ottawa, ON, where she has turned her love of travel into a new career as a travel consultant.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published byThe Manitoba Library AssociationISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.