Three things drive my teaching: keeping sight of each others humanity; how we interact with each other because of the personal landscapes — historical, cultural, physical, emotional, spiritual, and economic — that have shaped us; and how we might work toward a collective good. These same concerns inform my writing, and I choose my vehicle (fiction, essays, poetry, political journalism), based on the form that would best serve the emotional truth I wish to convey.
I grew up in Sri Lanka, a country where girls and women are honored both for their grace and for not taking any bull; where opinions are stated clearly and in the open, most specially when we disagree, but where the argument is kept separate from the relationship; and where friendship is assumed before it has to be proved. These things tend to differentiate me from my American peers. Serendip was the name, in Arabic, for my country in 361 AD, whose essence was captured in the invention of the word serendipity in the 18th century. As such, I’ve learned to stay wide open to the beauty that chance happenings afford us, and thrive in environments where people love without boundaries, give freely of their wealth and of themselves, enjoy the pleasure of food and drink and dance, and find humor in pretty much everything. Even the darkest things. Particularly those.