Welcome to another edition of your friendly neighbourhood-on-lockdown newsletter.
It’s day 29 of the lockdown and I have lost my writing mojo. I spent the whole of last week in a haze of laziness, despite pending stories. I finally completed an article I had been working on for 2.5 weeks yesterday before I got down to writing this newsletter.
Things are bad. Indian media, already battling issues of corruption, and spreading hatred, has to now deal with getting jailed for having an opinion, and a loss of income. The world over, people have been laid off, budgets have been cut, publications are shutting down. The freelance world will get tougher.
The good news: there are still editors seeking stories – though most are focused on the virus. You just have to really step up. Pull yourself out of the rut you’ve been in, drag yourself to your laptop/computer and get to it. It will be rough but I am here to push you forward. Writing, for me, is an essential service: it’s one of the few things keeping me sane and distracted.
The free version of the newsletter has a reading guide and miscellaneous news you can use. All the good stuff is in the paid version: 15 pitch calls, an interview with the features editor of HuffPo India, a #WFH resource guide (since I have received good feedback on it) and articles worth reading. I've also kept the donation guide from last week.
Download Chapter 13.
My birthday is a week away but, you all have given me what I asked for: 1k subscribers. If you like this newsletter, please do share it with others and get them to subscribe. I am starting to look at this as a small alternate source of income so, every download helps. If you are having payment issues or don’t want to use Instamojo, email me.
Thank you for your support.
Granta is removing the paywall on one issue each week for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. Granta 147: 40th-Birthday Special is currently free and includes a lovely story by one of my favourite authors, Amitav Ghosh.
Journalist Benita Fernando (she is fabulous) did a cover for Sunday Eye on the underrated activity of staring out of windows. It has some lovely pictures too.
One of my favourite Goan writers, Vivek Menezes, has written about the Goan tradition of purmenth (preserving food for use in the monsoon, a typical summer activity). There’s even a recipe for sausages!
I’m not a fan of celebrity culture and these past months have reinforced my decision. Here, Amanda Hess writes about celebrity culture in the age of the pandemic.
Ann Patchett is one of my favourite writers. In Vanity Fair, she's done this lovely little profile of Reese Witherspoon.
Since everyone loves a good food story, here's one on the rise of the Neapolitan pizza.
In Conde Nast Traveller India, Smitha Menon did a lovely piece on the hero of the lockdown kitchen, the humble banana. She has also curated a list of 100 recipes to make at home, using 20 kitchen staples.
Write a story: National Writers Series’ newest project — a collection of personal stories about living through the Coronavirus. Life in the time of virus invites people from anywhere in the world to submit narratives of up to 500 words.
Get hired: Rest of World is a new international journalism newsroom, launching in spring 2020, that’s focused on exploring the impact of technology beyond the Western bubble. They are hiring regional editors in SEA and South Asia. Details here.
Sell your images: An HUL brand is seeking specific images on frontline Covid workers from the medical field. Contacts of photojournalists with a repository of such images is required. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. It's a paid gig.
I know times are tough and will get tougher still. But, we will pull through. A few stray observations before I end:
Check in on your friends, especially those you haven’t spoken to for a while.
Support local businesses - this economy is tough on everyone especially the little guy. They need our help.
Donate whatever you can - no amount is too small and don;t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Keep kind words handy - people everywhere are struggling. A little kindness can do no harm.
Raise your voices, against injustice, against police brutality, the baseless arrests of journalists, the terrible situation of daily wage workers across the country.
Contrary to most opinion, making a noise on social media helps. Just ensure you are making a noise about the right things.
Finally, give yourself a break. Things can get overwhelming and it is okay to step back and take a breather when they do.
Until next time. Stay safe and wash your hands. Resist.