Books by Kalpana Asok
I enjoy writing.
I write to find meaning in our universal truths that may not be obviously understood. It is also an aesthetic experience that makes me feel more fully alive. Some of my writing is informative and you can read a few of my posts and published articles below or from my Blog page. I hope my writing is of use and provides hope to the reader who is looking for next steps in self-understanding and getting healthier. Please contact me with any questions about these pieces of writing.
Inside the Indian Heart
Whose Baby Is It, Anyway?
This book of essays takes an informal and, I hope, gentle look into South Asian homes, hearts, and homeland in an attempt to help mental health practitioners have a more complete understanding of their Indian clients. My aim is that these stories, anecdotes, and social and psychological sketches may open the door to more pertinent clinical conversations. Just as there is no mother without a child, there is no Indian individual without the family. The focus of western psychotherapy has been on the individual and individuation. My book expands the picture to include the importance of Indian society, family, and culture as an equally, if not more, important path to helping Indian immigrant patients get more clarity from helping professionals. This book can also be of value and interest to the general reader who is interested in South Asian culture and family dynamics.
Kalpana Asok, M.S., M.A., is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 30 years of experience working with South Asian families. She was raised in India and moved to the United States many years ago. She lives and works in Silicon Valley.
a book of poems
“If you’ve wondered how it must feel to be a stranger in a strange land, Kalpana Asok tells you in these gentle poems. Gentle, but with a hint of irony, as when, in the voice of a new arrival, an Indian woman introduces herself to a new American neighbor, and then, in an almost footnoted last line that lets us know she was never invited into the house: “Dear Ethel, Thank you for the lemonade and the visits on your porch.” The feeling of dislocation surfaces sharply in another, when she asks, “My mother’s in my mirror/is she walled in/am I locked out . . . .” Vivid images greet us throughout, as she explores, wide-eyed, this new world, where a “chatty American” wears a “different baseball cap every day” and is “full of information.” The gentle voice rises in indignation in strong, tightly crafted poems about social injustice, as in “I Can’t Breathe,” with a first stanza ending in “Yes, me too.” Remembering or perhaps dreaming, she gives us a “Tiger Preserve,” with a “Lurching blind-drunk female /in the middle of the day/Slapping holy ground . . . .” The gentle voice returns in this lovely debut collection, ending with a lullaby, “Tenderly,” in hummed syllables: “Umhmm, hmmm hmm hmm . . . .” Read it with delight and continued discovery.”
—Irene Willis, poet and author