My wife and I, especially my wife, Jaspreet Mander, have been preoccupied for the last two weeks with Writing On Air, the annual festival of new writing run by Chapel FM, our local community radio station. This year we contributed between us 5% of the entire programme, four out of eighty, over the two weekends of the festival.
My contribution was a dramatised reading of a short story called Bicycle Thief, which I wrote a few years ago and which just happened to fit the theme of this year’s Writing On Air, ‘Missing’. A boy called Timothy, bored in the summer holidays with nothing to do at home, goes for a bike ride for which his mother provides him with a picnic. It is while he is eating his picnic in a field that his bicycle goes missing.
The other three quarters of our combined contribution came from the Mander half of the Rathmander writing co-operative, Anita and Aunty Ji, Raavi and A Delicate Proposal.
Jaspreet, who is Punjabi, formerly a lecturer in English at Punjabi University, Patiala, now officially an NRI (Non-Resident Indian), found inspiration for two of them in memories of her home in Punjab. Her ‘Delicate Proposal’ however is addressed to Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. Her friends in India think she has taken a big risk with this and have warned her that a fatwah is bound to follow.
My inspiration comes, entirely without risk, from my childhood in the West Riding.
Anita and Aunty Ji: https://www.chapelfm.co.uk/elfm-player/archive/2023/11/anita-and-aunty-ji/